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Low Impact Ways to Move Your Body

low impact exercise

If you’re dealing with knee pain, the idea of exercising may seem daunting. However, exercise provides many benefits, such as reducing your risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, anxiety, and more. If knee pain and stiff joints keep you from moving your body, try giving low-impact exercises a try.

What are low-impact exercises?

When exercises are described as “low impact,” it means they are gentle on your joints and provide a low level of impact or pressure. Low-impact exercises can help improve your flexibility and strength while still getting your heart rate up. While high-impact exercises include running and jumping, low-impact exercises include more fluid-motion activities like walking, swimming, and more.

Related video: How much exercise do you need each day?

Types of low-impact exercises


Walking is an easy way to move your body with little impact on your joints. You can start with a simple stroll, or for something slightly more challenging, walk on an inclined surface or increase your speed. For similar exercises, you can also try the elliptical or stair climber.


Swimming and water aerobics are great options for people looking for low-impact exercises. That’s because water’s buoyancy helps support your weight and reduces the pressure on your knees and other joints. At the same time, the water provides subtle resistance to your movements, which engages your muscles and increases your heart rate.

Related video: Swimming is a superpower

Bike riding

Whether going for a bicycle ride outside or going for a spin on a stationary bike, cycling is a great low-impact exercise. Just like with walking, you can increase the intensity of the exercise by pedaling faster and riding on an incline. Bike riding can increase your heart rate without putting a large amount of pressure on your knees.


Stretching is a great way to improve your flexibility and range of motion, and low-body stretches are especially helpful for improving knee movement. After spending some time warming up – such as by walking or biking – take some time to do a few simple stretches. Some effective options are squats, back leg slides, back leg stretches, hamstring stretches, and knee flexes. Yoga is another great way to move your body in a low-impact way.


If you have access to a gym, give the rowing machine a try. You can also use an actual rowboat if you have one handy. It’s a great total-body exercise that can benefit your strength and cardiovascular system. At the same time, the movements don’t put too much pressure on your joints.

Low-impact cardio

You can also take some popular cardio moves and modify versions for a low-impact workout. For example, try a modified jumping jack by moving one leg to the side at a time while raising your arms rather than jumping. You can also try a modified mountain climber, modified burpee, and static lunges.

About Arthritis Knee Pain Centers®

Arthritis Knee Pain Centers® specializes in non-surgical treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. With clinics across the US, we provide an exceptional experience for our patients so they can get back to living without debilitating knee pain.

Click here to learn more about our therapy and to schedule your free knee pain screening.

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