Bookmark This Low-Impact Cardio Workout For When Your Joints Need a Break

Getty Images / Westend61 / sofie delauw

Good news for your joints: a virtual HIIT class nearly isn’t the only way to get in a cardio workout at home.

Whether your knees and ankles need a break from the consistent jumping or you want to spare your downstairs neighbor from yet another set of burpees, this simple (but supereffective!) low-impact cardio workout is the solution.

“A low-impact cardio workout may not burn as many calories as a high-impact workout in the same allotted time, however, it may save your joints in the future so you can continue to work out,” Melissa Chisholm, an NASM-certified personal trainer, explained.

“As with anything, consistency is key, and adding more low-impact workouts to your routine will allow you to stay consistent.”

Cycle through this workout curated by Chisholm ahead; your body will feel the physical challenge in the best possible way.


Five Walk-Out to Hip-Openers

  • Stand tall, inhale to bring your arms overhead, and exhale to fold over.
  • Walk out to a high plank and bring your right foot to the outside of your right hand.
  • Rotate your torso, and bring your right hand up toward the ceiling. Hold for three breaths. Place your hand down, and return your foot back to a plank.
  • Repeat on the left side.
  • Step your foot back to plank, and push back into a Downward Dog. Pedal out your feet.
  • Walk your hands back to your feet. Slowly roll up to standing and inhale your arms overhead.
  • This completes one rep. Repeat five times.

10 Cat-Cows
10 Squats
10 Alternating Forward Lunges
10 Alternating Reverse Lunges

Related: This Low-Impact Cardio Workout Torches Major Calories – No Jumping Required


Complete all six exercises in order. Repeat for three rounds.

Chisholm suggested setting a timer while completing round one: try to meet or beat your time during the second and third rounds, all while maintaining good form.

Walk-Out to Push-Ups:

  • Start standing folded over and walk your hands out to a tall plank.
  • Bend your elbows to lower down and push back up to a tall plank position.
  • Walk your hands back to your feet and roll up to stand.
  • That completes one rep. Repeat for 10 reps.

Squat to Calf Raise:

  • Stand with your feet about hips-width apart.
  • Lower your hips back as though you are sitting into a chair.
  • Come up to standing, lift onto your toes, and then lower your heels down.
  • That is one rep. Repeat for 10 reps.

Plank Walk:

  • Start in an extended arm plank with your feet wide to create a solid foundation.
  • Lower onto your right elbow/forearm, lower onto your left elbow/forearm, and then press back up to a tall plank, replacing your right elbow with your right hand, and your left elbow with your left hand.
  • That is one rep. Repeat for 10 reps total, with five leading with your right side and five leading with your left.

Lateral Lunge to Balance:

  • Starting from a standing position, T your arms out or lift them out to the side.
  • Step your right leg out wide so that it is as wide as your right hand, but not as wide if you are very tight.
  • Sit back on your right side for a single-sided squat; your left foot remains planted on the ground and your left leg remains straight.
  • Push up out of your right foot to come back to balance on your left leg while lifting your right knee to hip height.
  • Balance for one breath and step back out to the right for 10 reps.
  • Repeat on the left side.

Extended Arm Plank to Bear Plank:

  • Start in an extended arm plank with your legs long.
  • Step your right foot in so that your knee is under your right hip, and then do the same on your left side.
  • Hover your knees about one-to-two inches off the ground.
  • Step back to plank leading with your right leg, and following with your left.
  • Repeat this for 20 reps total, 10 leading with your right leg and 10 leading with your left leg.

Alternating Reverse Lunge to Arms Overhead:

  • Start standing with both arms straight up overhead so your biceps are by your ears and your fingertips are pointed up to the ceiling.
  • Step back with your right leg. Lower your right knee to hover about an inch off the ground.
  • As you step back into your lunge, swing your arms back behind you.
  • Step up to stand and swing your arms up to the starting position.
  • Alternate your legs for 20 reps total, 10 on each leg.

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