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As the nights get colder and winter begins to creep in, the temptation to shrug off high impact outdoor activities such as running and circuits in favour of nights on the sofa can be an attractive prospect.

Low impact exercise can be great for your mind and body too, and could be just what the doctor ordered to see you through the winter months without giving your usual exercise routine a complete overhaul.

Low impact activities such as swimming, walking and yoga will take longer to work off that cheeky post-work pint than your usual boxercise class, but when done regularly you will still lose weight and the health benefits can actually be far greater. Here are five reasons why a low impact routine can be just as good for you as your usual high octane workout…

  1. It’s better for your joints. Every time you run, you’re pushing a sensational amount of power through your body with every heel strike (when your foot hits the ground). Trail running, going barefoot and running off road can help ease the impact on your joints, but running will always be a high impact sport. However with a low impact exercise such as walking, you can still work the same muscle groups in your legs, toning up as you stroll, with minimal strain on your joints.
  2. You can multitask. If you enjoy walking, it can take you anywhere and the pace will allow you to enjoy your surroundings. A brisk coastal walk will provide you with fresh, clean air, a city break can see you clocking up 5 miles a day exploring your holiday destination, and you can hike with friends to discover the best views the country has to offer.
  3. It’s a great route into regular exercise. The beauty of many low impact activities is that you may not even realise you’re doing them. A swim or a yoga session might feel like fun, but it’s also putting your body through its paces – gently. If you enjoy this kind of exercise you can incorporate similar medium and high impact exercises into your routine, and before you know it you’ll have your very own custom fitness plan.
  4. Your mind gets a workout too. Low impact exercise such as swimming, yoga or pilates can be as good for your mental health as your physical health. These activities focus on breathing and clearing your mind, which can allow you to truly relax at the end of a long day, letting you wind down gently.
  5. A quicker recovery. While high impact activities will needed to be spaced out to give your body time to recover, low impact exercises have a shorter recovery time, making it possible to undertake a swim and a pilates session in the same day, or going for a bike ride every morning.

Whatever exercise routine you go for, remember that it’s still important to be kind to your body even after a low impact workout, so make sure you stretch out properly, wear a high quality support bra and breast lotion for women, drink plenty of water as you go and eat a healthy, nutritious meal afterwards.

Do you prefer low impact or high impact exercise routines? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

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