Low Intensity Benefits

Posted Oct 1, 2020

With many of the quarantine restrictions lifted, you are no doubt ready to jump back into working out full throttle. Going heavy on the weights and upping the intensity of cardio may sound like a great idea, but if it has been several weeks or months since the last time you exercised, let me caution against that. Picking up where you left off can lead to injury, especially if you haven't been keeping a regular fitness routine during your time away from the gym. High intensity workouts for a deconditioned body spell trouble. What are you to do then? Yes, you should come back to work out, but instead of more vigorous activities, scale it back and start the first few weeks with low intensity workouts. This is when you are exercising but not allowing your heart rate to increase significantly. Leisurely, slower paced training sessions may not sound as much fun as faster paced activities, but they still have their rewards:

  • Great starting point for those not used to working out
  • More relaxing than higher intensity workouts
  • Reduces risk of injury due to lower impact on body
  • Improves long distance endurance
  • Helps with recovery from more intense exercise sessions
  • Improves body's insulin sensitivity
  • Decreases stiffness and inflammation caused by more strenuous activities
  • Serves as a rest day while your muscles repair and recover

There are many low intensity, low impact exercises from which to choose, . Some favorites to do inside and outside the gym include:

  • Walking or lightly jogging on a treadmill, at the track, or through the neighborhood or park
  • Swimming at a leisurely pace
  • Stationary pool exercises
  • Nu Step and Upper Body Ergometer performed at a lower resistance
  • Steady state rowing Is this supposed to be state or rate?
  • Biking on a stationary bike or real bike at a medium speed
  • Elliptical workout at an easy stride
  • Pilates, Tai Chi, Yoga and other low impact, relaxing classes
  • Simple, moderate-weight strength training routine

It is recommended you do low intensity workouts for a few weeks to get your body used to exercising again. As you become more comfortable being in a routine, you can push yourself a little more each week, and before you know it, you will be back to your former fitness levels once again. Even after you start doing more high intensity workouts, it is a good idea to incorporate one or two low intensity workouts into your week to allow for active recovery.

Be safe, have fun, and welcome back!