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Low Impact Cardio Exercises for Moms of All Ages

Amidst the chaos of motherhood, finding time for a workout can sometimes feel like an impossible task. That’s where at home workouts come in handy, giving you the flexibility to easily fit in some exercise around other responsibilities. Active living doesn’t have to be a struggle when you have simple, easy to follow workout routines you can do from the comfort of your own home. 

One of our favorite ways to work out at home? Low impact cardio, a form of exercise that won’t stress out your joints but will still get your blood pumping. It’s great for moms of all ages and fitness levels, and there are tons of fun exercises that will leave you feeling strong and energized.

What is Low-impact Cardio? 

“Low impact cardio is a form of exercise that remains easy on your joints while increasing your heart rate,” says Alex Bryson, Certified Personal Trainer and CEO and Founder of Mooh. 

Cardio workouts increase your heart rate by making your muscles work harder, demanding more oxygen. In turn, this leads to quicker and deeper breathing to meet the increased demand, but low-impact aerobic exercises can provide these cardio perks without putting stress on your joints.

Quick note: low-impact exercises does not mean low-intensity. Low-impact cardio routines still give you the chance to break a sweat and get that heart pumping, similar to traditional high-impact cardio. While your heart rate during these energized routines might match what you’d experience with other cardio options, joint-friendly low-impact workouts minimize the risk of injury. It’s a win-win for your cardiovascular health without the added stress on your joints!

Some examples of low-impact cardio include walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, rowing, Pilates, and using an elliptical machine.

Benefits of Low-impact Cardio

There are a myriad of benefits to incorporating low-impact cardio into your fitness routine. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Protects your joints. Low-impact cardio is the ultimate joint-friendly workout. If you’re recovering from an injury or dealing with joint discomfort, be it from arthritis or other sources, engaging in low-impact exercises can actively strengthen your muscles; all  without the worry of exacerbating existing pain or inviting further injury. It’s a smart, considerate approach to ongoing joint health management. 
  2. Improves mood. You can sweat away stress and elevate your mood with low-impact cardio. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a swim, or a cycling session, these exercises release endorphins, the body’s natural mood enhancers, and can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Enjoy a workout that not only benefits your body but also leaves you with a post-exercise glow and a positive outlook on life.
  3. Improves cardiovascular health. Cardio workouts are excellent for your heart. Low-impact cardio gets your blood pumping, enhancing circulation and improving cardiovascular health. It’s a heart-friendly choice that allows you to reap the benefits of cardio without the high-impact stress on your body.
  4. Builds strength, stability, and balance. Lots of different low impact cardio exercises will help you build strength in different areas of your body, and workouts like Pilates and yoga can be excellent for enhancing your stability and balance. These workouts are effective ways to stay fit and challenge your muscles without straining them–a true game changer for your wellbeing.

Benefits of Doing Cardio at Home

Doing cardio at home offers you an effective workout alongside a whole host of practical benefits.

“Cardio at home is not only convenient and time saving but can be a great way to introduce yourself to daily activity from the privacy of your own home,” says Bryson. 

These benefits really can’t be overstated. No more commute or crowded gyms; instead, with at home cardio, you dictate the schedule. You can fit in a quick session whenever it suits you, turning your living room into a personal fitness haven. Plus, it’s a judgment free zone. Enjoy the privacy of your own space, tailor your workouts to your liking, and relish in the comfort of familiar surroundings. 

“Not to mention, it can be very cost effective,” notes Bryson.

Exercising at home will save you money on gym membership fees, and many at home cardio options require minimal equipment, if any. Embrace budget-friendly workouts that offer a high return on your health investment.

Types of Low-Impact Cardio Exercises

There’s plenty of options when it comes to selecting a low-impact cardio workout that works for your body and preferences. Some types of low-impact cardio include: 

  1. Walking. A low-impact cardio classic, going for a walk is one of the simplest ways to prioritize your fitness. Suitable for moms of all ages and fitness levels, this natural movement enhances cardiovascular health, burns calories, and offers a refreshing dose of outdoor therapy. Lace up, step out, and embrace your wellness journey, one stride at a time.
  2. Cycling. Biking/cycling is a joint-friendly adventure that combines cardiovascular benefits with the joy of the open road or the convenience of a stationary bike. Whether cruising at a leisurely pace or pushing yourself with some interval routines, cycling elevates heart rate, builds leg strength, and is a ton of fun. 
  3. Swimming. A full body workout that’s extra easy on the joints, swimming is the perfect workout for those of you who love spending time in the water. It’s a low-impact cardio option that engages muscles, enhances cardiovascular fitness, and offers a refreshing escape. If you’re nursing an injury or seeking a break from gravity’s pull, swimming provides resistance without stressing the joints, making it a therapeutic and effective exercise.
  4. Yoga. Unwind your mind while nurturing your body with yoga—a low-impact cardio option celebrated for its holistic benefits. From gentle flows to faster paced vinyasa sessions, yoga improves flexibility, builds strength, and cultivates mindfulness. Embrace the harmony of breath and movement with yoga, a versatile and accessible choice for your at home exercises.
  5. Rowing. Embark on a total-body workout with the smooth strokes of rowing, an efficient low-impact cardio option. Engaging both upper and lower body muscles, rowing builds strength, enhances cardiovascular fitness, and promotes joint health. Whether on the water or a rowing machine, this rhythmic exercise offers a challenging yet gentle alternative for those seeking an effective full-body workout.
  6. Pilates. Sculpt and strengthen with Pilates, a form of exercise celebrated for its focus on core stability and controlled movements. This mind-body workout improves flexibility, builds long, lean muscles, and enhances overall body awareness. Ideal for individuals looking to tone without the impact, Pilates offers a dynamic and adaptable fitness experience, emphasizing precision and control in every movement.
  7. Elliptical. Experience the perfect blend of low-impact and full-body engagement with the elliptical machine. Designed for seamless cardio workouts, this fitness marvel simulates the natural motion of walking, running, and climbing stairs. Its elliptical path reduces impact on joints, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a gentler alternative to traditional cardio exercises. Engage both upper and lower body muscle groups as you effortlessly glide, burn calories, and elevate your heart rate. 

Whichever option you choose, don’t be afraid to start small and build up over time. 

“Aim for 15-20 minutes to start,” says Bryson. “Whether it be walking, cycling, swimming, or some other form of low impact cardio, increase the duration of time you are exercising by 5-10 minutes each week.” 

Prioritize safety and enjoyment

Whether you’re recovering from an injury, seeking joint-friendly alternatives, or simply prioritizing long-term health, low-impact cardio could be a good option. If you exercise at home in general, make sure to prioritize safety and do not overdo it.

“When participating in any form of exercise at home it is important to listen to your body. Take breaks when needed and remember to hydrate. If you are feeling faint or dizzy, take the necessary time to recover before starting again,” says Bryson. 

Finally, don’t forget that making exercise enjoyable is the key to maintaining a consistent and sustainable fitness routine. When exercise feels like a source of joy rather than a chore, it becomes a positive and energizing part of your daily life.

“Remember, exercise should be fun!” says Bryson. “Pick your favorite tunes and try out new things until you find the exercises that fit your style!”