My New Low Impact Series Redefines Impact and Intensity

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You want to get the most out of your workouts and you really love high intensity routines, but your joints no longer can handle the jumping and high impact exercises. Many of you have probably tried some low impact workouts, but found the intensity and fun to be lacking in most of the videos you have tried. You still have the heart and the strength for high intensity workouts and you would still do them if you could, but joint pain no longer allows you to do what you love.

Some of you may not have any joint issues now, but are looking for ways to balance your injury risk so that you don’t erase your hard fought gains achieved from high impact training. There are many factors to consider when choosing between high impact and low impact exercise, but what if you could get the benefit of both in the same workout without the problems?

The Differences between High Impact and Low Impact Exercise

High impact exercise is when both feet come off of the ground at the same time. Good examples of high impact exercises are jumping jacks, jumping rope, running or jogging on a treadmill (or outdoors), and performing plyometric exercises. High impact activities also include exercise classes which involve jumping, leaping or jogging in place. Doing high impact exercise puts you at greater risk of injury, especially if you’re just starting out.

Comparatively, low impact exercise is when one foot is on the ground at all times. Walking is a great example and also one of the most popular forms of low impact activity.  Unlike running or jogging, when you walk, you always have one foot touching the ground.  Other examples of low impact exercise are working out on an elliptical machine, cycling, swimming, low impact aerobics and using a rowing machine.  It’s important to realize that low impact doesn’t mean low intensity ( unless purposely designed to be so) because you can still get an intense workout keeping both feet on the ground.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Type of Exercise?

Both high impact and low impact workouts have their advantages and disadvantages.  One of the best advantages of high impact workouts is the benefit it has for bone health. High impact exercise helps to increase bone mineral density more than low impact exercise does. This means high impact is better for preventing osteoporosis.  High impact activities also usually allow you to raise your heart rate faster. This is a great advantage if you don’t want to spend a lot of time exercising.

istock_000004707225xsmallThe disadvantage of high impact activity is that it increases the risk of injuries and overuse syndromes, especially if you don’t allow your body adequate time to recover between workouts. The risk of stress fractures and tendonitis is greater with high impact exercise.

Low impact workouts are ideal if you are overweight, have joint problems or injuries that may be aggravated by running or jumping. This is because low impact exercises like walking or cycling place significantly less force on the body than high impact workouts like running or plyometrics.  Low impact activities are also ideal for someone new to working out.  The less jarring exercises are kinder to the unconditioned frame of a beginner.

While there is no true physical disadvantage to participating in a low impact workout, one might argue that it doesn’t seem as easy to burn the same amount of calories during the same time period doing a low impact activity as it does working out for the same amount of time doing a high impact activity.  My answer to that is “a little creativity can go a long way, wink”.

Can a low impact workout be as effective as a high intensity workout?  The Slide and Glide Solution!

Usually, people equate low impact cardio as being much easier than high impact cardio and furthermore think of low impact workouts as beginner only workouts.

Cardiovascular exercise, simply known as “cardio”, refers to exercise that pushes the heart rate to at least half of a person’s maximum heart rate (MHR).  Cardio exercise has two main levels that people talk about: low impact and high impact.  These levels are determined by the amount of effort put into the exercise and the resulting increase in your heartbeat as well as other factors.  Historically, low impact cardio aims for a pulse rate of 50-55% of your MHR.  High impact cardio is usually defined as driving the heartbeat to 75-85% of your MHR.  You may also hear the middle ground of 55% to 75% referred to as moderate impact cardio.

Some people use the terms “low intensity cardio” and ” low impact cardio” interchangeably.  The term “high intensity cardio” and “high impact cardio” also get interchanged the same way.  However, it is important to point out that the terms “intensity” vs “impact” are quite different.  “Intensity” is your body’s perceived effort of exertion while “impact” is the effect of the exercise on your joints and muscles.  That distinction is an important point.  Exercise that drives your heart rate into the high intensity range doesn’t necessarily have to be hard on your joints and muscles.  A very strenuous workout in a pool doesn’t put as much strain on the body as a hard run, but it may still push your heart rate into the upper high intensity range. The reverse is also true. You can keep your heart rate in the low range for cardio exercise and still inflict a beating on your knees.

In designing my new series of low impact workouts I was finding it difficult to get the heart rate and intensity where I needed it to be and to still keep the fun factor in thesg_mg_77511 workout using only low impact exercises. This is why, with the help of Altus, we decided to make the Fitness by Cathe Slide and Glide discs about 14 months ago. The Slide and Glide discs really opened up new avenues for innovative choreography and body movement and made it possible for me to keep the intensity and fun factor high while keeping the impact in my new workouts low.

Can You Have High Intensity and Low Impact Cardio in The Same Workout?

According to many professionals maybe not, but according to my new Low Impact Series…absolutely!

As I mentioned earlier, most professionals’ define low impact cardio as a workout that raises your heart rate to only 50-55% of your MHR which is not very high. However, with my new Low Impact Series that’s all about to change.

As far as I’m concerned, a low impact cardio routine is certainly one in which there is no jumping and one foot stays on the ground at all times, but the heart doesn’t necessarily have to be less than a high impact cardio workout. Though it may not always be possible to make a low impact cardio routine as hard as a high impact cardio workout, with some creativity you can come pretty close. My new Low Impact Series redefines low impact cardio and is truly one of the first home exercise series to combine low impact with high intensity.

Does Low Impact Mean the Same as Joint friendly?  A look into my new “JFT premixes™”!

Almost any low impact exercise will certainly be less stressful to your joints than a high impact exercise, but some low impact exercises may still be too stressful for many people to do, i.e. lunges and squats. This is why my new Low Impact series will feature a revolutionary new type of premix in many of the workouts that will help people who have problems with certain exercises to have a more joint friendly workout.

Some of the Low Impact Series premixes will feature the same workout as the main workout, but will have a more joint friendly exercise substituted for a movement, like a forward lunge, that puts less stress on the joint and makes the exercise more comfortable to do. We call these new premixes “JFT Premixes™” and those of you that have knee and joint issues will really like these.

Joint Friendly Premixes™ is a new way of making a fitness DVD that will allow you to minimize the stress you place on your joints and still get almost the same high intensity workout as a person without a joint issue. Even if you have certain training limitations due to joint pain, in most cases you will be able work around your joint issues with our new JFT Premixes™ and still get a great high intensity workout.

Just a joint friendly reminder:  You can pre-order my new Low Impact Series Starting May 1st.

Cathe Friedrich

27 thoughts on “My New Low Impact Series Redefines Impact and Intensity

  1. I am so thrilled! I LOOOVE Cathe workouts but I am not able to do many of the dvd’s because of my knees, as they are easily injured. =( I am SO excited for this! I love her low-impact stuff as it is. Thank you, thank you Cathe!!! <3

  2. Absolutely brilliant!! THANKS Cathe!! :))) Great article with info to pass on to others as well. Looking forward to the new series.

  3. Cathy, loving your DVD workouts, but was wondering, if on this new series(which is where my body forces me to be), you will have one person showing modifications and, or, alternatives to an exercise that you are teaching. I often find that I loose momentum in my workouts, when I need to perform an alternative rather than a modification of the same exercise while completing either a class at my gym, or while enjoying a DVD. Enthusiasticlyy awaiting new series. Canadian Fan.

  4. Thankyou Cathe… Iam 37 (turning 38) I have bad Knees and Love love your Kickboxing workouts, but the high jumps, lundges ect… has done a number on my knees and my back, I also suffer from rhumatoid Athritus and have since i have been 18 yrs old, as i get older i find it harder and more strain on my joints, I LOVE YOUR Workouts and if i don’t workout i feel so bad about myself at the same time to keep doing them while injured is making it harder and worse… SO This new series is just what i need!!! This is Just SOooooooooooo AWSOME!! Thanks so much i can still workout hard without the pain… You are BRILLIANT!! PLZ EMAIL ME WHEN THE NEW SERIES IS READY AND OUT TO BUY!! Thanks!! Jen Trudel

  5. Thank you! I’m 56 and have always been able to maintain those power workouts of yours—however this year I’ve hit a roadblock (what happened to my joints!?!) and your new low-impact (shudder at the word) seems to be a “fit.” Can’t wait to try it!!!

  6. When will we be able to purchase the glide and slide to go with the dvd’s. Looking forward. Love high intensity, not so much the impact that comes along with it.

  7. Wow, great information, its so wonderful that you put so much thought and time into this new series, what a great idea for premixes!!!!!!!!

  8. I’ve always loved your DVDs, you are a inspiration to me. I’m going on 56 and unfortunately my joints aren’t what they used to be. So thank you for this new series.

  9. Looking forward to the low inpact workout! Was finding the last aerobic series a bit too hard on this getting-up-there body. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I need to go easier on the joints or I won’t be able to enjoy Cathe much longer.

  10. I am 22 weeks prego and I am very excited for this series. I have been modifying my Cathe workouts. I am due in August and I believe this series will be great to start my road to recovery after having a baby also.

  11. Thank goodness. At age 59 and a Cathlete for over 18 years, I thought I would have to settle for Travel Fit and Low Impact Circuit, etc. which really limited me. Had started other cardio options like walkathome, etc. but nothing comes close to a Cathe workout. This is absolutely wonderful news.

  12. Nita, All I do is spin because of joint issues( 2 knee replacements!) I am looking forward to Cathe’s new series.

  13. Haha! No Sit and Be Fit for me! I am 50 years old and after pounding for 18 years, the old knees feel it for 2 days after a about of IMAX or any other high impact step routine…

    Someone asked me the other day how much longer I would be able to do what I do seven hours a week…I said “forever”. You make that possible and I soooo look forward to this new series.

    Thank you, Cathe…someday…one or your workshops!

  14. This is exactly what I need. After spending the last 5 years doing various workout dvd’s, a really great friend introduced me to your workouts early fall of 2010. Wow! I really enjoy the intensity, but have a tough time trying to adjust the high impact because of some old issues. I have the “heart and strength” but need to change a little bit of the “style” as I close in on 50! I will keep it up though since I can still be mistaken for 35! Too bad exercise didn’t take care of age spots too!

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