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Fun Low-Impact Cardio Fitness

Updated on February 14, 2012

Light weights for low-impact resistance


Pilates Sculpt with Ellen Barrett

The Wave - Balancing and Resistance Training Mechanism

Chair Fitness Anywhere

Trampolining (Rebounding) and Its Health Benefits

Trampoline Fitness Routine

Workouts that are more fun than plain old walking

You may have heard that high-impact, intense cardio training burns the most calories, but this isn't possible for all people. However, exercise is possible for all people. It's the best way to improve your health, mood, weight and the way you feel about yourself in general. If you are a beginner, are very overweight or have a chronic health condition you may be wondering what exercise is right for you.

If walking on the treadmill bores you, the recumbent bike puts you to sleep and one more minute on the elliptical seems unbearable, there are still plenty of options to get you moving. Here are five, fun low-impact cardiovascular routines you can do to lose weight and get in to shape.

1. Pilates Sculpt - You may have wondered, what is Pilates? Pilates and yoga are very similar. Pilates uses exercises developed to balance and strengthen the body from the core (abdominal area), to all other areas of the body. It is resistance training by using resistance bands, training apparatuses in a studio or your own body weight through plies and other techniques. Ellen Barrett teaches "Slim Sculpt" and "Pilates Sculpt" which uses three pound weights to add resistance to the moves. It's very low impact exercise that burns calories and tones muscles. DVDs are a great training tool for teaching you the best ways to work your body safely and effectively.

2. The Rocker - No, this is not an ab rocker, though using a rocker will firm the abdominal muscles as well as the legs and arms. One can argue that this is very similar to Pilates techniques. The Firm is one of my home-fitness favorites. I enjoy most of their workout videos. They added The Wave a couple of years ago which is an aerobic workout with a rocker that encourages your core strength and balance. You can use the opposite side for more balancing techniques as well. It is resistance and cardio fitness in one and it's a low-impact alternative to workouts such as step aerobics.

3. Zumba - Every gym has it because it's all the rage amongst every age group! You can even find classes at the YMCA, church or other organizations, and it's generally inexpensive to sign up. Keep in mind, gyms are coming down on their membership dues, so check out their new prices and experience all the classes you want for free. It's like having a personal trainer at no additional charge. Zumba is as low or high-impact as you make it. Its Latin-inspired, dance fitness has taken over in more ways than one, inspiring millions to get back in shape, and keep it up long after New Year's resolutions are forgotten. Many people shy away from classes like these because they feel stupid or uncoordinated. Be assured, no one is looking at you; they're looking at the instructor to see what to do next.

My gym even has Aqua Zumba which is great for anyone, but especially for seniors who may have delicate joints or osteoporosis. The water eliminates some of the twisting in the knees and hips which can be painful for some. Pregnant women in their third trimester may prefer this type of Zumba as well. Of course, always check with your physician before starting a new exercise routine, to be safe.

4. Chair Dancing - This aerobic exercise can be done from home or at the office. This is a great way to stay in shape if you are recovering from a leg injury or surgery. You can burn calories as a family in your living room as well. Burn about 250 calories an hour depending on weight and effort. In addition, train your abdominals and arms by using light dumbbells or weight plates. Flirty Girl Fitness has a sexy chair dance option if you are more of the adventurous exerciser.

5. Trampoline Fitness - Maybe your kids have a trampoline in the backyard, or purchase a mini-trampoline for your living room for around $50. Believe it or not, this fun activity can burn between 300 to 450 calories an hour depending on your current weight and the effort you put in to it. Use your trampoline for low-impact jogging and burn more calories than with regular jogging. Also, stimulate the blood flow improving your immune system, increase your metabolism and strengthen your heart. Plus, you'll have fun and feel a lot better afterwards. For more adventurous exercisers with better balance, Kangoo Jumps might be a fun alternative as well. These are specially designed shoes with springs on the bottom which are designed for rebounding without the trampoline. They claim to be for any age, and any weight above 75 pounds.

Whether you are spending quality time with your kids bouncing in the backyard, or taking some much-needed time for yourself, you'll be doing yourself a favor as well as your loved ones by making yourself a healthier, happier person.



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