The Science Behind Low Impact and High Impact Exercise

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Nowadays, there are so many workouts and fitness trends out there — from hot yoga and indoor cycling, to traditional sports and even our own Bungee Rehabilitation. These exercises can be broken down into two main categories: low impact and high impact. 

In this context, “impact” refers to the effect of your body coming into contact with an object, be it the floor or equipment. So while high impact exercises like running and burpees tend feel more strenuous, low impact moves such as aerobics are less intense. There are even “no impact” workouts like swimming, which don’t involve your body coming into contact with any hard surfaces at all.

Both low impact and high impact exercises come with their own sets of benefits, so we can’t conclude which one is better. Generally speaking, the question is not which one will make you get fit in the fastest time possible, but which one is most appropriate for you.

Let’s have a look at the differences between the two.


Besides coming into contact with surfaces, high impact exercises are workouts where both feet leave the ground. That way, legs receive full-impact every time they land. Due to the intensity of the workout, a full high impact regime should only be done by people who have a reasonable level of fitness, as this will reduce the risk of injury. 

Meanwhile, anything that is easy on the joints or work in fluid motions are considered low-impact. These activities involve having at least one foot still on the ground like walking and cycling.  


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High impact exercises are the quickest way to lose weight. Because high impact activities inherently require more energy, more calories are burned at a faster rate. On top of this, they also increase muscle mass, strengthen bones, and improve stability, balance, and coordination.

Low impact exercises, on the other hand, are appropriate for beginners, the elderly, and those recovering from injury and illnesses. Everyday Health pointed to a review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews that detailed how aerobic exercise improved the quality of life for those in chronic pain by improving physical function and reducing stiffness and fatigue. With Maryville University’s examination on the current state of health issues in the US showing that chronic conditions are on the rise due to poor lifestyle habits, more and more people will need to turn to low-impact exercises to improve their well-being. This is why more and more doctors are now prescribing low-impact exercises to patients instead of medication. Simple low impact exercises such as a brisk walk or short cycle ride can have a huge impact on a person’s health.


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A study from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that 86% of men who regularly perform high-intensity workouts were more likely to develop plaque build-up in their arteries (a type of heart problem). Constant practice exposes then to higher risks of bone and joint injury, especially if their form is not correct. Do not be discouraged though. With moderation and professional help, most of these risks can be avoided.

Low impact exercises have little to no risks involved. According to the American Council on Exercise, keeping at least one foot on the ground at all times reduces the risk of musculoskeletal injury. While high impact exercises are the fastest and most effective way to reach your fitness goals, if you’re aiming for long-term benefits, then it may be best to opt for low-impact exercises that can be done over an extended period of time.

Then again, the best kind of training regime are those that are able to combine the two types of exercises together. A 30minute ASTRODURANCE® bungee training can burn as much as 1,200 calories, which provides the fast fat burning benefit of a high impact workout without the high impact risks. Perform your jumps, burpees, clapping push-ups, and more without straining your muscles and joints.

For the best results, it’s always recommended to consult with a trainer who can guide you on what is most appropriate for you.

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By Lorrie Bowen