Exercising helps us stay fit, be healthy, and improve our quality of life significantly. Individuals who use exercise equipment regularly can achieve fitness goals, build muscles, improve endurance, and lose weight.
But, besides choosing the right equipment to achieve our goals, our long-term goals must include selecting the right equipment that stays good for our joints without applying too much pressure that might otherwise weaken them.
So, what are the best exercise machines that are effective but offer low impact for the joints?
What is the best equipment that helps achieve our fitness goals yet keeps every part of the body healthy?
Yes! This article is all about the best low-impact exercise machines that lay the path for fulfilling long-term health goals.
Getting To Understand Whether or Not an Exercise Machine Offers Low Impact on the Joints
There are not one or two but several factors that decide whether or not a piece of exercise equipment is accessible or not on the joints.
The impact that every kind of machine imposes on the joints is crucial in deciding whether or not they impact our joints.
For instance, the treadmill is an excellent piece of cardio equipment, but running on them can add 3-4 times more pressure on the joints than running on the road.
The knee joints are more commonly affected, and that’s why many runners suffer from knee pain, a common problem faced by a majority of individuals.
Also, our joints don’t feel comfortable when they are subjected to an abnormal load.
For those unknown, each joint can impart a specific range of motion, but when it is subjected to heavier loads that don’t stay within the natural movement pattern, we are not providing a joint-friendly workout.
So, any low- force that follows the natural movement of our legs and body.
Who Need a Low-Impact Exercise Equipment?
While running on the treadmill affects the joints, this is especially true for overweight people as the impact forces are much more for them.
On the treadmill, the heel hits the treadmill with a 3-4 times more significant force than our body weight.
So, the greater the body weight, the more intense is the stress applied on the joints. Hence, for overweight and obese people, the treadmill is not an excellent choice to start.
Individuals with joint problems are also recommended to avoid equipment imposing stress on the joints and choose joint-friendly machines to avoid higher chances of injury.
Getting to Know About the Best Low-Impact Exercise Machines
Let’s look at some of the best low-impact machines that are best-performing to ease the joints.
For those who are advised to refrain from using the treadmill, the next best choice is to use the elliptical.
The feet remain in close contact with the ground all the time as we keep pushing the pedals, and this means that there are no impact forces generated.
Also, the curved design of the exercise machine makes it easier on the joints, but this doesn’t compromise the workout efficiency in any way.
But, to facilitate a healthy workout, we must look out for certain things. Having a long stride length and narrow horizontal pedal distance offers joint-friendly training.
Another central point to consider is the flywheel—the heavier the flywheel, the smoother is the elliptical’s operation promoting a joint-friendly workout.
Heavy flywheels help in storing the swing energy produced, returning it to the “dead-spots.”
Another low-impact exercise that assures a joint-friendly low-impact workout is the stationary bike.
The feet are in constant contact with the pedals, enabling low-impact forces, similar to the elliptical.
If you are a cyclist, the best exercise equipment is the stationary bike, as it helps work out in the comfort of the home.
Another significant advantage is that, contradictory to cycling outside, and we needn’t deal with uneven surfaces as the machine enables individuals to control it easily, is joint-friendly, and promotes good health.
Some of the primary features we must consider while choosing a low-impact stationary bike include:
Adjust the seat height such that when the feet are at the lowest point of the movement, the knee joint angle must not go beyond 170 degrees. In this position, the leg is at a slightly bent tip.
Keep the seat angle at a neutral position that’s parallel to the floor. If the seat is at a down angle, it can lead to knee pain whereas, an upward-angled saddle enhances the chances of lower back pain and soft tissue discomfort.
The Back Posture
Make sure that the back is kept upright and straight. Maintain the wrists in a position such that it is like an extension of the forearm. Also, the shoulders must be kept down and not raised.
We always talk about the treadmill and the elliptical, but one of the most versatile machines that have been not-so-popular is the rower.
Though in recent times, the rowing machine is becoming popular, we must accept the reality that it is far behind other cardio equipment such as the treadmill.
The rower can target up to 80% of the muscles simultaneously, thereby providing a full-body workout.
Using the rower, we can target every muscle group satisfying all fitness needs.
Surprisingly, this machine is also a joint-friendly one that guarantees smooth movement while distributing the stress applied all over the body without imposing too much stress on the joints.
A word of caution here, if you are a beginner, be careful and learn the proper rowing technique before moving on to advanced levels.
To impose minimum impact on the joints, adjust the machine accordingly. Choose machines that come with a long seat rail that helps to extend the legs when rowing until the last position possible.
Besides these, adjust the footrest correctly depending on the height. Taller individuals should keep the footrest at a further down angle.
If the footrest position is not correct, there are chances that you might lift the buttocks off the seat when doing the rowing movement.
Any exercise equipment that we choose must be effective yet prove to have a low impact on the joints.
The main goal of exercising is to stay fit and healthy. So, if the exercises we do helps only to lose weight or build muscles but diminishes joint health down the lane, it’s useless.
Though some machines do impose stress on the joints, most times, it mainly depends on how we maintain the posture and apply the right technique.
Make a wise choice deciding upon the right exercises that impose minimal stress on the joints.
Get going energetically, set workout goals, make it a habit to exercise regularly, and stay fit throughout your life, picking the best low-impact exercise.