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Which Low Impact Cardio Exercises Burn the Most Calories?

Contrary to popular belief, just because an exercise is classified as ‘low-impact’ doesn’t mean it also has minimal value. In reality, the low or high-impact nature of the exercise has absolutely nothing to do with its potential to give you a good workout. While some believe low-impact exercises aren’t as good for burning calories, it is simply untrue.

The beauty with low-impact aerobic exercise being that you stand to gain the maximum benefit with none of the risks associated with high-impact exercise. Low-impact work outs of less stressful on your joints and your body in general than their high-impact counterparts, significantly reducing the potential for injury or general pain and discomfort.

The question being – which are the very best low-impact exercises, for those looking to burn as many calories as possible?

As with all kinds of exercise, any kind of activity is better than no activity whatsoever. Nevertheless, there are certain examples of low-impact cardio that are known to burn considerably more calories than others.

The most effective of all being as follows:


Perhaps the single most popular form of low-impact exercise is walking. Whether exploring the great outdoors or keeping things confined to a treadmill, the average adult burns somewhere in the region of 270 calories per hour if walking at a pace of around 3.5 miles per hour.  Speed things up a little bit and this goes way beyond the 350-calorie mark. Throw a few inclines into the equation and again, you’ll be looking at surprisingly effective results, without resorting to extremes.


It’s a very similar story with cycling, which again can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors as preferred. The only difference being that recumbent exercise bikes can make a better choice for those who may otherwise be prone to back or neck pain following a prolonged workout. Cycling along at about 6 miles per hour has the potential to burn in the region of 290 calories for the average adult.  Once again, increasing the intensity of the cycling sessions has a dramatic impact on the calorie-burning potential of the workout. It’s just important to ensure you don’t overdo it, which is surprisingly easy with both indoor and outdoor cycling alike.

Cross Trainers

One of the very best ways of giving the entire body a good workout while eliminating impact from the equation is to hop on a cross trainer. A decent elliptical machine, equipped with handles works both the upper and lower body at the same time and has the potential to burn an impressive 370+ calories for every 45 minutes at a medium pace. Every bit as effective as jogging, though easier on your joints. It’s important to ensure that your technique is correct when using a cross trainer if looking to gain the maximum benefit from each workout.


Swimming is another example of an enjoyable full body workout with enormous capacity to burn calories at an impressive rate. There’s little to no impact involved whatsoever in swimming, which over the course of 30 minutes can burn somewhere in the region of 250 calories for the average adult. Step things up in terms of speed and intensity and it’s possible to increase calorie-burning potential by more than 50 per cent. Plus the general therapeutic properties of swimming also come highly recommended.

Water Aerobics

Last but not least, any kind of standard aerobic exercise into a swimming pool has the potential to minimise impact, while at the same time enhancing the calorie-burning potential of the exercise. The precise number of calories you can expect to burn will of course be determined by the nature of the exercise.  In all instances however, the additional resistance created by the water transforms even the simplest exercises into surprisingly challenging and uniquely effective workouts. Best of all, water aerobics sessions are usually organised and implemented for groups, which can be a uniquely motivating and enjoyable experience.

As always, be sure to consult with a doctor or licensed professional, before going ahead and commencing any course of intensive exercise. Particularly if you haven’t exercised in some time or intend to exercise for the purposes of weight loss, it’s a good idea to have your overall physical health and physical condition evaluated beforehand.

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