5 Low-Impact Cardio Substitutions That Won’t Destroy Your Knees (or Annoy Your Neighbors)

Whether you have limited space for plyometrics and calisthenics, or you’re trying to be a little kinder to your joints (hello, knees!), there are some easy substitutions you can make to classic high-impact cardio exercises. To get the best modifications, we talked to two low-impact experts.

“Just because these moves are low-impact doesn’t mean you won’t work up a sweat,” Lexy Parsons, a yoga instructor and IIN health coach, told POPSUGAR. “You can still get your heart rate up, and these moves can be just as challenging as a high-impact alternative. Low-impact doesn’t mean low-intensity! It’s all about the intensity you bring to it.”

There are several added benefits of switching to low-impact moves, including that they’re more accessible to the elderly, injured, and pregnant populations. “It’s no secret that high-impact and high-intensity cardio workouts burn fat at a faster rate and in a short period,” said Amina Barnes, an NASM-certified personal trainer. “But for beginners, especially those who’ve had previous injuries, it’s important to start slowly and improve your strength and mobility over time. Lower-impact exercise moves allow you to leave one foot on the ground and tend to be gentler on your joints and muscles.”

In addition, you’ll be building functional strength. “These exercises are incredibly stabilizing; you’re fine-tuning your body in a way,” Parsons explained. “You’ll gain more flexibility and control, while working your core.” Barnes agreed, adding: “There are so many low-impact alternative exercise moves that still give you an intense, heart-pumping workout without increasing your risk for injury and muscle fatigue.” Here are five of the best.

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