Bookmark This Low-Impact Cardio Workout For When Your Joints Need a Break

Victoria Moorhouse
Two women doing gymnastics at home
Two women doing gymnastics at home

Good news for your joints: a virtual HIIT class nearly isn't the only way to get in a cardio workout at home.

Whether your knees and ankles need a break from the consistent jumping or you want to spare your downstairs neighbor from yet another set of burpees, this simple (but supereffective!) low-impact cardio workout is the solution.

"A low-impact cardio workout may not burn as many calories as a high-impact workout in the same allotted time, however, it may save your joints in the future so you can continue to work out," Melissa Chisholm, an NASM-certified personal trainer, explained.

"As with anything, consistency is key, and adding more low-impact workouts to your routine will allow you to stay consistent."

Cycle through this workout curated by Chisholm ahead; your body will feel the physical challenge in the best possible way.


Five Walk-Out to Hip-Openers

  • Stand tall, inhale to bring your arms overhead, and exhale to fold over.

  • Walk out to a high plank and bring your right foot to the outside of your right hand.

  • Rotate your torso, and bring your right hand up toward the ceiling. Hold for three breaths. Place your hand down, and return your foot back to a plank.

  • Repeat on the left side.

  • Step your foot back to plank, and push back into a Downward Dog. Pedal out your feet.

  • Walk your hands back to your feet. Slowly roll up to standing and inhale your arms overhead.

  • This completes one rep. Repeat five times.

10 Cat-Cows
10 Squats
10 Alternating Forward Lunges
10 Alternating Reverse Lunges

Related: This Low-Impact Cardio Workout Torches Major Calories - No Jumping Required

20-Minute Low-Impact Cardio Workout
20-Minute Low-Impact Cardio Workout


Complete all six exercises in order. Repeat for three rounds.

Chisholm suggested setting a timer while completing round one: try to meet or beat your time during the second and third rounds, all while maintaining good form.

Walk-Out to Push-Ups:

  • Start standing folded over and walk your hands out to a tall plank.

  • Bend your elbows to lower down and push back up to a tall plank position.

  • Walk your hands back to your feet and roll up to stand.

  • That completes one rep. Repeat for 10 reps.

Squat to Calf Raise:

  • Stand with your feet about hips-width apart.

  • Lower your hips back as though you are sitting into a chair.

  • Come up to standing, lift onto your toes, and then lower your heels down.

  • That is one rep. Repeat for 10 reps.

Plank Walk:

  • Start in an extended arm plank with your feet wide to create a solid foundation.

  • Lower onto your right elbow/forearm, lower onto your left elbow/forearm, and then press back up to a tall plank, replacing your right elbow with your right hand, and your left elbow with your left hand.

  • That is one rep. Repeat for 10 reps total, with five leading with your right side and five leading with your left.

Lateral Lunge to Balance:

  • Starting from a standing position, T your arms out or lift them out to the side.

  • Step your right leg out wide so that it is as wide as your right hand, but not as wide if you are very tight.

  • Sit back on your right side for a single-sided squat; your left foot remains planted on the ground and your left leg remains straight.

  • Push up out of your right foot to come back to balance on your left leg while lifting your right knee to hip height.

  • Balance for one breath and step back out to the right for 10 reps.

  • Repeat on the left side.

Extended Arm Plank to Bear Plank:

  • Start in an extended arm plank with your legs long.

  • Step your right foot in so that your knee is under your right hip, and then do the same on your left side.

  • Hover your knees about one-to-two inches off the ground.

  • Step back to plank leading with your right leg, and following with your left.

  • Repeat this for 20 reps total, 10 leading with your right leg and 10 leading with your left leg.

Alternating Reverse Lunge to Arms Overhead:

  • Start standing with both arms straight up overhead so your biceps are by your ears and your fingertips are pointed up to the ceiling.

  • Step back with your right leg. Lower your right knee to hover about an inch off the ground.

  • As you step back into your lunge, swing your arms back behind you.

  • Step up to stand and swing your arms up to the starting position.

  • Alternate your legs for 20 reps total, 10 on each leg.

Click here for more health and wellness stories, tips, and news.

More From

  • Feeling Stressed? Read These 5 Self-Care Tips From the Frontline by a Doctor Testing For COVID-19

    We are halfway through 2020, and none of us is exactly where we imagined we would be. Whether it was our goals, plans, or even our routines, we have all had to change course due to COVID-19.

  • Add This Cardio Pilates Workout to Your Weekly Fitness Routine

    Pilates isn't all about toning. If you're doing Pilates moves at a "cardio pace" (think running, biking, jumping rope), you're getting a high-intensity, low-impact cardio workout, too - just ask ACE-certified group fitness trainer and certified Pilates instructor Amy Jordan.

  • Lightweight, Breezy Pants For Long Walks on the Beach

    A long evening walk on the beach isn't exactly calming if you're shivering the entire time. When the gentle salty breeze picks up slightly and the sun dips below the horizon, you'll want to be prepared with the right gear so you can keep your stroll going for as long as possible. These pants and joggers are made with lightweight, sweat-wicking, and even UV-protecting materials, so you can stay comfortable walking, running, jumping, and dancing on the sand without feeling overheated - because that's not fun, either. Related: A 6-Move Workout You Can Do on the Beach

  • Logan Browning's Guided Meditations May Be Just What You Need to De-Stress and Recenter

    Self-care comes in many forms, and although I had been actively taking care of my skin while staying at home, the rest of my body - and my mental health - had taken a back seat during the pandemic. The different workout apps I tried just weren't keeping me motivated and did nothing to help me feel more centered, which I really needed.