Stay Grounded

There is an exciting trend being seen across the U.S. in which the population increasingly wants and needs something not commonly found over the past 10 to 20 years: low-impact workouts.

by Susanna Kalnes

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One truth that will never change in the fitness industry is that the best instructors and trainers are those who can cater to people of all athletic abilities, ages, shapes and sizes. They are constantly adapting, learning, engaging, and growing to accommodate the demands of the market and can effectively shift according to what the population wants and needs. 

There is an exciting trend being seen across the U.S. in which the population increasingly wants and needs something not commonly found over the past 10 to 20 years: low-impact workouts. 

We continue to see our aging population remain active and in the gym, so the demand for effective, low-impact exercise is on the rise and will only increase. Indeed, according to many fitness industry professionals and club owners, this demand is here to stay. 

“Over the past several years, I have noticed a trend with people in their 40s, 50s and 60s using the gym and participating in more group fitness classes,” comments Geralyn Desmond-Cochrane, a fitness instructor based in Orland Park, Illinois, who is 58 years of age. “I believe that age is really just a number and no matter where you are in life, you can incorporate a safe, low-impact workout. Don’t be fooled by the words ‘low impact,’ though! You can still achieve an intense, tough low-impact workout while protecting your joints and accommodating pre-existing injuries. I am a huge advocate for low impact and have seen great results in many people of my age group.” 

The Lowdown on Low Impact
Before we discuss some of the great low-impact workouts available, let’s define the term. Low impact means exercises that are designed to put little or no harmful stress on the body. These workouts do not involve lots of jumping and/or plyometric drills, which unfortunately is where the education breakdown occurs with many consumers across the U.S. 

For whatever reason, instructors agree that many people believe they aren’t getting a good workout if their exercises don’t involve jumping or running. But is that really the case or can we still “get our butts kicked” without leaving the ground? 

Introducing PiYo® LIVE
According to Bridget Frederick, a lead master trainer for Beachbody® LIVE, “There are many people out there who are initially hesitant to try a low-impact workout simply because they think it will be less challenging or ‘easier’ [if] they don’t involve jumping. But then I teach them one PiYo® LIVE class and their opinions are immediately changed. This format is low impact, but challenging in all of the best ways—strength, cardio, endurance and flexibility!”

The PiYo LIVE website relates that the format “combines the muscle-sculpting, core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility of flowing yoga movements…[but] this ain’t your mama’s yoga. We crank up the music, the speed, and the fun to give you an intense, yet low-impact workout that will burn crazy calories for a long, lean, beautiful physique.” 

PiYo LIVE was created by fitness celebrity Chalene Johnson and continues to see success among all age groups. Fitness fanatic Tom Neville from Bloomfield, New Jersey, comments, “I’ve done almost every workout under the sun, and for low-impact, butt kicking, sweat inducing fun I turn to PiYo. Chalene Johnson nailed it with this one!”

More Low Impact
SoulCycle® is another low-impact workout that is causing quite a stir in the industry. Created by Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, this format is a full-body indoor cycling workout. Participants ride to the beat of the music while incorporating upper body exercises. According to the website, indoor cyclists burn from 500 to 700 calories in a 45-minute SoulCycle class. And guess what? It’s low impact! 

Another format that fits the bill is Pure Barre®. This program, which utilizes a ballet barre, has become quite popular across the country over the past several years. In just 55 minutes, you can achieve a full-body workout that targets these “trouble areas”— abdominals, arms, buttocks, hips and thighs. The low-impact technique protects participants’ joints by avoiding any bouncing or jumping. 

Other low-impact workouts include TRX® Suspension Training, POUND, spin and just plain, old-fashioned walking. 

Fitness instructor Karrie Bishop confirms why low-impact workouts are so important to her. “I have psoriasis and inevitably will have psoriatic arthritis. I became a fitness instructor—particularly for low-impact formats—because I don’t want the arthritis to win and take me away from my life.” 

The Bottom Line
So what’s the best advice for fitness trainers across the country? Find certifications that focus on low-impact exercises such as PiYo LIVE or TRX. Keep yourself fresh and knowledgeable on such programs because, as our population ages, we are only going to see a growing demand for these types of workouts. Let’s do this!  AF
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