Easy on the Knees: Low-Impact Workouts for Beginners

Have you ever heard the saying, “Start where you are”? It’s one of my favorite quotes because it’s completely valid no matter where you are on your fitness journey. I know there are so many incredibly fit people in magazines, on social media and perhaps even in your own gym or outdoor workout park – so how are you supposed to do what they’re doing? News flash: you’re not!

Young woman is doing a lunge

If you have some weight to lose, you might have already realized that it’s not comfortable, safe or even possible to do some of those advanced exercises we see on Instagram or Facebook videos…right now, at least! Take it one day at a time and focus on what you can do and what makes your body feel good.

And in case you are wondering, running isn’t always the answer. Running with extra weight can put added pressure and impact on your knees, ankles, hips and lower back and can cause pain. When I used to be a personal trainer in California, so many people would tell me, “I want to start working out with you, but I don’t want to run.” No problem, there are so many other awesome low-impact workouts for beginners that will make you feel much better than running will right now.

Here are my top 7 low-impact workout recommendations:

1. Swimming

Jump in, swim some laps, tread some water or even run laps in the pool if it’s shallow enough. Swimming is incredibly low impact and perhaps a surprisingly difficult form of cardio. Try swimming without stopping for 5-10 minutes and you’ll see what I mean.

2. Bodyweight training

The best thing about bodyweight training is that you can keep progressing your exercises no matter how fit and strong you get – with no gym whatsoever! While jumping squats might not be ideal for you, you can try out this low-impact workout for people with bad knees. This workout combines low-impact bodyweight training for a total-body workout! And, for a customized 12-week  bodyweight training plan, be sure to download the Runtastic Results app.

3. Walking

It reduces stress and burns fat without extra impact on your joints. Whether you’ve never worked out a day in your life or you’re a gym junkie, walking should always be on your training plan. The benefits of walking are immense, and it’s a great way to combine a workout and time to unwind after a busy day. How about heading out for a 30-60 minute walk today – are you in?

4. HIIT training

Forget the crazy explosive moves and go at your own pace and level. This 10-minute HIIT Workout for Beginners was a huge hit (pun intended) on the Runtastic Fitness Channel. So many people wanted to jump on the HIIT train, but the intensity of the exercises was just too much. HIIT newbies, you probably can do all of the exercises in this workout!

Man doing a bodyweight training

5. Water aerobics

Stay cool and get in a great workout at the same time. The water provides a challenging and low-impact resistance that will really make your muscles burn. This water aerobics workout targets your entire body and it’s a lot of fun!

6. Recovery workout using a foam roller

Don’t forget about the recovery part! Beginners and advanced athletes alike need to take recovery seriously! Your body will not perform at the level it is capable of when you are only stressing it out all the time and not taking a step back for muscle repair and regeneration – which you’ll need in order to push harder in future workouts. Try this foam roller recovery workout with me! We can love on our muscles together.

7. Love Your Knees workout

Even world champion athletes need to take it down a notch at times. Nicole Trimmel, World & European Champion Kickboxer, shows us her best exercises for strengthening the stabilizer muscles in the legs and helping the knee and core to get stronger. Balance and stability training are a must whether you’re just starting out or if you’ve been working out for years. Do this workout with us.

How do you feel now? Hopefully, you’re feeling a bit more confident initiating your fitness journey – the place you are at now is where you’re supposed to be! Leave us a comment and let us know which low-impact workout was your favorite 🙂


Lunden Souza Lunden Souza is an Online Fitness & Lifestyle Transformation Coach. She helps people all over the world create a sustainable healthy lifestyle, so they'll never have to "start over" again! Connect with @lifelikelunden for real-life strategies to get on track for long-term health in both body and mind. View all posts by Lunden Souza