By Ashley Allen
Several studies over the past five years show that high-impact fitness options such as combat sports, boot camps, power-lifting and long-distance running, can be damaging on muscles, joints and bone density. As such, they may not for everyone, especially those just starting to get in shape.
For years, Pilates and yoga have been popular options for those seeking low-impact fitness, but within the past several years barre has gained traction. With these types of fitness individuals are able to develop a strong core which encourages improved posture and reduces risk of injury.
Mikala O’Neil teaches Pilates and barre at multiple locations in Boston. She explained why these types of exercises are beneficial to virtually everyone.
Amy Allen is Boston yogi, and practices various types of yoga across the city. Amy is also a marathon runner, and over the years, has used yoga to avoid running-related injuries.
O’Neil said Pilates and barre can also be used to supplement other types of exercise.
According to O’Neil and several other studies, those who practice low-impact fitness programs often find that they have better bone density and higher levels of lean muscle mass, without the pain and soreness that can come with high-intensity workouts.
Low-impact workouts are much gentler by nature. For instance, Pilates is practiced primarily in reclining or sitting positions, so there is less chance of injury or strain. Those seated positions allow instructors to lead exercises that target specific muscle groups throughout the body. Low-impact exercise is more precise, which means that practitioners can avoid overworking the same set of muscles every time you work out.
Running is typically referred to as a high-impact type of fitness, but semi-professional runner, Amanda Nurse believes jogging is a great way to get into shape, and a significant part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.