Mar 19, 2024 - News

Why low-impact workouts are having a moment

Illustration of a woman stretching on a yoga mat shaped like a plus

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

We're no longer in the heyday of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and CrossFit. Now, low-impact and functional fitness workouts are all the rage for American adults.

Why it matters: As longevity becomes a primary health focus, more adults are prioritizing workouts that help them in the long-term by being easier on the body and improving strength and flexibility, Axios' Carly Mallenbaum reports.

Context: About 15 years ago, we "went through an era [of] high-intensity interval training," from Insanity to CrossFit, says Nima Alamdari, honorary professor of sport and health sciences at the University of Exeter.

  • When done too quickly, those kinds of high-impact workouts can lead to back, knee or ankle injuries, Alamdari says.
  • Functional fitness exercises, on the other hand, typically work multiple muscle groups via different planes of movement, done at low or high intensity, and with or without equipment.
  • Low-impact exercises are "particularly important" for people 40 and older because that's the age that muscle mass and function can start to decline, says Alamdari.

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