When you want to get out there and back in shape but you haven't been keeping up with your fitness efforts for a while, it can be very challenging. After all, it isn't just a matter of not having the strength you could have if you'd remained athletic. You've also accumulated a number of different pains, aches and sore spots along the way.
Each of these additional struggles can make it feel like you're never really going to make any progress. It can also make your workouts seem quite painful.
Can you ever get back on track with cardio? While you likely won't be able to go from being relatively sedentary to running a mile right away, there are a number of low-impact cardio exercises that are perfect for getting your heart going and managing your weight without stressing your joints and causing you to hurt.
The following are some excellent examples of those exercises. It's still a good idea to start at a rate that is appropriate to your fitness level, but it is in these exercises that you're likely to make the greatest progress without experiencing the pains and injury risk of higher impact workouts.
• Walking – This may seem obvious but walking really doesn't get enough credit. Just because we can all do it, it doesn't mean that it doesn't have any value. The key is to make sure that you're walking for a cardio workout. Try to head out for 20 to 30 minutes at the start. Walk at a pace that will bring you to the point that after about 15 minutes, you're definitely warmer and by the end of it, you can't speak at a normal rate because your breathing has picked up that much. You'll give your whole body a great workout but also your heart, lungs and entire circulatory system.
• Swimming – Like walking, you use several major muscle groups to move around when you're swimming, but aquatic workouts come with an extra benefit. When you're moving around in the water, your muscles face greater resistance but your joints and bones don't suffer the impact.
• Elliptical trainer machine – If there is one piece of gym equipment that you will love for its cardio workout and low-impact nature, it's an elliptical. These machines are in virtually every gym but it's also possible to purchase them for home use. Since your feet never raise off the platform as is the case with a treadmill, the impact on your bones and joints is considerably lower despite the fact that you're still exercising the same muscle groups.