5 Low-Impact Resistance Exercises for Weight Loss

Por Elizabeth Millard, instructora certificada A.C.E., profesora de yoga titulada RYT-200 |

You don't need to overdo it with an intense workout to lose weight. Here's a routine that's kinder on your joints - but still helps you get slimmer.

low-impact resistance exercises for weight loss

Even if you’re able to do high-impact activities like running, jumping jacks or pickleball, there’s a great case to be made for adding some low-impact moves to your exercise mix. Turning down the volume on the intensity of your workouts can help prevent injury — and can still lead to a healthier heart and effective weight loss.

Dialing your exertion back can have other benefits too: One study of older adults in the journal Obesity found that when low-impact exercise is combined with healthy eating, it helps seniors lose weight— plus it improves mobility and makes everyday tasks feel a little easier.

Fortunately, there are plenty of low-impact exercise options to choose from, including SilverSneakers EnerChi, Pilates and SilverSneakers Yoga. So it’s easy to connect with an activity that you’ll enjoy enough to make it a regular habit.

Strength-training exercises can also be low-impact, and they are a proven path toward weight loss. According to the National Institute on Aging, resistance training is the most effective way to build muscle and lose body fat. The more lean muscle you build, the more likely you are to see the scale go down.

With that in mind, here's a full-body strength-training routine that you can do with either your bodyweight or light hand weights. It's a great way to get started with a weight-loss-focused workout that also protects your joints from injury.

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How to Do the Low-Impact Workout for Weight Loss

Start by doing a short warmup to prime your muscles. Begin by doing one set of exercises in the order we’ve listed them, using only your bodyweight or light weights. As you get stronger, perform the full circuit up to three times, resting two minutes — or more, if you need it — between rounds. Finish with a brief cooldown.

To make the workout more challenging, either use heavier hand weights or do more reps per exercise. Aim to do the full workout on two nonconsecutive days per week at first, adding a third or fourth day if you feel ready. Just be sure to take a rest day between every workout day.

Como siempre, la clave es la seguridad. Get your doctor’s OK before beginning a new exercise program. Los ejercicios aquí podrían ser distintos o más avanzados que los de que aplicará en una clase SilverSneakers. If you have a chronic condition (including osteoporosis and arthritis), balance issues, or injuries, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

What you need:

  • Space to move
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Sturdy chair for support
  • Water to sip, as needed
  • Light hand weights (optional)

Exercise #1 Squat

How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and toes pointed forward.
  • Keeping your eyes forward, chest up, and heels planted, push your hips back to lower into a squat.
  • Make sure your knees track over your ankles and don’t cave inward — it helps to think about pushing your knees out slightly.
  • Reach your arms straight out from your shoulders to help counterbalance.
  • Once you squat as far as you comfortably can, push through your heels to return to standing.
  • Haga 10 repeticiones.

Exercise #2: Wall Pushups

How to do it:

  • Stand facing the wall with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Place your palms slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the wall.
  • Doble los codos y baje la parte superior del cuerpo hacia la pared, manteniendo el torso apretado para que su cuerpo permanezca recto (sin hundir la espalda).
  • Pause, and then press back to the starting position. Esa es una repetición.
  • Haga 10 repeticiones.

Hágalo más difícil: dé un paso atrás para que tenga que empujar más peso corporal lejos de la pared. ¿Sigue siendo demasiado fácil? Realice las lagartijas de rodillas o en la posición tradicional.

Exercise #3: Hip Hinge (with or without weight)

Flexión de cadera

How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hands on hips.
  • Tense su abdomen, imagine que está a punto de recibir un puñetazo en el estómago.
  • Without changing the position of your knees, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor (or as far as you can comfortably go without rounding your back).
  • Haga una pausa, luego levante el torso de regreso a la posición inicial. Asegúrese de apretar los glúteos y empujar las caderas hacia adelante para levantar el torso de nuevo a la posición inicial. Esto asegura que está utilizando los músculos de la cadera en lugar de depender de la zona lumbar.
  • Haga 10 repeticiones.

Make it harder: Once you can comfortably perform the movement with good form, try it while holding a light weight. Here’s how:

  • Hold a 2- to 5-pound dumbbell with both hands.
  • Keeping your arms down so the weight is in front of your hips, perform the Hip Hinge, as above.

Recommended FREE SilverSneakers On-Demand Workout: 5 Exercises for Seniors to Lose Belly Fat

Exercise #4: Bent Over Row

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How to do it:

  • Hold a light weight in each hand.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  • Push your hips back and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel with the floor.
  • Let the dumbbells hang at arm’s length from your shoulders, palms facing in.
  • From here, squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bend your elbows and pull the dumbbells up to the sides of your torso.
  • Pause, then slowly lower the dumbbells to return to the starting position. Esa es una repetición.
  • Haga 10 repeticiones.

Exercise #5: Cross Body Chop

How to do it:

  • Párese erguido con el pecho hacia arriba, los hombros hacia atrás y hacia abajo y los pies apoyados firmemente en el suelo.
  • Engage your core and clasp your hands.
  • Gently rotate your torso to one side and bring your hands above your hip.
  • Desde aquí, manteniendo su torso tenso, gire hacia el otro lado mientras lleva las manos por encima del hombro.
  • Gire hacia el otro lado mientras baja las manos para volver a la posición inicial. Permita que su mirada siga su movimiento.
  • Do 10 reps per side.

Make it harder: Once you can comfortably perform the movement with good form, increase your range of motion or add weight — or both. Start with your hands below your hip and bring them up higher over your opposite shoulder. If that feels good, you can do the exercise while holding a light weight with both hands.

Recommended reading: 5 Ways to Do a Chop

See our sources:
Study showing weight-loss benefit of low-impact exercise for seniors: Obesity
Effectiveness of resistance training to build muscle, lose body fat: National Institute on Aging

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