In today’s sedentary world, health professionals are constantly telling us that moving our bodies is critical to staying healthy and happy. But it’s hard for most of us to make time to fit cardio into our already packed schedules! And what about those who have an injury or other handicap that prevents them from participating in more traditional forms of cardio? It brings us back to the age-old question: isn’t there a better way? Well, the answer is no, but also yes…
Confused? Stick with us; we’ll explain.
The Health Benefits of Cardio Exercise:
The benefits of cardiovascular fitness are well-studied, and the scientific consensus is clear: incorporating cardio into your routine will drastically improve your quality of life. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity cardio. That can also be broken down as 30-60 minutes, 3-5 times per week. Around this level, you’ll begin to see the benefits including, but not limited to:
- Reduced blood pressure
- Improved cognitive function
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Reduced risk for leading diseases including Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease
- Pain relief
- Weight loss (to a healthy BMI) independent of dieting
- Increased “healthy” cholesterol (HDL) and reduced “unhealthy” cholesterol (LDL)
- Improved overall quality of life
- Less depression
- Improved body image
- Improved mood
- Higher bone density
- Better sleep quality
All these amazing benefits make a pretty compelling case for adding cardiovascular exercise into your daily routine! While it may be tempting to search for a “hack”, unfortunately science has shown us that there is no substitute for aerobic exercise, when it comes to reaping these benefits. Back to our original question: Is there a better way? The answer is no, there’s nothing “better” than cardio, however for some people, there may be a “better” way to do cardio!
What is Non-Impact Cardio?
Non-Impact Cardio is a form of exercise which reduces stress on joints, muscles, bones and tendons, by reducing the jarring impact effects of gravity associated with moderate to high intensity cardiovascular activity. Sports commonly associated with “cardio”, including running, often involve pounding on the skeleton which puts additional stress on the body, outside of the exercise-induced stress.
Very few forms of exercise are considered truly “non-impact” and even fewer of those offer the potential to get your heart rate up, and get a good cardiovascular workout. These include:
- Cross-Country Skiing
- Elliptical Training
While all these are great forms of exercise, they’re not always accessible, and have some potential drawbacks (which we’ll talk about later!)
While many other forms of exercise can be considered “non-impact”, these are usually low-intensity or resistance exercises, which don’t offer the same benefits as moderate to high-intensity cardio.
Low Impact Cardio vs. Non-Impact Cardio
You have probably heard of “Low Impact” Cardio. But the term “Non-Impact” is probably unfamiliar to you, or maybe you think it’s the same thing. There’s an important distinction, however. Many aerobic exercises can be considered “Low Impact” including walking, skating, hiking, dance and boxing. However, these are not truly non-impact, and still involve a certain level of jarring stress on the musculoskeletal system. For some individuals, even these forms of cardio are not a reasonable option. These groups of people can improve their fitness and reap the benefits of aerobic exercise by choosing non-impact cardio (either short-term or long-term) instead.
Who Should Do Non-Impact Cardio?
People with sports injuries:
Depending on the nature of the injury, an athlete should likely choose to participate in non-impact cardio during their recovery period. This will allow them to keep in good form for when they return to the sport, but also allow their body the time required to heal, and reduce risk of re-injury.
People with chronic pain or injury:
Some individuals face a future where they will never fully recover. Whether it is due to injury, overuse, genetics, or age, many people find themselves dealing with chronic pain that makes traditional cardio unpleasant at best, and dangerous at worst. Common forms of pain (including back and knee) can be alleviated by choosing non-impact cardio instead!
Extremely overweight people:
Individuals who are considered morbidly obese are at higher risk of injury when participating in high-impact cardio. Excess weight creates additional stress on bones, joints and tendons which are more likely to become overloaded. These individuals should choose non-impact cardio options, until their weight allows them to safely include higher-impact cardio into their routine.
People with handicaps or disabilities:
Whether through genetics or circumstance, some people find themselves in a body with limited mobility. But these bodies still get all the same benefits from aerobic exercise as able-bodied people! Non-impact cardio provides a way for people with many different handicaps to safely get active, and stay healthy and happy.
The Cons of Non-Impact Cardio:
Like we mentioned above, there is a short list of truly non-impact exercises that can get your heart rate up, and provide the benefits of moderate-intensity cardio. While these are great options, it’s important to acknowledge their potential drawbacks or difficulties. These include:
Swimming is great, but unless you have your own private pool, you’re limited by the constraints of your local facilities. Now, with the pandemic concerns, you might be rightfully hesitant to visit a pool or gym, or you might not even have the option anymore! The same goes for machines like ellipticals and stationary bikes. While it is possible to purchase your own, not everyone has space for the big, bulky equipment.
Sports like cycling or XC Skiing are great options for dynamic movement, however they both have limited seasons, and finding time or motivation to get outside every day can be tricky. Not to mention maintenance of all the sport-specific gear. If you love these sports, then great! We don’t want to discourage anyone from the hobbies they love. However, there are always some for whom this isn’t the best option.
When it comes to non-impact cardio, you’ll notice that most of these exercises focus almost exclusively on linear movement (the forward-backward plane of motion). There is very little side-to-side motion incorporated, which can be a problem for those turning to non-impact cardio to rehab an injury. Side-to-side, or lateral motions, are incredibly important for strengthening muscles and tendons during the healing process, reducing imbalanced movement patterns and risk of future injury.
A Better Way to do Non-Impact Cardio:
Many things can draw someone to seek out non-impact cardio options, and injury is one of the most common. This is what drove our founder to create a better way to do non-impact cardio! After years of football injuries, he found himself unable to run due to the high impact, and looked for a way to stay in shape for his favorite hobbies, including skiing. Designed specifically with non-impact cardio in mind, the Skier’s Edge is one of the only non-impact, high-intensity cardio workout machines on the market. But what makes the Skier’s Edge a good alternative to some of the other forms of non-impact cardio?
In just 15 minutes a day you can burn as many calories as 30 minutes of running… without the impact and strain! Not to mention, it’s space efficient as well! With a small footprint and low profile, the Skier’s Edge can be easily tucked away, and our transport wheels make it easy to pull out for a quick sweat session.
High intensity, Low impact:
High Intensity training is an important part of many athletes’ training regimens, to increase their top end power. When these athletes get injured, they’ll want to be able to maintain form, while still reducing unnecessary stress on their joints. That’s where the Skier’s Edge comes in! It’s used by some of the most elite athletes in the world and their trainers to rehabilitate and prevent injury. This includes teams in the NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB, and MLS as well as pro athletes in tennis, golf, mt biking, rugby, lacrosse and more.
Great weight loss tool:
The combination of cardio and resistance training provided by the Skier’s Edge is a fat-burning powerhouse! For those turning to non-impact cardio as a safe way to lose weight, the Skier’s Edge is a great option, burning a whopping 1540 calories per hour.
With the Skier’s Edge, you can tailor your workouts to your exact needs! If you’re looking for the health benefits of moderate-intensity exercise, the machine can be used at a lower resistance for a long, steady-state cardio session. If you’re an elite athlete, looking to gain a performance edge through high-intensity training bursts, it can do that too!
Like we mentioned before, the drawback of many forms of non-impact exercise is that they only focus on linear, or fore-aft motions. The Skier’s Edge provides a unique side-to-side motion which strengthens and supports your joints, preventing injury and overuse from repetitive movement patterns. Whether you’re recovering from injury or just looking to stay in shape, lateral training is a critical part of any training regime!
Last, and perhaps most importantly, training on the Skier’s Edge is fun! We think Eli O. From Elk River, MN said it best:
“… Since late March 2010, I’ve logged over 1.1 million turns and lost 25 pounds with Skier’s Edge being my dominant means to exercise and minimal diet change. I have to say, this investment was well worth it. Not only has it helped get me to a healthy weight (that I haven’t seen in probably 14 years) and helped improve my overall health, but I skied, skied, and skied for complete days during my ski trips the past 2 years like I haven’t done since I was much younger. Plus, I haven’t lost interest using it. It’s been fun and a low-impact calorie-busting workout. It’s addicting!”
Studies have shown time and time again that the most effective form of exercise is the one you enjoy the most, because you’re more likely to keep doing it! So, if you’re looking to reap the benefits of the recommended 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, why not try out the Skier’s Edge? With testimonials from hundreds of satisfied customers, from pro athletes to everyday fitness enthusiasts, we know you’ll love it!
To learn more about how you can take your training to the next level, and see if YOU might benefit from non-impact Cardio, visit us at skiersedge.com !