Exercise should be invigorating and challenging, not painful. High impact exercises can cause knee, hip, back, ankle, and other joint pain. But there are many exercises that can provide the same great benefits of exercising without the extra joint stress. Give your body a break from higher-stress exercises such as contact sports or running, and work up a sweat with these heart-pumping workouts:

Rowing

Rowing provides a great upper body workout, and also helps strengthen your legs and back. Whether in the great outdoors or with a rowing machine indoors at a gym or your home, this workout is a great all around exercise that can burn major calories without the major joint stress.  

Yoga

Yoga is an effective total body workout and combines a good amount of calorie-burning exercise with flexibility increasing poses and core strengthening. In fact, a single power yoga class can burn a whopping 300-400 calories. An added benefit is that while you can practice regularly at a studio in a group setting, you can also toss your mat in the back of your car for an on-the-go experience wherever your travels may take you.

Swimming

Swimming is one of the best-known low-impact workouts. It provides a great opportunity to work out the entire body under resistance without putting a lot of stress on the joints. Swimming helps build muscles throughout the entire body, and the intensity of your workout can be easily adjusted as desired.

Cycling

Cycling can get you out of the house without placing pavement-pounding strain on your knees. Cycling can be a quick workout for those with tight schedules, and just like swimming, the intensity can be varied to your liking. Cycling can also be worked into your everyday activities. Leave the car at home and cycle to work, or hop on your bike to run errands around town.

Walking

Walking has the wonderful benefit in that it can be done almost anywhere, at any time, and for any length of time. Walking is a great low-impact way to burn calories, and walking up hills or speeding up your pace can help you increase the challenge and work up a sweat.  Hiking is another great way to spice up your walking regimen, and getting into nature can be good for both the body and soul.

Golf

Skip the golf cart and hit the fairway equipped with just your clubs and your shoes! Golfing is a great way to get in some low-impact exercise while socializing with friends. It can also help build strength, focus, and balance.

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing challenges both your muscles and your bravery. Climbing is a slow controlled exercise that can build great upper body strength without requiring the joint-irritating impact that can come with other sports.  

Rollerblading

Strap on those wheels and hit the streets (or your local skating rink) for a fun and rewarding workout. Rollerblading can burn calories and build leg strength and balance without the impact. Rollerblading targets muscles in the upper legs, buttocks, lower back, and hips.

Pilates

Pilates routines include exercises to increase stability, endurance, and muscle control. This exercise can help strengthen core muscles and improve posture, balance, and flexibility. It can even help prevent and treat back pain.