Develop strength without weights and boost your metabolism with these five low-impact exercises

This bodyweight workout will get your blood pumping and your muscles working while taking it easy on your joints

Woman squatting in living room
(Image credit: Liudmila Chernetska / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Workouts don't need to be intense and sweaty to be effective. In fact, you can build strength and improve your fitness without equipment, using a range of simple bodyweight exercises.

NASM-qualified personal trainer Fernanda Shaw recently shared a routine that ticks all of these boxes. With just five exercises, Shaw's routine is ideal for beginners looking to get started with strength and fitness routines. This workout will also get your heart rate up to improve your cardio fitness, without jumping or running, which are higher-impact forms of exercise.

This routine is also great to try if you exercise regularly and you're looking for a more relaxed workout that will still work your muscles and get your heart rate up—you could also use one round as a warm-up.

How to do Fernanda Shaw's low-impact workout

A post shared by Fernanda Shaw

A photo posted by fernandashaw_ on

This is a circuit workout and Shaw suggests completing each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest. Do the entire routine three times in total, with a minute of rest in between each round. This should take less than 15 minutes.

The benefits of low-impact workouts

Impact doesn't have to be bad for your joints—in fact it can help you strengthen them—but too much impact without appropriate strength and mobility training can lead to injury, so everyone can benefit from including low-impact exercises in their routine. As you get older, it's normal for your joints to become stiffer and weaker, so practicing low-impact exercises is a great way to keep moving and mobilizing joints.

If you're recovering from an injury, low-impact workouts like this are also a great way to gently get back into exercise.

Just because these exercises are low-impact, it doesn't mean they won't challenge you. Movements like squats, lunges and mountain climbers can still develop bodyweight strength and muscle.

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.