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The 3 Best Low-Impact Workouts For A High-Stress Life, Instructor Says

Recharge and get lean, sculpted muscles with these workouts.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Between the coronavirus pandemic and working from home being the new norm, many feel as though the weight of the world is on their shoulders. Maybe you're even feeling exhausted by the HITT (high-intensity interval training) workouts that used to recharge you—which makes perfect sense. Why? Because HITT exercises create high levels of cortisol (stress hormone) within the body. This additional cortisol can result in weight gain, fatigue, and high blood pressure. That's why—especially now more than ever—I'm recommending my clients focus on low-impact workouts that can totally recharge their batteries, give them lean and sculpted muscles, and leave them feeling nourished and energized throughout the day.

These low-impact workouts allow your body to stretch and restore. Oh, and don't be surprised when you finish these workouts drenched in a satisfying sweat. So, are you ready to give your exercise game an update? Here are the best low-impact workouts for a high-stress life. Check them out below, and next up, be sure to read The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.


exercise in barre workout class

While barre can vary with intensity depending upon the teacher and the props, it is a low-impact workout that will give you a deep inner core sweat and work the tiny muscles of your body through very small movements and pulsing. The burn is fierce, so it will give you results, but it won't add to your already mounting cortisol levels.

Related: 3 Secret Barre Workout Tips To Tighten Your Glutes Fast, Instructor Says


woman relaxes while doing yoga by the water

While yoga is very physical, it is also very meditative. Your mat is always a place you can go to find clarity and create space throughout your mind and body. The breathwork allows you to move through the poses while simultaneously allowing you to think of nothing else, giving you that zen vibe you feel post-class.

Related: The #1 Morning Yoga Flow That Will Keep You Energized All Day, Expert Says

Yoga Sculpt

yoga mat rolled out with dumbbells and water bottle

This workout is the restorative feel of yoga, but the torch of a barre class. It is the best of both worlds—each yoga pose and vinyasa is heightened with strength training exercises to give your muscles that extra push, but you still get to finish class with a savasana. (Think planks, squats, core work, yoga, and low-impact cardio.) What's not to love?

Try these low-impact workouts to get started:

happy woman doing yoga pose in bright living room

Jacquie Smith, RYT 200, RPYT
Jacquie Smith is a certified integrative nutrition health coach from IIN and a fitness instructor specializing in barre, yoga, and pre/postnatal workouts. Read more about Jacquie