Low Impact Cardio for Foot Pain

Swimming is a low-impact cardio exercise that's gentle on the feet.
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A foot injury or foot pain shouldn't prevent you from getting or staying in shape. While certain cardio exercises may be off limits when it comes to foot pain, others can be comfortably performed without causing any pain to your feet. Choosing low-impact cardio exercises will give you a pain-free way to work up a sweat and burn some calories.

Benefits of Low-Impact Exercise

    Many cardio exercises require jumping or other movements where both feet leave the ground. These types of high-impact exercises can be difficult for people who have injuries to their feet or experience foot pain. However, low-impact cardio exercises have all of the same aerobic benefits but put less strain on the feet and joints, as they are generally exercises that don't require more than one foot to leave the ground at a time, according to MuscleMagFitness.com.


    Swimming is an aerobic exercise with no impact on the feet due to the resistance of water and your ability to float. Swimming or water aerobics can work every muscle group in the body, and vigorously treading water alone can burn up to 11 calories a minute, according to Fitness magazine. This exercise is light on the joints but still challenging enough to get your heart pumping so you achieve all of the benefits of a good cardio workout.


    There are many different forms of yoga, from gentle forms to more challenging power forms. However, all forms are low impact and can help you avoid foot pain from exercising, as yoga focuses on poses and stretching. This allows your feet to stay comfortably on the floor without the impact of jumping and landing. Doing yoga is also good cardio. According to Harvard Health Publications, yoga contributes to good cardiovascular health by gently exercising the muscles and improving breathing.


    Brisk walking is a cardio exercise that is also low impact and easy on your feet. Wearing thick socks, supportive shoes and warming up properly before taking a walk will also help reduce the risk of foot pain during this exercise. Brisk walking is more fast paced than a stroll, so it can provide a good cardio exercise as well. Brisk walking as a cardio exercise can also help reduce the risk of heart attack just as much as more vigorous exercises, according to Mayo Clinic.

Safety Considerations

    While low-impact exercises should help reduce foot pain while working out, you should always have a doctor evaluate your foot pain first before you begin any exercise routine. This will ensure that the foot pain is not a result of an untreated injury, and the doctor can verify that exercising will not make the injury or pain worse. Further, the doctor can give you instructions on how to properly care for your feet before and after exercise to reduce pain and the risk of a recurring injury.

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