If the idea of intense workouts such as the 75 Hard Challenge, 12-3-30 workout, or the “Run Until” Challenge feels overwhelming or too extreme, there’s a new fitness trend gaining popularity that might change your perspective on fitness. Known as “soft workouts”, this trend focuses on gentle, low-impact movements that are achievable, enjoyable, and not as daunting. It’s not just about the type of activity but also how you approach it. So, if you prefer a more laid-back workout or feel fatigued by intense exercises, soft workouts could be the perfect fit for you. Here’s a closer look at what soft workouts entail, their advantages, and tips for getting started.

In this article
1 What are soft workouts?
2 How to work out softly:
3 What are the benefits?
4 Are there any downsides?

What are soft workouts?

“Soft workouts provide a gentler and more enjoyable way to exercise, emphasizing low-impact movements, mindful practices, and overall well-being over pushing yourself to the limit with exercises that may feel overwhelming,” explained Megan Roup, Founder of The Sculpt Society. Prior to their surge in popularity, low-impact workouts were already part of Roup’s approach as they help individuals make daily movement a habit without it feeling daunting.

“These workouts can be as simple as stretching, a 10-minute Pilates routine, or a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood—anything that gets you active and clears your mind after a long day,” noted Robin Long, a certified Pilates instructor and the founder of Lindywell. In essence, soft workouts are about engaging in a less intense form of movement that is accessible to everyone, regardless of their fitness level. It’s crucial to understand that low-impact doesn’t equate to low-intensity or simplicity. You can tailor your gentle workout to be as challenging or relaxed as you prefer. Roup emphasized that even a brief 5-20 minute low-impact workout can offer significant benefits to your physical and mental well-being without the need for extended treadmill sessions. The key aspects of soft workouts are to be kind to your joints and find pleasure in engaging in them.

How to work out softly:

The essence of soft workouts lies in engaging in low-impact activities that you genuinely enjoy. When it comes to choosing the types of soft workouts, the possibilities are vast. “Discovering a [soft] workout or program that transforms fitness from a guilt-ridden duty into a sustainable practice that brings happiness into your day and supports your personal growth—nourishing your mental health and fostering a mind-body connection—is crucial,” shared Long. “Listen to your body and adjust the frequency and duration of your soft workouts to align with your fitness level and objectives,” added White.

If Pilates or yoga resonates with you, White recommended starting with 20-30 minute sessions three times a week. “Find beginner-friendly videos or apps that guide you through the basic poses and movements,” he suggested. “Concentrate on your breathing and posture for maximum benefits.” Incorporating activities like brisk walking, such as Hot Girl Walks, into your soft workout regimen can also be beneficial. White emphasized dedicating at least 30 minutes a day to brisk walking, as it not only enhances cardiovascular health but also boosts mood and energy levels. Additionally, integrating stretching and resistance training into your routine can have positive effects. “Set aside 10-15 minutes daily for stretching, focusing on major muscle groups,” urged White. “For light resistance training, begin with 20-30 minute sessions 2-3 times a week, utilizing light weights or resistance bands to gently build muscle strength.”

What are the benefits?

To promote injury prevention and recovery

Unlike high-impact exercises that can strain your joints, soft workouts enable you to concentrate on proper form and reduce the risk of injuries, making them a sustainable alternative. In case of an injury, soft workouts can aid in your recovery process. “Soft workouts are ideal for individuals recovering from injuries or facing mobility limitations, as they offer a way to engage in physical activity without exerting excessive strain on the body,” explained Andrew White, a certified personal trainer and cofounder of Garage Gym Pro. “Gentle activities like swimming or cycling can enhance blood circulation, accelerate healing, and facilitate a safe recovery process. Furthermore, these workouts can assist in gradually rebuilding strength and flexibility in affected areas.”

To improve flexibility and balance

“Soft workouts often concentrate on enhancing flexibility, balance, and core strength, which are essential components of overall fitness,” remarked White. “Practices such as Pilates and stretching routines can enhance joint mobility, minimize injury risks, and enhance posture.” Research indicates that Pilates not only enhances strength and flexibility but also balance, owing to its emphasis on core strengthening, alignment, and holistic body exercise. This improved flexibility and balance become especially beneficial as we age, aiding in maintaining independence and reducing the risk of falls. To boost muscle mass, it’s not just about weight-lifting and strength training; one must also focus on flexibility, balance, and core strength to support the body in achieving increased strength, endurance, or other fitness goals.

To reduce stress

Soft workouts encompass both physical and mental health advantages. “Combining low-impact physical activity with deliberate breathing can reset the nervous system, shifting from ‘fight or flight’ mode (the sympathetic nervous system) to a state of rest and relaxation (allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to take over),” affirmed Long. White concurred, stating, “Regular participation in these activities can lead to improved mood, enhanced sleep quality, and an overall sense of well-being, which are vital for maintaining mental health.”

To improve consistency

It’s a common saying that the best workout is the one you stick with. Given the accessibility of soft workouts, individuals are more likely to maintain a regular routine. Whether you’re a novice, expert, or somewhere in between, soft workouts can suit everyone. “These exercises can be easily adjusted to accommodate various fitness levels, making them suitable for beginners, seniors, or those with physical restrictions,” White emphasized. “Most soft workouts do not require specialized equipment and can be done anywhere, from the comfort of your home to a nearby park, making them a convenient choice for staying physically active on a regular basis.”

Are there any downsides?

While the health benefits of soft workouts suggest their long-term viability, there are some drawbacks to consider. “Typically, soft workouts may not deliver the cardiovascular and muscle-strengthening effects of high-intensity exercises,” pointed out White. “For example, they might not significantly elevate heart rate or build muscle mass to the degree that more vigorous activities like running or weightlifting can.” Additionally, exclusively engaging in soft workouts could lead to fitness plateaus and hinder progress in terms of fitness improvements or weight loss, as the body adapts to low-intensity exercises, resulting in diminishing returns over time. “To continue progressing, it’s often necessary to introduce varied and more challenging activities into your routine,” he advised.

Long recommended integrating soft workouts into a comprehensive exercise regimen that includes a mix of elements (such as cardio, strength training, core exercises, stretching, etc.) and remaining consistent to achieve optimal outcomes. “Workouts are only effective if you stick with them consistently, so find what works for you and what activities you enjoy to maintain the habit. Consistency is key to reaping the physical and mental benefits.”


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