Low-impact versus High-impact exercise

Being active is becoming a crucial part of any healthy lifestyle.

Whether it’s walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, cross-fit or targeted muscle exercises, all of these are important to maintain a lean and strong body.

Walking or swimming may seem more appealing to some individuals while others may prefer jogging or cross fit.

Woman joggingWhy is that?

Because some prefer high-impact exercises to burn more calories and others prefer low-impact exercises to avoid putting too much stress and pressure on their joints and overall body.

Which is best though?

There is no right or wrong.

It all depends on your fitness level, your endurance and whether you believe that high intensity workouts = more calories burnt = Better overall results.

I’m a firm believer that when done correctly, any exercise will greatly improve strength and endurance.

Depending on your fitness level, some exercises can be more advanced and it can take quite some time for your body to accomplish a certain exercise effectively.Woman doing stretches correctly

So give it time and be consistent.

In this article, I will be discussing two specific exercises that have captured my attention: The “burpee” and the “catwalk”.

If you’re new to exercise, you may find these terms a bit funky. They are in fact interesting terms to be used in the fitness world.

So, where do the burpee and catwalk exercises come from?

According to Wikipedia, a burpee is a high-impact full body exercise used in strength training and as an aerobic exercise.

This is an intermediate exercise and targets multiple muscle groups at once while turning the body into fat burning machine.

It was apparently named after an American physiologist called Royal H. Burpee, who was the developer of the burpee test.

In the 1940s, Royal H. Burpee created the “burpee” exercise as part of his Ph.D. thesis as a quick and simple way to assess fitness.

models performing catwalk on a runwayThe catwalk on the other hand, is a term used in the modelling world to describe the way models walk on the Runway to show off clothing and accessories.

In the fitness world however, this exercise is starting to gain popularity as fitness experts are recommending its implementation as part of a low-impact exercise routine which can be done without any equipment.

This exercise is also intermediate and allows targeting specific muscles all while improving balance and working the body as a whole.

It does however require some flexibility especially in the back of the legs but this can easily be gained with time and practice.

How to perform a burpee and a catwalk exercise?

There are so many variations of a burpee and performing them depends on the individual’s level of fitness and cardio strength.

For the sake of this article, I’ll only be speaking to the basic burpee which is pretty straight forward and intended for people like myself ;).

  • All you need to do to perform a standard burpee is to:

Step by step instructions on how to perform a BurpeeFirst: Stand straight (feet at shoulder-width) while keeping the back always straight and squatting down while placing hands on the floor.

Second: While placing your weight on your hands, jump back into a pushup position. Note: make sure to keep the core as tight as possible all the time while on the pushup position.

Third: Drop the belly to the floor or if you’re capable of performing an actual pushup, then go for it!

Forth: Jump feet to hands at once (not stepping hands to feet) and stand back up straight.

Fifth: Jump up as high as you can with your hands pointing to the ceiling and back to a standing position.

  • A catwalk is performed as follows:

First: Stand straight (feet at shoulder-width).

Second: While keeping legs as straight as possible with soft knees, bend towards the floor.

Third: Now walk hands forward all the way to a push up position.

Fourth: Stay there for a few seconds if you’re able to and reverse action by walking back with your hands and returning back to standing straight.

Benefits of a burpee and a catwalk exercise

Both of these exercises are well rated since they can be done quickly at the gym or at home without any required equipment.

They both target specific groups of muscles such abdominals, back muscles, arm muscles, leg muscles and glutes.

There are definitely some similarities between the two exercises such as starting from a standing straight position with a straight back which is highly recommended to avoid injuries to lower back and being in a pushup position for a few seconds.

In a burpee, the benefits stem from the jumping part as it seems to be effective in burning fat since this provides a cardio workout while targeting stubborn fat deposits areas like the hips (i.e. Cellulite).

Although some fitness experts are sounding the alarm in regards to the risks of this exercise on the body, many individuals are still performing burpees as part of their exercise routine since it is a full-body move and can strength multiple muscle groups at once.

Woman doing a burpeeThere is unnecessary violent pressure put on the lower back especially when feet are landing between the hands while still grounded.

The recommended approach when performing a burpee is landing the feet outside of the hands. Not many individuals follow this rule though and they end up injured as a result.

Also, when abruptly dropping to a plank position, the wrists and the front part of the shoulders (the weakest area in the body) are undergoing a lot of stress especially during repetitions.

The risk of injury is higher if you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome for example.

The catwalk exercise is a low impact exercise which improves flexibility and allows certain muscles in the legs and arms to stretch.

This is a great exercise if you have wrist pain, back pain and leg pain.

The stretches are gentle and the gradual move to plank positioning is ideal especially if you suffer from the Syndrome of Carpal Tunnel (i.e. painful wrists).

Morale of the story
healthy body when performing a burpee or a catwalk

Any form of exercise is good for a strong and healthy body.

If you are looking for a variation and low impact exercise but want the same benefits of a burpee, you can give the catwalk exercise a try and see for yourself.

Always keep in mind that performing exercises the right way will ensure you are engaging the right group of muscles and avoiding serious injuries.

Note: It is recommended to seek guidance from a fitness expert or experienced coach for optimal results.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have questions, you can leave them in the comments below and I’ll be glad to respond.

Have a great day!

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  1. Hi, when it comes to getting a good work out in, it is all about getting the heart rate up. It is best to work out every part of out bodies regularly. Legs included, and burpes are a great way to get cardiovascular exercise combined with strength fitness.

    Good for toning up, stretching, warming up and getting a quick workout in through out the day.

    I like to do push-ups,sit ups, chin-ups, squats, and I also have a power twister, that is good a upper body workout.

    My only problem is that I am an ectomorph, and I have high metabolism. So  I have to eat all the time if I want to keep my muscle. My job also requires me to do lots of physical labor so I burn lots of calories that way unfortunately.

    Exercise is a very important habit for people to incorporate, even though it can be annoying for some people.

    Nice work.

    1. Hi Jake,

      Thank you for your comment. Exercise is indeed an important habit to include as part of a healthy lifestyle. You sound like you are an active individual. Good for you for taking care of your body and I think that having a high metabolism is a plus since you’re constantly burning calories. That being said, it must require a lot of planning to make sure you are getting enough food to keep up.

      I try to get some exercise into my daily routine whenever I get the chance to as I find it helps my energy levels throughout the day. Since I have 2 small kids, getting to the gym can be a challenge and so, I prioritize exercises that can be done at home. I love these 2 exercises since they fit in my routine.


  2. That is a great explanation of how to do the Burpee and the Catwalk exercise. I am going to try both of them and see after a week or so, which one or if both suit me. 

    I agree with you that some exercises suit different people, and I read something a while ago about the fact that your blood type reflects what type of exercise suits you, which seems a little far fetched but it was based on your heritage. I suppose that makes sense as some people are better at cardio and some are more endurance athletes. 

    I remember years ago when I was trying to get fit for a new career opportunity, I did push ups and sit ups during the advert times when watching TV. I might try that with your Burpee and Catwalk exercises, because I remember that I gained a lot of fitness in a short time and it was a good way to fit the exercise in, around my busy lifestyle. 

    Thanks for sharing and giving me an exercise idea. . All that is left now is to do it. 

    1. Hi Karen,

      Thank you for your comment. Please do try them both as every person is different. I found I struggled with the burpee the first time I tried as I had pain in my wrists due to carpal tunnel and so I did the catwalk just to lower the impact a bit and it has worked for me.

      I also try to work out as much as I can during the week while playing with my kids or watching TV and it does help with energy levels throughout the day.

      I look forward to hearing your experience with these two exercises.


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