Exercise is beneficial as you grow older, helping you move and take care of yourself. You don’t need to run sprints to get a good workout though. Many low-impact exercises can help you stay active without adding stress to your body.
Continue reading to learn more about low-impact exercises, including 5 exercises that are beneficial for older adults.
What Is Low-Impact Exercise?
Low-impact exercises have little to no impact on your joints. Many exercises involve jumping, slamming, or other high-intensity movements. While these exercises are effective and beneficial, there is a risk of injury.
There is little to no risk involved with low-impact exercises. One or both of your feet are always touching the ground during standing exercises, and there’s no impact on your joints if you’re completing a seated exercise.
You don’t need to be doing high-intensity exercises to guarantee a great workout. Low-impact exercises can help you get your heart pumping while lowering your risk of an injury.
The Benefits of Low Impact Exercise
Low-impact exercises have many benefits. They can raise your heart rate, strengthen your muscles, improve mobility, and protect your joints and tendons. These exercises are easier to begin and good for group settings because of their low impact, making them ideal for senior living communities.
Low-impact exercises are great if you’re looking for beneficial exercises that won’t leave you feeling overly sore or tired the next day. The benefits of these exercises include:
- Improved balance & mobility
- Less recovery time needed after exercise
- Lower risk of injury to your joints & tendons
5 Low-Impact Exercises for Older Adults
Low-impact exercises are ideal for older adults because they aren’t too strenuous. Recovering from exercise requires more time as you age, and a high-intensity workout may leave you feeling sore and tired for multiple days. Low-impact exercises require less recovery time and aren’t as stressful on your joints and tendons, allowing you to exercise daily.
If you’re interested in low-impact exercises, consider trying out the following 5 exercises:
All you need to begin walking is a good pair of shoes and somewhere to go. People assume walking is just something we do every day, but it’s an effective low-impact exercise. It can help you maintain a healthy weight, increase your energy levels and mood, strengthen your muscles, and reduce stress.
Walking is a great low-impact exercise for older adults because it’s easy to do, and you can do it wherever you are. You can walk indoors, outdoors, on a treadmill, or through the mall if you’d like. All you need to do is take your first step, but it’s a good idea to ensure you’re taking care of your body.
Stretch before you begin your workout, wear comfortable running shoes, and exercise at a good pace. You don’t need to start off walking miles at a time—set realistic expectations and try to walk every day.
Swimming is a beneficial exercise for everyone, especially older adults. You can work out your entire body with little to no stress on your bones and joints. You can stretch and strengthen your muscles at the same time while swimming, specifically your back, arms, legs, and shoulders.
You can notice your improvement as you continue to swim. You can try different strokes to mix up your workout routine and attempt more challenging movements.
Some of the benefits of swimming include:
- Builds cardiovascular strength
- Easy on your joints & tendons
- Improves mood
- Improves sleep
- Regulates your blood sugar
- Works out the whole body
Cycling can seem like a high-intensity, challenging activity, but it has a low impact on your joints. Your bike pedals absorb shock while you move, helping you exercise without adding unnecessary stress to your joints and tendons. You can bike inside or outside, but indoor cycling can help you exercise without worrying about traffic and pedestrians.
While not as accessible as walking, gyms typically have many stationary bikes you can use. These bikes are adjustable, letting you choose how much resistance you want for a more challenging workout.
Besides being a fun activity, cycling has many benefits for older adults. You can lower your risk of diseases like diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer, and heart disease while helping treat arthritis and improving your mood.
Yoga can help you improve your endurance, strength, and balance while stretching your muscles. You don’t need to move into impossible poses to do yoga—many beginner and alternative poses exist that are just as effective.
Many gyms and senior living communities offer beginner classes where you can learn the ropes on how to practice yoga properly.
Tai chi is perfect if you’re looking to try something new. Based on martial arts, tai chi involves using slow movements and your breath to guide yourself through different moves. It has many benefits for older adults, including:
- Eased arthritis pain
- Improved cognition
- Increased body awareness
- Reduced risk & fear of falling
You can find different classes or online videos if you’re interested in tai chi.
Begin Your Fitness Journey
Low-impact exercises are easy to begin if you’re interested in improving your health or trying something new. If you’re looking for help getting started, many senior living communities offer in-person classes or support with exercise.
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