Top 4 Low-Impact Exercises for Older Adults
Many seniors shy away from exercise because of physical limitations, but did you know that low-impact exercise is an excellent way to benefit your health? Low-impact refers to activities or movements that are gentle on the joints, as both feet (or at least one foot) remain on the floor at all times. Low-impact exercises are a fantastic way to improve your fitness.
What kinds of activities are low-impact, and how can you benefit from them? Let’s take a look.
4 Benefits of Low-impact Exercise for Older Adults
Here are 4 ways older adults can benefit from this type of exercise.
Reduced Injury Risk
Lots of older adults are concerned about getting injured or aggravating an existing injury. Low-impact activities are attractive because they are generally low-risk, and they also help reduce the probability of injury when performed regularly.
The physical limitations that come with age lead to a more sedentary lifestyle, causing weight gain that may create health problems. Regularly engaging in low-impact exercise (along with some dietary adjustments) is an excellent way to shed excess weight.
Reduced Joint Damage Risk
Older adults often suffer from joint problems. Low-impact activities help strengthen joints, tendons, and muscles and ward off this common ailment.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
With age comes an increased risk for cardiovascular problems. But when done regularly, low-impact exercises are effective at improving aerobic fitness–and they’re just as beneficial to heart health as high-impact activities.
The Best Activities to Try
Now that you know some benefits, let’s talk about the best low-impact activities for older adults.
Our first activity is not just low-impact–it’s no impact! The water buoyancy counteracts the effects of gravity, making it ideal for anyone with back or joint pain. The benefits of swimming are many, like strengthening the shoulders and increasing lung capacity. There are also plenty of options, such as water aerobics, lap swimming, or walking on underwater treadmills.
Yoga is perhaps one of the most effective low-impact exercises. The practice consists of a series of postures and breathing exercises that develop flexibility, balance, and strength. Yoga also strengthens the core muscles to keep you stable and coordinated. There are even classes specifically for older adults.
Walking is a simple endurance exercise that’s easy to add to your routine. There are plenty of reasons to walk: it’s easy on the joints, requires little planning, and gets your blood flowing. It can also be done both indoors (on a treadmill) and outdoors.
As we age, we lose muscle mass, and loss of muscle strength makes performing everyday movements (like kneeling) more challenging. Weight training with light weights and resistance bands can help increase muscle mass–and it can be done from home.
Try Personal Training or Virtual Coaching
Want to give low-impact training a try but not sure where to start? A personal trainer can give you the guidance you need. Or, if you prefer to workout at home, virtual coaching is another excellent way to meet your fitness goals.