According to the CDC, seniors should get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. However, you may not be interested in pumping iron at the gym or running on a treadmill. Don’t worry! There are tons of low-impact exercises for seniors that can help you meet your fitness goals in a fun and safe way.
Low-Impact Exercises for Seniors
What Is a Low-Impact Exercise?
If you’ve been researching exercise routines, you may have run across the terms “low-impact” and “high-impact.” These terms can be misleading! Many people assume that a low-impact workout means that it will have a lower impact on your body, and therefore be less effective. This could not be further from the truth! “Impact,” in this case, refers to the exercise’s impact on your joints. Low-impact exercises will have less effect on your joints, and leave you less likely to incur a serious injury. High-impact exercises have more of an impact on your joints, and can make a subsequent injury more likely. As you may have guessed, low-impact exercises are often the smart bet for seniors, especially those with joint issues or other conditions that could be aggravated by intense physical activity.
What Are Some Low-Impact Exercises I Can Try?
An easy way to identify a low-impact exercise is to see whether it allows you to keep one foot on the ground at all times. If an exercise involves lots of jumping or other moves that keep you in the air, odds are good it will have a significant impact on your joints. The following are effective low-impact exercises for seniors:
Walking is perhaps the most underrated form of exercise. It’s such a common movement that we often don’t think twice about it! However, a fast-paced walk moves your body and gets your blood pumping as easily as any other aerobic exercise, and it has the added benefit of minimally impacting your joints. Just make sure your pace is slightly faster than usual, and aim for 30 minutes at a time.
Swimming is a classic low-impact activity. While you technically don’t have your feet on the ground, the zero-gravity effect of being immersed in water will cushion your joints from the impact of your movements. Why not go to a local gym or beach and do some lap swimming? If you really want to break a sweat, many gyms also offer aquatic aerobics. In these classes, you get to do all the classic aerobics moves without risking your joint health. They’re fast paced and fun!
If you’re trying to keep off your feet, you can actually accomplish a low-impact workout while sitting down! Regardless of your level of mobility or fitness, chair exercises can help you work up a sweat. As an added benefit, chair exercises have zero fall risk, and you can do them virtually anywhere. Arm exercises like bicep curls or core exercises like tummy twists can help you build strength, and quicker moves like toe taps can give you an aerobic workout.
Most people think of yoga as a way to relax, but don’t underestimate its ability to provide a solid workout. In yoga, you hold your body in various poses that allow you to tense and strengthen your muscles. Don’t be fooled by the lack of movement! The longer your muscles are under tension, the stronger they get. Plus, there are over 100 kinds of yoga for you to try. Try doing yoga outside for an extra shot of vitamin D.
No matter what kind of low-impact exercise you try, the most important thing is that you create a routine that works for you. Think of that 150 minutes as a goal, and find the exercises that will help you reach it every week. With a little persistence, low-impact exercises for seniors will keep you happy and healthy for years to come!
Are you planning to retire in Greenville, South Carolina? Be sure to check out The Gables on Pelham, a continuing care retirement community that welcomes seniors from all walks of life. We offer flexible and personalized care, including assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation. You’ll love our cozy accommodations, fun-filled events calendar, and welcoming community atmosphere. To learn more, please schedule a tour or give us a call at 864-713-1377.