Working out gets harder with age. High impact exercises that once were easier in youth can be more taxing than before. That being the case, you’re going to need to do exercise that are easy on your joints and ligaments. In this article I will recommend some low impact exercises with high benefits for the young and old alike.
Low-impact exercises are physical activities that help you get a heart-pumping work out without the threat of injury. Some trainers would define low-impact exercise as motions that keep one foot planted on the ground at all times.
It’s recommended that Seniors age 65 and older get 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise (such as cycling or elliptical workouts) every week. That would average out to about 30 minutes a day each week. Another alternative is 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercises each week.
Here are some low impact workouts with high benefits for young and old alike.
The cat-camel stretch is relatively easy, and I don't even need to stand up for it! It's one of my favorite low impact workouts. All you do is this:
Benefits include improvements in spinal mobility and overall stability. Being on all fours engages the arm and leg muscles, preventing muscle atrophy.
This exercise is an excellent way to improve balance and leg strength.
This excellent exercise promotes agility and balance.
This one is good for the thighs and glutes.
This exercise increases stability and strengthens the leg muscles. Here's how it works:
This exercise helps keep hamstrings from tightening, which also affects the lower back. Here's how:
Compared to a standard bicycle, a stationary recumbent bike reduces lower back stress. It's one of the best ways to improve cardiovascular health without aggravating balance issues.
If knee pain is a factor, then an upright stationary bike is better. I like to adjust the intensity of its resistance for an even more significant challenge, like biking uphill.
I love to swim; it's one of the best low impact exercises. Whether in the ocean, in a lake or a river, or a pool, swimming gives me improved cardiovascular health, stronger muscles, stronger bones, and increased range of motion.
Yoga is one of the most potent ways to get a workout without a significant impact on the joints. Yoga is a series of exercises that promote good mental, physical, and spiritual health. Different types include:
Walking gets the heart pumping and burns calories with less joint impact. I can do it while doing other things both around the house and outside. A daily 30-60 minute walk around the neighborhood provides plenty of health benefits.
One way I incorporate walking into my daily routine is by walking to buy groceries instead of driving my car and by only driving to places too far to walk to in a reasonable amount of time.
Pilates is one of the best workouts for senior citizens. Some people confuse it with yoga, but it's much differently despite also improving flexibility, breathing, core strength and the connection between the mind and the body, and all while minimizing joint impact.
These functions are especially essential to maintain with age because they have a direct effect on the quality of life. Popular pilates moves include:
For a cardio exercise that reduces joint stress, the elliptical machine is fantastic. It offers all the benefits of cardio with minimal collective impact. By going back and forth with your arms on the handles, it exercises the upper body as well as the lower body.
The art of Tai Chi is technically a form of martial arts. Don't expect to break through any boards, though; this is strictly about concentrating on slow, deliberate movements incorporating breathing exercises and meditation. Poses include:
Benefits of Tai Chi include reduced stress and improved strength and flexibility with minimal joint impact. I even use my cell phone to help; one of my favorites is Tai Chi Step By Step for the iPad, which guides me through it as I'm learning to master it.
This may be less familiar, but its results will impress you with regular exercise. Developed by a former US Navy seal, TRX stands for "total body resistance."
It isn't a single exercise but a series of activities; TRX offers many different workouts targeting the entire body with a strap suspension system that balances between gravity and your body weight to improve equilibrium, flexibility, and strength. It's also one of the best calorie-burning regimens.
TRX workouts can help burn up to 500 calories per session. These include:
The older I get, the more I care about joint health. But I still need to stay healthy. Low impact aerobics is an ideal way to maintain health as a senior citizen. But you don't have to be one to benefit; they still work at any age when done regularly.
Looking for other ways you can get a low impact workout from home? Take a look at my list of the best low impact exercise machines!