It’s recommended that to stay as physically healthy as possible, we need to get at least 150 minutes of exercise that elevates our heart rate every week. For seniors, or even those who are new to exercise, low impact workouts can be extremely beneficial to your health. Throughout a low impact workout, at least one foot remains on the floor at any given time, and these types of exercises are typically easier on the body. They’re a great way to get the blood flowing while reducing the risk of an injury.
The Benefits of a Low Impact Workout
If you’re just starting out with a new exercise program in an attempt to hit some of your New Year’s resolutions, a low impact workout is perfect for beginners. Low impact exercises are especially beneficial to those who suffer from problems or pain in their bones, joints or connective tissues, as they are not as hard on the body. However, while a low impact workout can be performed by those of all activity levels, those who are in better shape physically may find it a bit more difficult to reach their target heart zone (which is around 60 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate).
Low impact exercises for seniors are especially helpful, as many seniors suffer from chronic conditions like osteoarthritis or osteoporosis that cause the pain in the bones and joints mentioned above. Plus, research shows that low impact activities actually can be just as effective as high-impact workouts like aerobics or running at lowering the risk of heart disease. Some low impact workouts can even assist in the healing and recovery of damaged joints.
A Few of the Best Low Impact Exercises
The term “low impact” should not be confused with “low intensity”. The goal is still to reach your target heart rate to get the maximum benefits out of your workout. As you begin to implement your workout goals, it’s important to choose exercises that you enjoy. This way, you may find you’re actually looking forward to your daily workout and will better stick to your routine.
Some great low impact exercises for seniors include:
Swimming is also known as a “no-impact” workout, because the buoyancy of the water counteracts gravity. For those with back pain or joint pain, swimming or even water aerobics provides a great way to tone up and slim down.
Walking is an aerobic exercise that is gentle on the back and good for overall body conditioning. Lace up a good, supportive pair of walking shoes and hit the track for at least two to three miles to receive the most benefit.
Yoga for seniors aids in flexibility, strength and balance and improves your core muscles, which are vital in stability and coordination. It involves a series of postures and breathing exercises that are sure to improve not only your physical fitness, but can also boost your mood.
For seniors with mobility issues, sitting or chair exercises are a great low impact workout that can build muscle, increase blood circulation and keep the joints lubricated and moving easier.
Using weights, resistance bands or even large soup cans or water bottles during a workout presents a low impact way to increase your overall strength.