As you age, low impact exercise becomes a better alternative. Extra weight, injuries and chronic conditions tend to become bigger problems with age. Choosing low impact fitness activities will exercise your muscles and your heart, keeping you both fit and safe at the same time.
Definition of Low Impact Exercise
Low impact exercise generally refers to activity that does not heavily impact or place excessive pressure on your body. As you age, your body becomes less flexible and your muscles are more prone to injury. Choosing low impact activities will help to protect you against injury and allow you to get a good workout at the same time.
Examples of Low Impact Exercise
Good examples of low impact exercise include speed walking, hiking, cycling, swimming and low impact aerobics. The goal with each of these activities is to increase your heart rate and give your muscles a workout without putting your body under unnecessary strain.
With these activities, you will avoid excessive bouncing, jumping or hopping. You will generally have one leg on the ground at all times. Or, in the case of swimming and cycling, you will not have to deal with the bodily wear and tear that results from making heavy impact with land.
Reasons to Increase Low Impact Exercise
One of the reasons to switch to low impact exercise is if you have gained a lot of weight in recent years. It becomes harder to exercise with greater weight. The risks for injury also increase if you have not been exercising in some time. Activities such as speed walking and cycling are great forms of low impact exercises because you can move at a manageable pace without risking injury.
Another reason for choosing low impact exercise is if you have a history of injuries. A bad back or a runner’s knee may make it difficult to run or do high impact aerobics. Swimming, however, is an example of a fitness activity that can be both therapeutic for your muscles and joints and give you a good workout.
As you age, there may be health issues, such as arthritis, asthma or other heart problems, that prevent you from overexerting yourself. In these cases, choosing activities that do not aggravate your condition are key. For asthma sufferers, swimming is a healthy option. If you have a heart condition, speed walking, hiking at your own pace or cycling are all good options. For arthritis sufferers, swimming, walking or any activity that is both mild and still keeps you moving is helpful.
Aging doesn’t mean that exercise has to stop. Choosing low impact exercise will ensure that your body maintains its strength and flexibility. You will also benefit from good heart health if you start and sustain a low impact exercise program. The key, if you haven’t been exercising, is to start small and build up a little bit at a time. With low impact exercise, you can push yourself just enough to get your heart rate up, without creating any problems for your muscles or joints.