As our bodies age, exercise can become harder on stiff joints and painful for old injuries. Because of this, you may be wondering what exercises are best for aging adults. You may no longer want to turn to the high-impact exercise routines you once took part in. Those may have worked in your 20s and 30s, but it’s time to be kinder to your body.
Low-impact exercises can be used for calorie-burning, muscle-building workouts that will help you stay strong, fit and healthy and your joints will thank you for it.
Remember, a good pair of shoes designed for exercise is important. Not only will they make the process of exercising more comfortable, but they can prevent injuries.
Stretching is also important. Stretching before and after a workout will help prevent injuries and reduce the soreness that can accompany a good workout. Stretching itself is a great part of every fitness program.
Now that you know things to consider when exploring low impact exercise, let’s dive deeper into some activities you can enjoy.
You may have heard walking is a great form of exercise, and with good reason. Aside from a good pair of walking shoes, no other equipment is needed, which makes it easy to get started. Best of all, once you start a walking routine you may experience several positive changes in your physical and mental well-being.
This simple exercise has so many benefits. A brisk walk, ideally 30 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week, can help you:
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Improve your mood
• Strengthen your muscles and bones
• Manage or prevent health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes
According to studies at Harvard, walking also:
• Counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes
• Can tame a sweet tooth
• Reduces the risk of developing breast cancer
• Eases joint pain
• Boosts immune function
It has some other surprising benefits as well. It can help prevent constipation and other digestive disorders.
Remember, the faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the more benefits you’ll reap. If you want to add more difficulty to your walking routine you can add hand and ankle weights However, it’s important to use caution when walking with weights and ensure you’re using proper form to avoid injury.
No matter how you choose to customize your walking routine, it’s a pleasant way to stay active. Need help getting started? Check out Silver Sneakers 31-day walking workout.
Swimming and water aerobics are both fun, low-impact workouts that are great for your heart and excellent for increasing range of motion. Water sports improve cardiovascular health and energy. They also support aching or arthritic joints while also providing resistance to strengthen your muscles and bones.
Because you use nearly all your muscles while swimming, this easy exercise provides a complete body workout. Other benefits of swimming and water aerobics include:
• Keeping your heart rate up while taking some of the stress off your body
• Toning muscles and builds strength
• Improving flexibility, coordination, balance and posture
• Helping you to maintain a healthy weight
• Working out your heart and lungs
• Alleviating stress, depression and anxiety
Swimming has some surprising benefits as well. It can:
With any exercise program, don’t forget to stay hydrated! When you’re in the water it may not be as obvious when you’re thirsty (and becoming dehydrated), so drink plenty of water before diving in.
Tai chi, often described as “meditation in motion,” is a traditional Chinese practice that involves both physical and mental exercise. It’s an effective and gentle form of exercise that improves balance, flexibility, strength and range of motion.
According to Peter M. Wayne, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Tai Chi and Mind-Body Research Program at Harvard Medical School’s Osher Research Center, “A growing body of carefully conducted research is building a compelling case for tai chi as an adjunct to standard medical treatment for the prevention and rehabilitation of many conditions commonly associated with age.”
Tai chi offers many of the same health benefits as yoga. It’s adaptable and safe for all ages and stages of health. It’s particularly beneficial for older adults because it reduces joint stiffness and improves balance and flexibility.
Tai chi can also help:
Whatever exercise option you choose, the most important thing is to get out and do it. These three options offer great mental and physical health benefits and will help you to strengthen and protect your body.
Exercise is important, especially for older adults. It helps to lubricate the joints and assists in keeping the heart and lungs healthy and functioning. It’s a component of our Salus™ wellness philosophy here at Aspire at Carriage Hill and we’ve made it an integral part of our amenities and services.
If you have any questions, please contact us. We’d love to chat with you and give you a tour of our retirement community in Richmond, VA.