Stay fit, strong, and healthy through low-stress workouts
Exercise is essential to your personal health, no matter your age. Seniors are no exception, but as you get older, high-impact exercises may not be what your body needs. Your bone density and joint support will both wane with age, and millions of Americans are afflicted with some form of arthritis. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid exercise altogether. Instead, shift to low-impact exercises that are just as effective but maybe not as physically demanding.
The four different types of low-impact exercises — endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance — combine to offer a well-rounded exercise routine with a number of health benefits.
Stretch and strengthen your muscles
Resistance exercises are excellent for strengthening your muscles and bones. If you belong to a fitness center, you can typically use their resistance machines. Otherwise, hand or ankle weights or resistance bands and tubes can be used at home for the same effect.
Swimming is a good example of a low-impact workout that strengthens your muscles and bones. Water aerobics are also good for your heart and increasing your range of motion.
Gentle stretching exercises will improve your flexibility and range of motion.
Whenever you exercise, your body releases endorphins that fight stress. Yoga for beginners is an ideal low-impact exercise for stress-relief, as it helps build your body’s natural relaxation response. A regular yoga practice can also improve your bone density.
Tai chi is a meditative exercise that works to improve your balance, strength, and flexibility, while focusing on using your breathing to improve concentration and reduce stress.
Dancing, bouncing on an exercise ball, and water aerobics are all exercises that will help improve your mobility and balance, reducing the risk of falling. Yoga is also a low-impact workout that will help strengthen your core, improve your balance, and build muscular endurance — all of which will help reduce the likelihood of serious injury from falls.
Help lower your blood pressure
Even if your days of bicycling around the neighborhood are behind you, there are indoor cycling classes specifically for seniors that can help improve heart health and lower your blood pressure. This aerobic activity will also strengthen your hip and leg muscles.
Please be sure to consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program.