Whether you’re recovering from an injury or surgery, you have aching muscles and joints, or you just don’t want the harsh impact of an aggressive workout, you can still get your blood pumping in your golden years with low-impact exercises.
The best exercises for seniors should focus on overall wellness. As you age, your risk of developing certain health problems and impairments increases. Choosing workouts that promote strength, cardiovascular fitness, and mental health and wellness will help to keep you in top shape from the inside out.
It’s important to stay active as you get older, but it’s equally important to find the right type(s) of exercise for your individual needs. Let’s look at some of the best low-impact workouts you can do regularly to stay strong, fight back against health issues, and reduce stress.
Easing Muscle and Joint Pain
It’s not uncommon for older individuals to experience joint pain and muscle aches. It can be a result of the aging process, or from years of wear and tear. Ironically enough, people who lead active lives, like runners, can find they suffer from joint problems later in life due to the high impact of their workouts.
If you still want to stay active and fit while reducing the impact on your joints and strengthening your muscles, try more fluid exercises. One of the best low-impact ways to stay fit and have fun at the same time is by swimming. Whether you’ve got weak knees, a bad back, you’re recovering from surgery, or you just need a relaxing way to work out, swimming can improve your ease of motion, boost your aerobic fitness, and improve your balance. Swimming also serves as a full-body workout, offering natural resistance training in the water.
Light walking, hiking, strength training, and even Tai Chi are also great low-impact options that will go easy on your joints while improving muscle strength. Biking is also a great solution for some people. If you aren’t able to take your bike out on a trail, products like the Silver Vein Exercise Peddler can stimulate and tone your arm and leg muscles from almost anywhere.
The stronger your bones and muscles are as you age, the less susceptible you’ll be to things like falling and brittle bones. You don’t have to further damage your joints or feel any pain in order to get a good workout in.
Reducing Stress and Improving Mental Health
Exercise can do more for you than just boost your physical fitness. It’s also a great way to reduce stress and improve your overall mental well-being.
Any type of exercise can be a natural mood booster. Exercise helps to release hormones in your brain that make you feel happy. Have you ever heard of a “runner’s high?” Good news: you don’t necessarily need to be a runner to feel that same sense of euphoria! Even light activity can leave you feeling great and motivated to get moving every day. You can capitalize on that feeling by exercising outside. Nature has inherent calming benefits and can help you feel more energized.
Staying active is a natural form of preventative healthcare. Preventative care can reduce your risk of getting sick or developing certain conditions. Activities like yoga, hiking, or walking outside on a nature trail can also get your body moving while reducing stress and anxiety, too. Studies have shown that exercising as little as 10 minutes a day can also help to improve your memory, which is important as you age. Dementia and Alzheimer’s impact millions of people every year, but general memory loss is often part of the aging process. Keeping your memory as sharp as possible can reduce your stress levels and help you to make better, clearer decisions for your life.
Can Low-Impact Exercise Help With Medical Issues?
Low-impact exercise can be extremely beneficial when it comes to preventing some common health issues seniors face. It can help to lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
But even if you already struggle with certain health issues, you can use light exercising to your benefit. Gentle aerobic exercise can help with respiratory issues like asthma, so you may find that you need to use an inhaler less often. Strength training and conditioning can help with arthritis. Swimming, walking, cycling, and light weight lifting can even help to manage the painful symptoms of varicose veins.
Remember, there isn’t an age limit on exercising. It’s meant for everyone, and it has amazing benefits at any age. Getting started is often the hardest part, so do whatever it takes to motivate yourself. Even if you’re not able to move like you used to, don’t be discouraged and don’t be afraid to use assistance, like a walking aid, if you need it. You can still find low-impact exercises that work for you, so you remain strong and healthy (inside and out!) well into your golden years.