• Low-Impact Exercises for Seniors

  • by Lauren Russell

We all know that exercise is good for our physical and emotional health, but with the bad joints, achy muscles, and delicate bone problems that seem to progress as we get older, it can be hard to get ourselves moving. Luckily, there are a number of low-impact exercises to do with minimum risk of injury.

Low-impact exercise helps you burn calories and tone up without putting pressure on your joints. While the impact is different, the intensity to which you do each exercise should still be moderate. Just because you aren’t running or jumping with these workouts, doesn’t mean you’ll be sitting back and relaxing. While there are many low-impact exercises out there, we’ve listed just a few of our favorites that give you a moderate-intensity workout without sacrificing your joints.

Yoga: Experiencing a huge surge in popularity in recent years, yoga leads students through a variety of poses and breathing exercises that improve balance, enhance flexibility, and build muscles. Many yoga classes are open to all levels and allow you to challenge yourself by going as deep into the position as you feel comfortable.

Qi Gong: Much like yoga, Qi Gong involves various postures and breathing exercises and can even be performed lying down. This exercise is a moving meditation that may include slow, fluid movements, holding postures, or breath awareness. While Qi Gong can be calming, it can also improve balance and encourage mobility.

Water Aerobics: Water aerobics is done in the water, where you are virtually weightless, so your joints are given an even bigger break. The water also keeps you cool during your session and adds resistance to tone your body even more. The bonus to water aerobics is that it is usually done in a class setting, so you’ll meet a ton of people as well.

Swimming Laps: Just like in water aerobics, you are virtually weightless and have the natural resistance of the water to help you get a low-impact, moderate-intensity workout. This may get your heart pumping a little more than water aerobics and may splash some water in your face. If you don’t want to get your hair wet, grab a kickboard or pool noodle and just kick your legs instead.

Zumba: Self- dubbed as “the perfect combo of fun and fitness,” Zumba is a social fitness class that helps you burn calories with easy-to-follow dance moves. Zumba instructors mix a variety of styles into each dance including hip hop, salsa, flamenco, and tango.

Cycling: When you stay seated in your bicycle seat, cycling is a great workout with little to no weight bearing. You can also do this exercise throughout the year as it is an indoor and outdoor workout. You can even get things done while working out by riding your bike to the grocery store or to visit a close friend. When riding a bike that isn’t stationary, always make sure to wear a helmet.

Chair Workouts: Chair workouts allow you to exercise while staying seated. All you need is a sturdy chair. There are a number of workouts you can do on a chair, from lifting free hand weights to even performing a sit up. There are a variety of routines you can do. Find a workout that best suits you online. The workout you choose should work with your ability and health restrictions.

Like any workout, it is important that you consult your doctor before trying any of these exercises. Always make sure you are drinking water before, after, and during your exercise.