Best Low-Impact Exercises for Seniors
Regardless of your age or your fitness level, you can find a low-impact exercise that works for you. Low-impact workouts are great for all kinds of folks because the movements won't put too much force on your joints and will also allow at least one of your feet to remain on the ground for balance. Most of all, low-impact exercise makes physical activities convenient for seniors. Inactivity and aging put seniors at a larger risk for chronic disease, such as stroke, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. So if you want to remain fit and healthy at any age, then you can try any (or all) of these exercises.
The great thing about walking is that it doesn’t require fancy equipment or gym memberships! Walk safely in the comforts of your own home by walking around your yard or on a treadmill. Protect your feet by wearing good shoes with cushioning and heel support. While walking, it is important to be mindful of your posture by keeping your back straight. Most of all, don’t forget to stretch before and after to protect yourself from injuries.
Exercise is definitely more fun when you’re sweating it out to music! Dancing is a great low-impact exercise for music lovers or for those who simply want to move to their favorite song. This low-impact exercise also develops your coordination and flexibility while improving your body’s blood circulation. There are also a lot of dances that you could choose from. Those who like country music or '70s tracks can try line dancing, which is a fun and great exercise that involves a series of simple, repeating steps. You can also do dance fitness exercises or seated dancing, both of which are very doable at home!
Tai chi originated as a martial art in China, but it’s definitely not a strenuous exercise. This workout is usually called meditation in motion because your muscles, connective tissues, and joints won’t be overexerted with its breathing and physical exercises. In tai chi, you will move slowly as you form different poses derived from animal actions. The whole practice also includes a warm-up, different tai chi forms, and breathing exercises called qigong. Tai chi is often taught through group classes in gyms or parks, but there are also tutorials on YouTube.
Rooted in ancient Indian philosophy, yoga is a discipline that involves the mind and the body. The benefits of a yoga practice are numerous: it’s good for building strength and flexibility, relieving pain, and even boosting sleep. Yoga has evolved into many forms through the years, so there are many practices that you can choose from, from the traditional ashtanga yoga to the adventurous aerial yoga. Yin yoga is the best for seniors, since it is slow-paced and meditative. It is a type of yoga wherein practitioners deepen and stretch into poses for a long time, which helps in targeting deep connective tissues and releasing tension in joints. If you want an easy everyday routine, you can also roll out your yoga mat and try a sun salutation every morning.
Chair exercises are great for seniors who have injuries or limited mobility. They're also doable anytime and anywhere. You can exercise your arms by doing arm circles in forward and backward motions. For your core, you can do a tummy twist by holding a ball a few inches away from your lap as you slowly twist from your left to your right and vice versa. Chair squats are great for your hamstrings and can be done by sitting on the edge of your seat before slowly standing up and then slowly sitting down.
Article specially written for brooklettsplace.org
Written by Alexis Leonard