Joint-Friendly Workouts: 7 Low-Impact, but Effective Exercises for Seniors

Feb 21 2020 by

The average American gets only 17 minutes of exercise each day. That’s only around half of the daily recommended amount per week.

If you’re over the age of 65, you’re not exempt from this recommendation. Seniors who get plenty of exercise are more likely to live a longer, healthier life.

You don’t need to run five miles a day to get in a good workout. Get started with these seven entry-level, low impact exercises for seniors.

Low Impact Exercises for Seniors

Working out five days a week for 30 minutes is an easy way to get more energy and keep you in a positive mood. Low impact workouts are best because they are easy on your joints helping you avoid unnecessary injuries.

Here is a mix of indoor and outdoor exercises to help you get started.

1. Swimming

One of the easiest ways to get started exercises during the warmer months is to go swimming. Whether you’re a capable swimmer or not, the water provides an easy opportunity for movement.

Start with standing exercises using the water for resistance. Rotate your arms clockwise and counterclockwise 100 times each.

Use the side of the pool as support while you scissor-kick your legs for 60 seconds each. Get creative with how you move in the pool to maximize your workout.

Jumping twists work your core without being hard on your knees. If you are a good swimmer, warm-up each day with laps across the pool to get your heart rate up prior to your water aerobics.

2. Yoga

Yoga is a great workout no matter fitness ability. Choose a series of yoga poses that flow easily for you to prevent injury.

The benefits of yoga are increased flexibility, strength, and balance. Improve your posture through seated breathing exercises that help you deepen each stretch.

One of the main reasons seniors should practice yoga is for its mental health benefits. Seniors commonly fall victim to depression as they age.

But depression is not a normal part of the aging process. Choosing exercises that help still your mind and remove anxiety, like yoga, help keep depression at bay.

There are more than 100 different kinds of yoga that work all the muscle groups in your body. Explore asana, or postures, to see which leave you feeling most relaxed at the end of the workout.

3. Elliptical

Thirty minutes on the elliptical machine gets your heart rate pumping while being easy on your knees. An elliptical machine is a good option for highly mobile seniors who want an alternative to the treadmill.

Using the elliptical machine regularly will improve your endurance by working your upper and lower body at the same time. Just five minutes on the elliptical machine each day can help lower high blood pressure.

Ellipticals move forward and backward to help you tone both your hamstrings and glutes. Choose from a variety of preset workouts or choose to move on a manual course if you are a beginner.

4. Hiking

A brisk hike can help you ease stress while taking in the beautiful scenery. This exercise is gentle on your back and great for overall body conditioning.

Change the pace of your hike if you begin feeling winded too soon. A supportive pair of hiking boots help prevent injuries to your ankles when walking across rocky terrain.

One of the best benefits of hiking for seniors is increased bone density. Walking also helps build the muscles in your hips, hamstrings, and quadriceps.

Most people measure a hike by distance and steps. Wearing a fitness tracker can help you gauge how many calories you burn during each workout.

Track your improvement over time giving yourself rewards as you increase the distance and intensity of your workout.

5. Ballroom Dancing

Ballroom dancing is a fun cardio workout that’s sure to keep you from getting bored. Dances like the Waltz and the Foxtrot get your heart rate moving while improving your posture.

Other benefits of ballroom dance include stronger core and pelvic muscles. Dance classes are more likely to be hour-long instead of thirty minutes which allows you to get your recommended workout hours faster.

6. Cycling

Low impact exercises for seniors should always include cycling. Cycling is another exercise that offers stress relief while conditioning the body.

Cycling is good for seniors because it increases joint mobility without putting a strain on your legs. Your body weight is balanced on your pelvis instead of your legs when you ride a bike.

The downstroke of pedaling builds muscles in your quadriceps, glutes, and calves. Cycling builds your abdominal muscles as you balance your body weight while riding.

If you are a beginner, stick to bike trails before venturing on the street. Bike trails provide a scenic path that helps boost your mood while you ride.

Don’t use the clips that keep your feet on the pedals while you ride. If you fall, having your foot stuck to the bike pedal can worsen an injury.

7. Strength Training

Lifting weights helps to build muscle as we age. Daily weight training improves and tones muscles including strength in the joints.

Weight training prevents joint injuries. This is great news for seniors because surgery becomes more risky with age.

Strength training is easy to do from home since you can use soup cans in place of weights if you don’t have the right equipment. The key is to focus on the muscles you want to work as you lift.

Finding Your Fit

Exploring the best low impact exercises for seniors is easy if you have a gym membership. You can sample the equipment to find the right fit.

Finding your favorite workout outside of a fitness gym might take time. Look at your test workouts at home or in the park as a part of your fitness journey.

The long term health benefits of all low impact workouts will help delay or prevent diseases as you age. For more information and fitness advice, visit our blog for updates.

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