Exercise is important for good health for everyone, including seniors.
However, low impact exercise is recommended for seniors because it is less hard on the body and joints.
So, what exactly is low impact fitness and what are the benefits?
Low impact exercises involve movements where one foot remains on the ground at all times such as walking, low impact aerobics, and step aerobics routines that don’t involve jumping.
It’s a better choice if you have joint problems such as arthritis, or are significantly overweight.
Low impact exercise is much gentler to the muscles and joints, particularly for a beginner
Decreasing the potential injury to your joints is probably one of the most important reasons for seniors to participate in low impact fitness activities.
Often seniors are interested in losing weight, increasing their fitness level or becoming more active, but sore knees or hips will prevent them from participating in exercises like walking or jogging.
Low impact activities allow you to get the same benefits of more traditional forms of exercise without experiencing damage to these joints.
Research has found that low impact fitness activities may actually promote the healing and recovery of damaged joints, thereby allowing you to return to higher impact activities in a timely manner
Another benefit of low impact fitness is the ability to improve your cardiovascular system as participating in low impact fitness activities are the best way to treat and prevent the development of cardiovascular disease.
Always consult with your doctor if you have received a prior diagnosis of heart disease and are interested in starting a fitness routine.
Finally, participating in low impact fitness activities is a great way to lose weight.
One pound is composed of 3,500 calories; therefore, in order to lose one pound per week, you must eliminate 500 calories from your day.
While many people often diet in order to cut calories, exercise can help to burn some of these calories, requiring fewer caloric restrictions.
Low impact workouts typically burn fewer calories than high impact exercise s like running, but you can increase the calorie burn by exaggerating arms movements, by doing the movements faster, and by adding brief intervals of more intense exercises.
Low impact exercises fall into four categories—endurance, strength, flexibility and balance.
Incorporating all four types of exercise into your routine helps reduce the risk of injury and keeps you from getting bored.
For a balanced exercise routine, try combining endurance exercises like swimming or water aerobics with exercises that focus on the other categories.
You can build strength through light weight training and flexibility and balance through yoga.
Water workouts are an excellent form of exercise for those who are overweight, suffering from lower back pain, arthritis and/or injuries to the lower extremities.
Joints are less susceptible to injury due to the buoyancy of the water and the low impacts is ideal for those who have pain when doing most land-based exercises.
For these reasons, aquatic exercise is a common tool used in physical therapy and other rehabilitation settings.
It also helps to improve strength and mobility in patients recovering from surgeries and those suffering from painful and/or chronic musculoskeletal conditions
I instruct many low impact group fitness fitness classes suitable for seniors in the gym, on land and in the pool.
Please feel free to contact me for more information on all available programs or check out my website at www.pursuitfitness.ca or 250-317-3508
Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.
Bobbi Kittle is a personal trainer and fitness instructor in Kelowna who specializes in working with seniors.