Exercise is good for our bodies, great for our dispositions and a necessary component of a healthy lifestyle. But sometimes, exercise can hurt more than it helps. Participating regularly in high-impact exercises like running, aerobics and contact sports can hurt your joints and potentially cause injury. The good news is that there are several low-impact exercises that still get the heart pumping and increase mobility, stamina, flexibility and the ability to withstand falls. While low-impact exercises are particularly beneficial for the elderly and people who struggle with arthritis, joint issues or being overweight, anyone can reap the health benefits of these activities.
Whether you're already active or just starting to exercise, it's good idea to start slow, move gently and don't overdo it. The important thing is that you're doing something that's good for your physical and mental health, so don't be hard on yourself if you find these activities to be challenging or feel exhausted when you're done. Take extra care of your body by applying heat to your joints or sore spots for about twenty minutes before exercising, and ice them when you're done.
Here are some gentle activities that will help you keep your heart—and your joints—happy:
1. Brisk walking
You don't need to partake in high-impact activities like running to lower your risk for heart disease. High-intensity, low-impact aerobic exercises like brisk walking are just as effective in improving cardiovascular health. Step it up in your neighborhood or local park, starting with a 10-minute walk and working your way up to longer walks. Once you've done that, implement intervals by increasing your speed in spurts and hitting the hills.
Swimming is one of the few no-impact exercises that works nearly every muscle group in your body. It’s one of the best ways to strengthen the muscles around your joints and to increase your range of motion. Start out by doing simple freestyle laps, and when that gets easier, try out different speeds and strokes. You can even join a water aerobics class at your gym. Remember: never swim alone, and don't swim right after a big meal.
The benefits of cycling are twofold: not only does it increase your physical strength, but it also increases your mental dexterity. This is a particularly effective exercise for the elderly, because it increases leg strength, which is necessary for two very important activities in old age: getting in and out of chairs and climbing stairs. It also increases hip mobility, another benefit for the elderly. Extra bonuses include increased lung capacity and balance.
Develop strength, balance and flexibility through the practice of yoga. Whether you join a class, follow along with a DVD or practice a few simple movements on your own, yoga is a great way to tone your muscles, improve your mood and increase your mental wellbeing through breathing and posture exercises.
If you have more questions about what exercise regimen is best for you, consult your physician.
Posted: 6/18/2015 by
Filed under: exercise, Fitness and Exercise, health, impact, joint, joints, low