The old saying “No pain, no gain” implied that in order to be effective, a workout needed to be painful. However, times have changed and professionals now understand the benefit of low-impact, non-concussive exercises that are easier on the joints than pursuits such as running. This is especially important for people suffering from arthritis or other joint issues.
Here are five low-impact forms of exercise. As always, make sure to check with your doctor before trying any new physical activity; your doctor can help you determine which type of exercise is best for your needs.
- Walking: Walking is an excellent form of exercise, requires no equipment other than a good pair of shoes and comfortable clothing, and can be enjoyed in a number of settings. What’s more, it’s far more low impact than running. To up the intensity, just walk faster, further or incorporate hills. During inclement weather, try mall walking or consider joining a gym with an indoor track. Walking can be enjoyed alone, with a pet, with friends or with family. It’s easy to converse when walking, and when the weather permits, it’s an excellent way to relax and unwind out in nature.
- Biking: Biking can be a form of transportation or a way to enjoy the scenery – regardless, it’s always a nice, non-concussive exercise. Find a bike that’s comfortable for you, outfit it and yourself with the proper safety gear, and discover the best routes in your area. Look for streets with bike lanes, and check to see if your town has bike trails. Like walking, biking can be easily enjoyed with friends and family too. And just as with walking, you can increase the intensity by going a longer distance, biking faster or biking in hilly areas.
- Swimming: Swimming is perhaps the ultimate in low-impact exercise, as the water takes away much of your body weight, easing the strain on joints. Many gyms and community centers have heated, indoor pools you can use with a membership fee year-round. If aerobics are more your style, look for water aerobics classes in your area; they’re just as fun but put less impact on your joints.
- Yoga: Yoga isn’t all about twisting yourself into a pretzel! There are several types of yoga, as well as classes aimed at particular levels and age groups. Yoga can be relaxing, help improve flexibility, and it can be good exercise. What’s more, there are many health benefits associated with yoga; click here to learn more.
- Strength training: Strength training can be an important part of a balanced exercise regimen. Resistance bands are inexpensive, don’t take up much space and allow for dozens of adaptations to work different muscles and increase or decrease the resistance. They are one way to get in some strength training at home. Just make sure to perform the exercises correctly at a pace and resistance that meets your needs (most bands come with instructions, and there are also books and videos on the subject).
Whatever combination of activities you choose, the important thing is that your workout regimen works for your physical needs and is something you can stick with. By exploring what’s best for you, you can experience all gain and no pain!
Biking: Enjoy the Great Outdoors – AARP.org
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain – AARP.org
Walking: The Easiest Exercise – AARP.org