Low-impact exercises can improve your health and fitness without harming your joints.
Research suggests moderate-intensity, low-impact activity, such as yoga and fast walking, is just as effective as high-impact activity, such as running, in lowering the risk of heart disease.
Here are some popular low-impact activities.
Walking is by far the most popular low-impact exercise. It works the cardiovascular system and burns calories. To get your heart rate up, walk faster than a stroll. Picking up the pace can increase the intensity of your workouts. Add short bursts of speed or walk up an occasional steep hill.
One of the best things about dancing is that while you’re having fun moving to music and meeting new people, you’re getting all the health benefits of a good workout. From Ceroc to the foxtrot, there’s a dance style to suit all tastes.
Cycling is a low-impact activity. But you can still injure yourself if you have the wrong size bike, or if the saddle and handlebars are at the wrong height. Cycling is an aerobic exercise that works your lower body and cardiovascular system. Start slowly and increase the length of your cycling sessions gradually.
Swimming works the whole body. It’s a great way to tone up and get trim. Swimming a few lengths involves most of the muscle groups, and you’ll get a good aerobic workout if you increase the pace. Swimming can also help you lose weight if you swim at a steady and continuous pace throughout your session
lks for people with health concerns to workout walks, which are a great way to improve fitness, lose weight and tone the whole body. It’s a suitable activity for people with joint conditions or those who may be carrying some extra body weight.
Senior playgrounds are outdoor exercise areas equipped with machines specially designed to provide gentle exercise for different parts of the body, such as the hips, legs and torso.
The playgrounds offer older people – who may find indoor gyms expensive and intimidating – the chance to exercise in a pleasant, peaceful and lycra-free environment. Contact your local authority to find out if there is a senior playground in your area.
Yoga can improve both your physical fitness and your general wellbeing through a series of postures and breathing exercises. Regular yoga practice helps develop strength, balance and flexibility. It can also lift your mood.
This ancient Chinese art promotes mental and physical wellbeing. Movements are slow and controlled. This means you won’t improve your cardiovascular fitness or get a calorie-burning workout, but it does improve strength, flexibility and balance.
Pilates focuses on rebalancing the body and improving posture through slow, controlled movements and exercises. Regular practice can help you improve muscle strength and your overall sense of wellbeing. It can be helpful for people who can’t or must not jump around too much.
Water aerobics is a low-impact activity. It requires a basic swimming ability as it’s mostly done in water that’s waist high or deeper.
Aqua aerobic workouts use a variety of techniques taken from studio aerobics, including walking or running backwards and forwards, jumping jacks, various arm movements, and moves from cross-country skiing.
For more information about physical activity, nutrition, and health, the following sources may be helpful.
- Physical activity and your health. Government of Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/being-active/physical-activity-your-health.html
- Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. http://www.csep.ca/CMFiles/Guidelines/CSEP_PAGuidelines_adults_en.pdfn.pdf)
- Healthy Eating. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy/healthy-eating
- Healthy Weight. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy/healthy-weight
- Healthy Kids. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy/healthy-kids
- Canada Food Guidelines (updated 2019). https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/
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