3 Types of Low-Impact Exercises to Keep You Moving

July 15, 2023 | Senior Health
low impact exercises

Many older adults use their retirement years to prioritize their health and wellness, whether to maintain their independence or simply ensure they have the energy and opportunities to make the most out of their days.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults over the age of 60 should engage in about 150 minutes of physical activity each week or about 30 minutes every day. Simple enough, right? 

However, some older adults live with health conditions, such as arthritis or reduced bone density, which can restrict strength, flexibility and balance. This can make it difficult to find and participate in effective forms of physical activity that don’t require excessive stressors. Thankfully, low-impact exercises can benefit older adults without straining joints or bones. 

At Astral at Franklin, our retirement community in Franklin, Indiana, prioritizes active senior living, so we’re sharing three of our favorite low-impact exercises to help you get started on your fitness journey. 

Yoga

Yoga is an excellent low-impact exercise as it creates a strong core, which can improve endurance and balance. The core is the center of the body and includes the pelvis, hips, lower back and stomach; these stomach muscles specifically referred to as “abs.” When an individual engages in core strengthening exercises, they’re training the muscles in the core to work together and build up stability, which leads to better coordination and mobility. 

Other physical benefits of yoga include: 

  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased muscle strength and tone
  • Improved respiration, energy and vitality
  • Maintaining a balanced metabolism 
  • Cardio and circulatory health 

Yoga has been practiced for over 5,000 years, originating as a ritual designed to induce self-knowledge, wisdom and enlightenment. In other words, yoga is an excellent low-impact exercise and a mindful practice that can help you feel centered and grounded!  

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is often called “meditation in motion” and is a form of martial arts developed in China. The most commonly practiced forms of Tai Chi date back hundreds of years and consist of flowing movements that are named and based on the actions of animals. For instance, movements such as “white crane spreads its wings” mimic the movement of the crane’s natural interaction. 

These movements bring about a sense of simplicity and connect our internal senses to the world around us, making Tai Chi another excellent form of mindful activity. 

Various studies have shown that the benefits of Tai Chi for older adults are immense, including:

  • Improved mobility, limiting the risk of falls
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Increased limb strength and flexibility
  • Improved symptoms of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis

Pilates

Pilates is similar to yoga in focusing on the core muscles, improving the strength within the abdominal and spinal regions of the body. Many of the exercises performed during a Pilates session are done in reclining or sitting positions, making it an easily accessible low-impact exercise for those who might have difficulties with standing exercises. 

Pilates has also been shown to improve posture, joint stability and mobility. As a person ages, posture naturally begins to change. While a person might have had perfect posture throughout their younger years, their spine may become more rounded over time. Due to the nature of Pilates to increase body awareness and improve flexibility, this low-impact exercise is a great way to improve posture and shoulder mobility.

No matter what your fitness goals are for the future, it can be challenging to embark on a new wellness journey while navigating health problems that limit your mobility or abilities. Fortunately, low-impact exercises offer a variety of ways to improve your strength, balance and overall wellness without straining your body.

Please note it is important that you speak with a healthcare provider before changing or starting a new exercise regimen.  

Astral at Franklin understands the importance of prioritizing and improving wellness. Our retirement community in Franklin, Indiana, offers a 24/7 fitness center and enriching exercise programs to ensure residents have every opportunity to reach their unique goals and celebrate their wellness achievements. 

If you’re ready to learn more about our community, call us at 463-252-3341 or contact us online to connect with one of our senior living experts.


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