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Widow living life walking in a park
February 16, 2021

Low-Impact Exercises That Will Boost Your Health and Happiness

We all need regular exercise. Young and old, seasoned athletes and eager beginners—no one is exempt from the need for physical activity. Naturally, our workouts will look a little different as we age, but they’re just as essential for a happy and healthy life. To minimize the risk of injury, older adults should focus on low-impact exercises that promote good health without being too harsh on the joints. Here are four easy exercises that deliver results without compromising your safety.

1. Walking

According to a recent study conducted by Northwestern Medicine, a mere hour of brisk walking every week is all it takes to keep folks with joint issues in tip-top shape. Walking is one of those exercises that’s great for people of all ages. It’s easy on the joints, you can do it anywhere, and it requires zero equipment beyond a good pair of walking shoes. 

Healthline.com states the benefits of walking include:

  • Improved heart health

  • Increased energy

  • Enhanced mood

  • Lower blood sugar

  • Stronger immunity

  • Stronger muscles

  • Joint pain relief

  • An extended lifespan

Walking also gives you the chance to unwind mentally while enjoying a change of scenery. If you’re looking to widen your social circle, check out a local walking group. You can also get in your steps at the local gym or YMCA, which are ideal when the weather is uncooperative.

For adults just getting started, it’s important to ease into a new walking routine slowly. Begin with a short jaunt around the neighborhood, gradually adding a few minutes to your walk until you can make it to 30 or 60 minutes. When you’re ready for an extra challenge, try increasing your speed or walking on an incline. 

Avid walkers know that the right pair of shoes makes all the difference. Look for sneakers with heel support and good cushioning. Give your toes adequate room, and make sure your heels don’t slip out of the back.

2. Swimming

Hitting the pool is a popular workout choice for older adults, and for good reason. Unlike most high-endurance activities, swimming is a non-weight-bearing exercise that’s gentle on your bones and joints. But that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. On the contrary, swimming is a full-body workout that improves flexibility and conditions your shoulders, back, legs, and arms.

Medical News Today confirms that swimming is a great choice for people with chronic pain issues, like arthritis. Because water gently supports the body, swimming is often used for rehabilitation. It also improves heart health and bone mineral density, decreasing your risk of developing osteoporosis.

Not feeling confident about your swimming ability? You may want to work with a coach or trainer to get started. And there’s no shame in wearing a life vest if it makes you feel more secure. 

If you don’t have a neighborhood pool at your disposal, nearly all gyms and YMCAs hold swimming exercise classes for older adults. 

One final tip: don’t forget to hydrate! While chugging fluids is probably the last thing on your mind, it’s essential to drink plenty of water before and after your swimming workout. 

3. Gardening

There’s something undeniably invigorating about gardening. The feel of dirt in your hands, the thrill of witnessing baby sprouts emerge, the joy of harvesting homegrown vegetables or flowers—there’s a lot to love about this rewarding hobby. Plus, it’s a great way to get in your weekly quota of physical activity.

To make things easier on your body, use a gardening stool that keeps you from squatting for hours on end. It’s also wise to opt for tools with longer handles so you can avoid kneeling in the dirt all day. Make things more accessible with a raised bed or a trellis. Trust us, your back will thank you.

4. Dancing

For a workout that’s as fun as it is effective, give dancing a whirl. Dancing is great at any age because it’s easily modified to suit your individual abilities.

A study published by the National Institute of Health confirms that dancing is hugely beneficial for older adults. It improves balance, agility, muscle strength, and endurance—all while providing the chance to cut loose and live a little! 

There are several ways to incorporate dance into your life. Consider an online dance class—don’t worry, you won’t be the only first-timer. Or just put on your favorite album and enjoy some carefree improvising. 

 

Provision Living Encourages a Healthy Lifestyle 

As we get older, staying physically fit becomes increasingly important. Residents of Provision Living have ample opportunities to maintain an active lifestyle. Speak to one of our care consultants today to learn more about what life at Provision Living could look like for you.