Staying active can be demanding as you age or develop injuries or other health concerns. But so many positives come from regular movement. Low-impact exercises can be a perfect starting point. Low-impact exercise still increases your heart rate, but it’s easier on your joints. These options usually cut out jumping, lowering joint pressure. And a good class (online or in person) or trainer will give you more modifications to work around injuries or discomforts.
Talk to your primary care provider if you’re concerned about finding an exercise routine that will feel good for you. If you’re looking for a low-impact exercise option, you might want to try one of these styles.
With all different types of yoga, you can find an intensity and difficulty level that fits you best. From gentle stretching to faster-paced flows, yoga avoids jerky and jumping movements. Combine that with the benefit that stretching your muscles has on your joints, and yoga makes a great low-impact choice for many.
Developed in the early 20th century, Pilates shares many similarities with yoga. It focuses on core strengthening, which can benefit the rest of your body by developing those central supporting muscles. And it also emphasizes posture, flexibility, and balance, all of which help improve your overall physical health.
Walking is less jarring to your joints than running, but it has many of the same benefits. Because it helps improve muscular and cardiovascular fitness, it can help prevent or manage conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and heart disease. This makes it a great way to get some movement into your day comfortably.
With the buoyancy of the water supporting you, swimming is a top choice for low-impact exercise. You can swim at the pool or take your workout to the lake in summer for free.
Riding a bike, whether stationary at home, the gym, or out on the streets and trails, can be much kinder on your joints than running. You can still push yourself to your cardiovascular and muscle limits or take it easy and enjoy the fresh air.
You don’t have to love swimming laps to take advantage of the low-impact time in the water. In fact, for most water aerobics, you don’t even need to be able to swim. Classes are usually held in waist- to chest-deep water, so you don’t have to worry about staying afloat to feel the benefits.
With the rowing machine or a boat out on the lake, you can get sweaty and work hard without putting pressure on your knees. Keep in mind that every body is different, and people with back problems might not be able to row comfortably. Listen to your body and healthcare provider to know what’s right for you.
As long as you can stay on your feet, skating can be a low-impact exercise to get you moving. This might be in-line skating, roller skating, or ice skating. Just avoid jumps and take it easy to keep it low impact.
Of course, with dancing, you can be as wild or as mellow as you want. But if you stick to calmer dance styles, moving to the music can be a great way to get your heart rate up without straining your body too much.
If you’re still unsure what exercise routine to start, your primary care provider can help point you in the right direction. Make an appointmentat a CHP clinic in Bozeman, Belgrade, or Livingston for affordable healthcare, no matter where you are in your wellness journey.