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Monday, August 06, 2018

Top Five Low-Impact Workouts for Senior Citizens


All over the world, senior citizens are moving less than ever, and the seniors in the United States are no exception.

The results of one survey showed that 25.8 percent of U.S. men over the age of 65 and 32.5 percent of U.S. women of the same age bracket are consistently physically inactive.

There are lots of reasons why seniors don’t move as much as they should. No matter what their reason for not exercising, though, most seniors could benefit from moving more and trying to meet the country’s physical activity guidelines (30 minutes of aerobic activity five days per week, coupled with 2-3 flexibility and balance workouts and 2-3 strength training workouts).

If you’re not sure where to begin and want to start with some low-impact workouts, keep reading. Listed below are five of the best workouts for seniors that will help you increase your physical activity without putting strain on the joints.

Aqua Jogging

Aqua jogging (also known as pool running or water jogging) is exactly what it sounds like -- running in the water. You simply “run” through the deep end of a pool without letting your feet touch the ground.

The great thing about aqua jogging is that you get many of the same benefits of running (including improved cardiovascular health and endurance) without any of the impact. This makes it a perfect option for people who struggle with pain in the foot or knee.

If you’re new to aqua jogging, a local senior center may offer classes to help you get started.

Water Aerobics

If you love the water but don’t feel particularly jazzed about aqua jogging, maybe water aerobics is a better fit for you.

Similar to aqua jogging, water aerobics allows you to get your heart rate up without putting any stress on your joints. It’s great for people with arthritis, chronic pain, or those who have a lot of weight to lose and have a hard time with other forms of cardiovascular exercise.

Most gyms and senior centers offer water aerobics classes. Look for one that’s geared toward beginners to help you ease into the workouts without getting overwhelmed.

Yoga

Yoga is a great low-impact workout option that combines strength, flexibility, and balance training, so it’s perfect for seniors who want to check all those boxes at once.

Yoga is especially great for improving core strength and reducing seniors’ risk of falling and getting injured. It also helps improve bone density, which is great for senior women, who are more prone to osteoporosis.

Many seniors will do fine attending a beginner-friendly yoga class, but there are also classes dedicated solely to seniors -- some are even designed for people who need to stay seated for the entire class. Look online to find the right class for you, or ask someone at your local senior center what they recommend.

Walking

For burning calories, improving mobility, and improving strength and balance, there aren’t many workouts that are better than simply going for a walk.

Walking at a moderate pace for just 30 minutes a day can make a major difference in seniors’ health and physical strength. It’s especially good for increasing bone density and reducing the risk of developing heart disease.

In addition to being easy and totally free, walking is also a very scalable form of exercise. When you’re first getting started, you can simply do a few laps around your neighborhood. When that gets easy, you can seek out routes that feature hills or steps to make things a little more challenging.

Indoor Cycling

Indoor cycling is a good option for seniors who want to improve their cardiovascular health but aren’t drawn to aquatic exercise or walking. It’s also great for those who have lower body issues (knee pain, foot pain, hip pain, etc.).

Like walking, indoor cycling is also easy to scale. You can move at a slow, even pace when you’re getting started, then increase the resistance and speed as your endurance and strength begin to improve.

Indoor cycling workouts are also easy to modify, so you don’t necessarily need to seek out a senior-specific class when you’re first getting started.

This is a guest blog entry.

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