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Taking care of your bones and joints is important at any age, and it becomes especially critical as you get older. Staying active is also important as you age; it can lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes as well as keep your mind sharp.
So, how can you stay active and avoid risking injury to your joints? Low-impact exercises are a great way to keep moving without putting too much strain on your ankles, knees or hips. Check out this list of fun, low-impact activities you can try.
Take a dip
Swimming is one of the most popular low-impact exercises. It is a great workout for your heart and can help boost your range of motion. You may also want to try water aerobics for a fun cardio boost.
Try some yoga or pilates
Yoga and pilates focus on building strength to improve balance and flexibility, which can help prevent falls. They also help improve strength in your core (abdominal muscles), which can improve back and neck pain as well as prevent back injuries. Yoga and Pilates can also help you relax and de-stress with a focus on breathing.
Go for a walk
Walking is a free and fun way to stay active. Not only can you burn calories while walking, but you can also strengthen the muscles around your feet, ankles, hips, and knees. In fact, some studies have shown that walking five to six miles a week can help prevent arthritis altogether. Encourage friends and family to walk with you to add to the fun.
Hop on the elliptical
If you find yourself at the gym, try the elliptical machine instead of the treadmill. Elliptical trainers use a gliding motion and smooth movements, which lets you boost your heart rate without putting added strain on your joints.
Go for a spin
Indoor cycling is another option you can try at the gym. Stationary bikes are a great cardio option for people with balance problems who may not be able to easily run or ride on an outdoor bicycle. It’s also a great way to strengthen leg and hip muscles. There are typically two types of stationary bikes at gyms: recumbent (laid-back) bikes and upright bikes. Find which one fits your comfort and ability and give it a spin.
Give tai chi a shot
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that helps increase mental flexibility, allowing the body to maintain stability. Practicing tai chi can improve balance and strength, which can help prevent falls. Tai chi has also been shown to improve memory, lower blood pressure and reduce symptoms in people with Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, anxiety, and depression.
Before you start any exercise routine, it’s important to talk with your doctor about which exercises are safe for you and what limitations you may have with existing health conditions. You can search for a primary care doctor that’s right for you in our provider directory. Or you can find one using a regional directory below:
It’s never too late to start advanced care planning. To learn more visit the Institute for Human Caring.
About the AuthorMore Content by Providence Seniors Health Team