Don’t let the term “low-impact” fool you – these exercises are a great way to get in a good workout and increase your heart rate. From a technical perspective a low-impact exercise is one in which one foot is always planted on the ground. No-impact exercises are those where both feet stay on the ground at all times or your body is supported by a machine or water during the workout.
Popular Low-Impact Exercises
- Most Types of Dancing
- Rollerblading or Skating
- Cross-Country Skiing
- Step Aerobics
- Swimming Laps
- Water Aerobics
- Elliptical Machines
- Stationary Bikes
Any of these low-impact or no-impact aerobic workouts will get your heart rate elevated. There are also plenty of non-aerobic workouts that are great for your health as well, such as Pilates, yoga and strength training.
The Problem with High-Impact Exercises
When both feet leave the ground, such as when running or jumping rope, the body absorbs a lot if impact force. These impacts can be hard on bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles. High-impact exercises tend to burn more calories because they’re more intense workouts, but the chance for injury is much higher than with low-impact exercises.
If you’re at risk for injury, it’s much better to stick to low-impact exercises. Being able to do low-impact workouts is preferable to not being able to workout at all after suffering a preventable injury while pushing yourself too hard. Low-impact workouts are also ideal for people who have undergone a hip or knee replacement surgery. Low-impact exercises are often prescribed as part of rehabilitation and recovery.
Older people who want to avoid injuries that may take a long time to heal should stick almost exclusively to low-impact and no-impact exercises. Weakening bones and osteoporosis are common in older Americans, and there’s not much you can do about it even if you adhere to a balanced diet and eat healthful foods. Refraining from high-impact exercises is one of the best ways to ensure you don’t suffer an injury that will put you out of the game for a prolonged period of time.
High-intensity workouts aren’t just a danger to your bones, joints and ligaments. Regardless of age, there’s an increased risk for heart attack and stroke if you push yourself too hard. This is doubly true for people who aren’t acclimated to high-intensity training.
If you want to start working out to lose weight you should be commended for your efforts, but you shouldn’t immediately join a CrossFit gym and hit their routines with maximum intensity. It’s important to gradually increase your workout intensity as your body strengthens. Starting out gradually with low-impact and no-impact exercises is almost always the best way to start your journey.
If You Have One of These Three Conditions, Stick to Low-Impact or No-Impact Exercises
Diabetic Neuropathy – Diabetics who experience diabetic neuropathy will likely struggle with high-impact exercises due to the pain and numbness they often experience in their legs and feet.
Arthritis – Depending on the severity of your arthritis and where you have joint damage, high-impact exercises may not be possible. People with arthritis in the hips, knees or feet should still find ways to exercise, but it’s important to participate in safe low- and no-impact options.
Osteoporosis – People with compromised bone density should abstain from high-impact exercises that could cause stress fractures.
Active Retirement Communities Designed for You
Ovation by Avamere communities are designed to make it easy for residents to enjoy workouts of all types, including low-impact, no-impact and high-impact exercises.
Both our Ovation Sienna Hills and Ovation Heartwood Preserve have senior-friendly fitness equipment and great pools and swimming facilities as well as an array of wellness and fitness classes designed for people of all fitness and health levels.
You can learn more about how Ovation by Avamere makes it easy for residents to stay health by calling Ovation Sienna Hills in St. George, Utah at 435.429.0000 or Ovation Heartwood Preserve in Omaha, Nebraska at 402.999.7900