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Best Low-Impact Exercises for Seniors

Did you know that people lose 8% of their muscles every decade the moment they turn 40? Sarcopenia, also known as age-related muscle loss, can lead to weakness and could interfere with aging adults’ ability to live a full and active life. The good news is that you can help slow the aging condition through exercise and proper nutrition.1

Maintaining muscle mass strength is important through exercise. When they are worked out, muscles respond by becoming stronger. You either use it or lose it. In fact, studies have shown that it can only take a few days of lying in bed to lose muscle mass and strength.1,2

Exercise is important to keep fit at any age and seniors are definitely no exception. A low-impact exercise regimen can benefit one’s health by stretching and strengthening the muscles, reducing stress, and preventing injury, even helping to lower blood pressure.3

Low-impact exercises can be categorized into four: endurance, strength, flexibility and balance. Incorporating a bit of all into your routine helps reduce the risk of injury and makes keeping fit more fun due to the variety of exercises one can do.3

 

  1. Walking
    This takes little preparation to get started and easy enough on the joints that many seniors can easily maintain this routine until very late in life. The keys to a walking routine are only the right pair of shoes and religiously stretching after walking. While you’re walking, you want to focus on your posture, keeping your back straight and shoulders rolled back. If you’re new to walking, start with a short distance and increase your walks by a few minutes each time until you’re able to walk for 30- to 60-minute stretches.3
  2. Swimming
    This sport helps improve endurance and flexibility, and it’s a very beneficial low-impact exercise for seniors. Because the water relieves stress on your bones and joints, swimming carries a lower risk of injury than many other endurance exercises, and it conditions your whole body as you move through the water.3
  3. Yoga
    Yoga fulfills all the categories of good exercise, combining endurance with stretches, strength training and balance. Some poses increase core strength and balance which reduce the risk of fall-related injuries. Other poses help alleviate stress, fatigue, and pain. Above all, yoga is a form of exercise that can help seniors feel younger. 3, 4
  4. Strength Training
    Many seniors feel that weight training is too intense, but certain weight-lifting exercises are actually an excellent low-impact way to build muscle and improve overall health. The key is to start with lighter weights, or even do the moves with no weights, and increase the amount that you’re lifting over time as you improve your strength. 30 minutes of strength training for each muscle group twice a week, taking at least one day off in between working the same group, is an ideal routine.3

 

References:

  1. https://ensure.com/blog/expert-advice/aging-and-nutrition
  2. https://ensure.com/blog/expert-advice/muscle-story
  3. https://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/aging/senior-health-lifestyle/10-low-impact-exercises-for-seniors.htm
  4. https://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/diet-fitness/yoga/10-yoga-exercises-for-seniors.htm