When it comes to physical fitness, your mind may be willing, but your body can protest to the point of holding you back. From weak knees to aching joints, aging bodies keep millions of people stuck in a rut. Instead of letting your sore joints and muscles stand in your way, let them lead the workout. Low-impact activities can be just as beneficial as all-out cardio burns with the added benefit of not destroying your body. Here are tips for getting a great workout while taking it easy on your joints.
Try a New Routine
Walking is commonly recommended among low-impact exercise because it’s a staple activity that most people can do, but it’s not the only way to burn calories if you’re looking for low-impact sports. Mix it up with a new sport or dance. Zumba, for instance, is a Latin-based dance that you perform in a group setting. You could also try unusual alternatives, such as in-line skating, kayaking, ballroom dancing, rock climbing or the rowing machine at your local gym. Step outside of your comfort zone to maximize the benefits of everyday exercise.
Hit the Water
Swimming is not only a great low-impact activity, but it’s also the complete package when it comes to exercise. This sport combines resistance training with cardio to give you a full-body workout that won’t damage your joints. There are lots of ways to incorporate more water-based cardio in your life. Whether it’s swimming laps, treading water or joining a water aerobics class with people your own age, water sports provide you with ample opportunities to get in shape and stay that way. Plus, swimming torches calories in a way that walking doesn’t.
Stretch, Stretch and Stretch
Stretching on its own is a good way to stay flexible, but there are also ways to incorporate more specific forms of stretching into your workout regimen. These include activities like Pilates, yoga and tai chi, among others. Check with your local gym or community center for classes on these and other movement-based activities. They’re easy on your knees and back, and they can actually improve your flexibility, which lowers your chances of developing other problems down the road. Gaining flexibility can help you to pursue other activities with more confidence as well, which will help you to branch out into new areas over time.
Take It Easy
There are several sports that offer a good workout without making you break too much of a sweat. One example is golf. Traditionally played by the old and wealthy, this popular sport has opened up its game to a broader audience, which means you don’t need to own stock in a large corporation to hit the links. Skip the golf cart, and carry your own bag if you can. You’ll get a full workout over the course of the game while improving your swing. As a bonus, golf is a social sport. Playing with friends makes it more enjoyable, and you’ll have accountability partners to keep you going.