Easier On the Bones
When it comes to improving overall health, there is nothing quite like exercise. For those of us healthy enough to do so, lifting weights and performing high-intensity workouts is a fast-track to fitness. But what about those who are unable to lift weights, whether by choice or because of a medical condition? Instead of weightlifting, running and plyometric exercises, the following are a number of low-impact activities that are suitable alternatives for heavy-duty workouts.
If the weather is nice, or if you have access to a pool, getting in the water to workout is not only easy on joints and bones, it is also a fun way to burn calories. Swimming is a great total-body workout, taxing the nervous system and improving cardiovascular endurance. Water aerobics can be more entertaining than swimming laps, and some gyms are even starting to offer underwater treadmills!
If the sun is shining, hop in a kayak or a rowboat and get rowing. An awesome way to build a strong back and a great cardio workout, rowing is a low-impact exercise that is more fun than work. Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature while simultaneously improving your health.
Needing nothing but a comfortable pair of shoes, getting outside to exercise is as easy as walking. One of the easiest and least-stressful forms of exercise, walking has a number of benefits ranging from weight loss to blood pressure regulation. Even if you are unable to fit in a dedicated period of exercise, walking more during the day is an easy way to improve your health. Try taking walking breaks at work, using the stairs, or parking in the back of the parking lot.
In addition to walking, yoga is heralded as one of the most beneficial activities for your health, improving posture, flexibility, and relieving stress.
Hiking is another way to rev up your heart rate and explore nature in the process. There is little in terms of satisfaction quite like hiking up a mountain trail for exercise.
In addition, if you own one, riding a bicycle is not only a great form of exercise, it can also save you money if you opt to bike somewhere instead of drive. Be aware of traffic, and always wear a helmet.
Exercise machines allow for a great amount of exercise to be performed with little stress on joints and bones. Consider hopping on a stationary bicycle or rowing machine to get their workout benefits without needing bike or boat. Stairmasters and ellipticals allow users to burn tons of calories using fluid motions, unlike the hard impact of running. One of the cool benefits of working out on machines is that many often have special features. Some will track your heart rate and the number of calories burned, and some offer pre-set workouts.
Have any other suggestions for low-impact workouts? Leave them in the comments below!