Want a joint-safe workout that still has you breaking a sweat? Low-impact exercise can give you real results that benefit any type of exerciser. But don’t let the term low-impact mislead you. Low-impact and low-intensity exercise are not the same thing.
Think of it as a tool to keep you fit for the activities you like to do. By folding low-impact workouts into your routine, especially for people over 50, you can cut down recovery time and reduce the risk of injury in your day-to-day workouts. So, you’re free to be the marathon-running, nature-hiking, cycling-loving person that you are.
Benefits of Low-Impact Exercise
Gradually builds endurance and strength
Meet your goals to build up muscle, boost your endurance, and kick up your heart rate for satisfying workouts. Low-impact exercise is all about the strategy of avoiding stress on joints, while still getting the intensity you want from your routine.
Adaptable for beginners and pros
Because low-impact exercise does less to stress the body, it cuts down recovery time between workouts. For people returning to exercise, this puts you in a better position to keep a consistent and active workout schedule. For more seasoned pros, low-impact routines are great to slot in when you need recovery after more high-impact activities.
Stabilize joints and still see the benefits
Injuries and other factors can impact the range of motion capabilities during exercise. You can still get great muscular benefits while keeping your joints stable. With isometric exercise, (exercise that contracts muscles from a static position), you can still activate key muscle groups in your legs, torso, and arms.
All exercise is a mood boost
Any exercise, including low-impact exercise, is a mood booster. Physical activity causes your body to release feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Along with an endorphin pick-me-up, incorporating low-impact exercise into your routine can help reduce stress and improve your sleep at night.
Low-Impact Cardio Exercises
Choose how you want to break a sweat—you have plenty of options for low-impact cardio and strength exercises. Low-impact cardio is all about increasing the heart rate without leaning on high-impact moves that stress joints. Don’t worry, all the heart-pumping intensity is still there. Here are some popular low-impact cardio exercises for people over 55.
Make swimming your go-to for all the benefits of a full-body workout. How is swimming low-impact? Once you hit the pool, the water supports you against gravity, force, and strain on your movements. And your routine is yours to set. Start by setting pacing and distance milestones for each swim session, and see your skills build up over time.
When you think of yoga, slow movement and a relaxed approach may come to mind. That doesn’t mean you can’t get great cardio benefits from beginning a yoga practice. Look for practices with more intense flows, like the Vinyasa-style for example. Flows like these move you through poses challenging flexibility, strength and endurance, as well as pushing your heart rate.
Low-Impact Friendly Gym Equipment
If you just want to hit the gym for a cardio-focused circuit, you have low-impact equipment options. Ellipticals are a great way to get the movement of running without the crash impact on the body. On ellipticals, you use both your arm and legs to stride forward each step. Rowing machines are also quite a popular way to test your endurance. With each stroke, you engage your core, arms, and legs for a full-body workout.
Low-Impact Strength Exercises
Same story, different goals. Low-impact strength exercises are about providing the benefits of strength training by using techniques that don’t strain joints and pain points. Proper low-impact strength training should incorporate exercise that engages a full range of motion instead of repetitive movement targeting limited muscle groups. Here are some popular low-impact strength exercises for people over 55.
Hit the Weights
Kettlebells and dumbbells are about to be your friend. Free weights are fantastic low-impact strength training sidekicks because of their versatility. They are a great way to vary your routine and target nearly every major muscle group. Keeping reps brief (somewhere from 10 to 12) and rotating between different movements will prevent you from putting too much strain on one muscle area.
Stretch it out. Resistance bands take the benefits of strength training with a focus on mobility. Putting the emphasis on flexibility as you move in all different directions, resistance bands are great for warming up muscles before more strenuous routines. Row, jab, and curl your way through challenging exercises to give your arms, shoulders, and back a serious workout.
Low-Impact Friendly Gym Equipment
We’ve covered the free weights, but what about the specialised equipment you can only find at the gym? Equipment using suspension systems will be your go-to for low-impact strength training. Use your body weight to build up strength on suspension systems like the TRX machine. Using bands weighted on one side, you can do lunges, curls, rows, and squats with less strain on the body. Rowing machines also use suspension and are a great one-two punch to challenge cardio and strength.
Build Your Routine for a Healthy Lifestyle
You can always enhance your workouts with specialised equipment and facilities at your local David Lloyd Club. Sign up for a class and enjoy our world-class facilities including indoor and outdoor pulls. Or hit the gym floor outfitted with the exercise machines and free weights you need for top-tier circuit training sessions. And if you need some extra guidance, you can always connect with our Personal Trainers to map out and meet your goals.
Still not sure where to start? Whether you’re returning to exercise or looking for a new challenge, simply find your closest David Lloyd Club and discover new ways to reach your fitness goals.