There is much more to fitness than going all out and beasting it in the gym. Rather than focusing on hitting targets and building muscle, give low-impact exercises a go. They are great for getting your body moving without stressing it out, and they can keep you limber for longer.
Whether you’re managing an injury, you have bad joints, or you simply want to incorporate different styles of exercise into your routine, here are four low-impact exercises to improve your health:
Go With the Flow With Water Aerobics
Everyone knows that swimming is excellent for the whole body, but if you’re getting bored of doing laps, give water aerobics a try. Many land-based exercises put stress on joints and muscles. In the pool, water acts as a support for the body, and the pressure can help circulate blood around your system. It is a fantastic exercise for people with joint issues and can boost cardiovascular strength and heart health.
Try Tai Chi
Stemming from 13th century China, tai chi was originally a martial art. Nowadays, tai chi is practiced in different countries and can be practiced by people of all abilities. This low-impact activity is all about mindfulness and slow, graceful movements. When performed correctly, tai chi poses should flow from one pose into the next. Tai chi is often practiced by older adults to improve posture, balance, mobility, and leg muscle strength. It can also help reduce stress, and it is especially beneficial for people who suffer from arthritis.
The Ancient Practice of Yoga
Similar to tai chi, yoga is a low-impact exercise that is all about focused movements, and it also incorporates mindfulness. It is an ancient practice that began in India around 5,000 years ago, and it has multiple health benefits. Yoga has been proven to increase flexibility, improve balance and strengthen the core. It also boasts mental health such as decreasing stress levels and reducing insomnia. Whether you’ve attended one or two classes or you are a complete beginner, incorporating yoga into your fitness routine is simple.
This accessible exercise can be performed anywhere. All you need is yourself, a yoga mat, and a quiet place to practice.
Walk Your Way to Fitness
One of the most underrated forms of physical activity is walking. Not only is it accessible for most people, but it doesn’t stress the muscles and joints as much as other varieties of exercise. Research suggests that a healthy adult should aim to walk from 2,000 to 9,000 steps per day. Although this may seem like a lot for people with a sedentary lifestyle, you can rack up your step count in a few simple ways. Challenge yourself to a mid-morning walk around the block during your break, or leave the car at home and use your legs to carry you to work instead.
Another great way to walk more is by taking the stairs instead of the elevator during shopping trips. Walking regularly can decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. It can also help strengthen and tone your muscles and boost your overall fitness.
*Photos by Mikhail Nilov