Low Impact Exercises for Seniors in Glen Carbon
As our bodies age, predictable changes in the musculoskeletal system happen as a normal part of the aging process. Starting at around 30 years old, these predictable changes tend to include:
- Decrease in bone density in both men and women (often accelerating in women after menopause)
- Cartilage, the soft tissue in joints gets thinner and more fragile
- Ligaments and tendons become progressively more brittle and rigid
- Decreased range and speed of motion
- Muscle loss throughout the body
As a result of these changes, we become more prone to serious injury, such as fractured or broken bones, as we age. High impact exercises such as running put a great deal of stress on both bones and joints – making them a poor choice for most seniors.
On the other hand, we know that low impact exercise is critical to help older folks keep their muscles which in turn support aging bones and joints. In addition, regular low impact exercise can even help maintain bone and joint health, improve circulation, reduce incidence of disability, and help with pain management, and mental sharpness.
Low impact exercise can include any combination of the following: flexibility, strength, endurance and even balance. Most types of low impact exercise will include more than one but look for a balance of activity to hit each of these categories three times a week at a minimum.
Plenty of Possibilities at the Pool
If you have a community pool in your town, give them a call or check out the parks and recreation website for your township. In most cases such public pools offer low cost weekly or daily classes that include low-impact exercises to do in the pool such as water aerobics or water jogging.
If a solo workout is more your cup of tea, consider taking a swim class to brush up your form then schedule pool time for some laps on your own. Or, grab a friend and meet up for some “water jogging” around the shallow-end while you catch up on the latest gossip with the grandkids.
Walk in the Park
Many towns and even cities are expanding their green spaces to include more open areas for enjoying fresh air, including trails for walking or biking. In addition, if you happen to live near a national forest, you can now research hiking trails by the level of difficulty online before even getting in your car so you can find a trail that matches your fitness level.
Urban environments also give great walks, with plenty of window shopping or old architecture to enjoy along the way. However, keep in mind that walking on concrete can be very hard on your joints, so be sure you are wearing appropriate footwear that will absorb the shock of this hard walking surface.
Although some people think of impossible positions and pretzel like poses when they think of this ancient fitness regimen, yoga actually offers a tremendous range of exercises that can be tailored to any fitness level.
In addition to offering plenty along the lines of the flexibility and balance aspect of low impact exercise, yoga can also be used to improved endurance and strength since it can be incorporated into other forms of movement and exercise. Check with your local gyms, and don’t forget to look into the YMCA or community fitness centers, to learn about yoga programs that might be right for you.
One of the fastest growing trends in low-impact exercise classes for seniors is Tai Chi, a gentle martial arts form that is focused primarily on careful, deliberate movement and posing. More and more of these low impact classes are popping up at Dojos and community centers across the nation.
Tai Chi has been shown in various studies to include various improvements to senior health, including:
- Improved balance and flexibility
- Increased leg strength
- Improved cardiovascular endurance
- Better sleep
- Stronger immune system
- Improved memory, concentration and cognitive function
Many classes aimed at seniors include plenty of ways to customize the workout to your fitness level, including using chairs to make things easier, or small wrist or ankle weights to add some strength training to the mix.
Low Impact Gym Gear
If you happen to enjoy a little alone time with your workout, then consider popping in your headphones and using some of the many pieces of gym equipment that can be part of a well-balanced, low-impact workout.
Make sure that you inquire with the gym staff to find out if they have a fitness coach to help make sure you are putting together a routine that is balanced and appropriate for your current fitness level, while giving you some room for improvement to shoot for.
Examples of gym gear that can be part of a low-impact exercise program to increase muscle tone or endurance include:
- Stationary bike (Try the recumbent style if upright bikes are uncomfortable)
- Elliptical machine
- Stair machine
- Free weights (if used properly under guidance)
Upper Cervical Care for Seniors
If you are an older person or are helping a loved senior develop a wellness plan, consider booking a free consultation with an Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care Doctor.
Changes to posture as we age can throw the delicate vertebrae found in the upper cervical spine out of alignment. Even small changes in this critical region of the central nervous system over time can have a ripple effect on the body’s health including digestion problems, pain in the limbs, and decrease in overall immune system functioning.
You or your loved one may be a gentle correction away from natural relief.
8:00am - 11:30am
3:00pm - 6:00pm
8:30am - 11:30am
3:00pm - 6:00pm
8:30am - 11:30am
3:00pm - 6:00pm
9:00am - 11:00am