While our bodies are tough, they need to be treated with care at the same time. Running and plyometrics are great ways to build endurance and burn calories, but it’s also important to give the body a break.
When you’re injured or dealing with certain ailments, it’s imperative that you treat your body well with rest and choose low impact exercises. Just because an exercise is low impact doesn’t mean it’s inferior. It can, however, be difficult to find a type of exercise you enjoy with less options available.
Luckily, there are a number of great low-impact exercise options out there. You just have to do a little digging.
Not only is it easy on your joints, but certain yoga poses are therapeutic for pain. Harvard Health reports a weekly yoga class can help relieve chronic lower back pain, and a meta-analysis of 17 studies showed that yoga can help people with fibromyalgia. Yoga’s stretching and strengthening nature helps improve flexibility, endurance and range of motion. Additionally, studies have shown those who practice yoga sleep better and have boosted immunity.
Your core is what helps you utilize every part of your body. A strong core will help with back pain and to straighten out your posture. Pilates hits the core hard. It helps balance out either side of your core and uses slow and controlled movements that are easy on your joints but still challenging.
For those who suffer with arthritis or joint stiffness, swimming is one of the best forms of exercise you can do. The buoyancy gives you a low-impact exercise, while water resistance challenges your body. It’s well rounded, giving you a muscle stretching and strengthening workout while also incorporating aerobics. It also improves breathing and circulation, while lowering blood pressure. Water exercise isn’t just limited to swimming laps. You can do intervals, water aerobics or water walking.
The key to successful weight training is easing into it. If you try for the heaviest weight on your first day, you’re going to have trouble. The best way to train is to pick a weight you are comfortable doing sets and repetitions with and building from there. When you focus on hitting all of your muscle groups throughout the week, your muscles with strengthen, making it easier to power your entire body. Just be careful that your form is correct while weight training. Incorrect form can end up doing more damage than good.
During the warmer months, biking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while treating your body well. A good ride gets your heart rate up, works up a nice sweat and is excellent at strengthening your leg muscles. Compared to going on a walk, an easy bike ride burns more calories. And you burn even more if you challenge yourself with hills and speed. Plus, you won’t be alone. The New York City Department of Transportation reported a 289 percent increase in bikers between 2001 and 2011. This increase has resulted in more funding for bike lanes across the United States.
This type of exercise uses bands and combines them with your own body weight and gravity to give you a workout that strengthens and sculpts your muscles. You get to choose the difficulty by adjusting your body, which will add or decrease resistance.