Physical activity naturally decreases as one gets older. You might have more responsibilities and less time to exercise. Or your energy levels might not be as high as what they once were. But if you want to live a long and happy life, exercise is actually one of the things you need to keep doing. It will help you curb weight gain, feel revitalized, and maintain overall health and longevity.
Of course, there’s no need to worry about keeping up with young people at the gym. For older individuals, it’s more about sticking to a routine that improves health without the added risks, like injuries. It’s why exercise science professor Victor Kizer teaches program design in depth to his students, who will eventually go on to having an important role to play in the fitness industry. That’s because the right design is important in making sure that every individual benefits from their workouts efficiently without making them vulnerable to injuries. That said, any credible fitness trainer will tell their older clients that there’s no need to push themselves too hard with high intensity exercises. You can still make tremendous health changes by incorporating low impact activities into your routine.
Understanding Low Impact Exercises
Simply put, low impact exercise is a training style that doesn’t involve a lot of jumping or rebounding. Exercises like burpees or sprints are out, while slow and deliberate movements like lunges or planks are in. And because it doesn’t involve plyometrics, low impact training tends to be gentler on the joints and the muscles. It’s perfect for people who are new to exercising, who are recovering from injury, who are managing joint pain, or who are just aging gracefully.
But don’t think that low impact workouts are not beneficial. There are a lot of low impact alternatives that burn hundreds of calories, like hiking or swimming. These activities are easier to sustain for longer periods of time because they also tend to be low intensity. This means you can continue using up your energy reserves for several hours, which can aid in weight loss.
Strength training, as in weight lifting, also fits the bill. The great thing about incorporating more weight training is that you can adjust the intensity according to your liking and get a different benefit each time. For example, you can take shorter rests (30 seconds) in between sets to get a cardiovascular burn and keep the heart healthy. Or, you can take long rests (1-3 minutes) in between sets with heavier loads to build stronger bones and muscles. But always make sure that someone is there to spot you!
How to Incorporate Low Impact Exercises
Starting this style of training is easy enough. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
• Refine your technique
One of the rules to training of any kind is to build the foundations by refining technique. Unfortunately, high intensity interval exercises increase the risk of injury because of repetitive overload and poor form. Take your time by learning the basics, as there’s no pressure to perform any exercise at speed. A few movements you need to master, even in their modified versions, are your squats, push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, and planks.
• Choose between splits or full body routines
Unlike high impact workouts, you can train with low impact exercises more than two to three times a week. You can choose to split your workouts or build full body routines each time. Here’s what a split training week might look like with low impact workouts:
• Monday – Lower body exercises
• Tuesday – Upper body exercises
• Wednesday – Rest
• Thursday – Yoga
• Friday – Rest
• Saturday – Hiking
• Sunday – Rest
• Incorporate core training
Building true core strength, not the superficial six-pack, is important because it acts as your entire body’s support system. It connects your lower body to your upper body, and also supports your spine. This, rather than rock-hard abs, is important as you age. By doing core exercises, you can reduce or prevent chronic back pain from developing. At the end of each session, dedicate a few sets of core exercises, such as planks, bicycle crunches, and leg lifts. They are usually very low in intensity, so they can be a part of your cool down routine.
• Focus on progression
Lastly, you can get huge gains from low impact exercises by progressing your training gradually. That doesn’t mean adding more training days. Rather, progressive training can mean adding more weights, adding more sets or reps, and reducing rest times to increase intensity. Make sure you’re getting enough rest as well as proper nutrition to see great (and sustainable) results in a few months’ time!
Written solely for organicexcellence.com
By Hermoine Green