Stay Fit and Safe with Low-Impact Exercise

Even here in Florida, it’s a wet and chilly time of year. Good thing there are plenty of ways to stay on top of your fitness goals while still being gentle on your joints. Low-impact exercise has great health benefits such as improving your physical fitness, but it can also improve your mental health, social engagement, cognitive function and reduce the risk of falls.

Here are some ways to keep fit and keep warm, all at the same time. Remember, before starting an exercise routine, talk to your doctor first.

Walking

Walking is a great form of low-impact exercise. If the weather outside is frightful, try waiting for warm afternoons, or for ACV members, take advantage of the treadmills at the Copeland Community Center. The important thing is to find a way to keep moving.

Either way, the first step is to find a pair of sturdy shoes that fit you well and suit the way you walk.

The Mayo Clinic says that when you’re buying walking shoes, you should wear the same socks you’ll wear while walking. Shop for shoes after you’ve been walking for a while and later in the day. Our feet tend to swell and this will help you find a pair that fits you well. If your feet are two different sizes, select the larger size. Make sure you have a half inch of space between your longest toe and the toe of the shoe. It should be snug but not tight. Walking shoes should feel comfortable from the first time you put them on.

After you get going, try adding distance and slight inclines – even stairs — to increase the intensity. Also consider inviting a friend to make getting healthier a fun social activity. Once you’ve got enough miles under your belt, think about investing in a sturdy pair of boots and going on some hikes. The time in nature can be soothing and help you destress both your mind and body.

Bodyweight Exercises

You can also do low-impact bodyweight exercises right in your own home. Bodyweight means you use the weight of your own body instead of barbells or hand weights. Some examples of bodyweight exercises are:

  • Squats – Stand with your feet shoulder width apart on the floor. Inhale, look straight ahead and bend at your hips and knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Make sure you don’t push your knees forward over your toes and keep your back straight. Pushing down through your feet, stand up again.
  • Standing oblique crunches – Stand with your feet hip-width apart and put your hands behind your head. Keep your elbows wide. Lift your left knee toward your elbow while you bend your torso up and over to the left. Repeat on the right side.
  • One-legged balance taps – Stand with your feet together, arms straight down at your sides. Hinge forward at the hips and lift your right leg out straight behind you. Keep your back flat and reach your right arm toward the floor. Your torso and right leg should be parallel to the floor. Tighten your core and stand up, keeping your right leg straight and the weight in your left food. Repeat on the other side.

Again, please consult a health professional before beginning any exercise program – and begin slowly. Enthusiasm is great, but being careful will allow you to stay on track!

At Advent Christian Village, we encourage our members to keep an active body – and mind. Contact us today to learn more about how you can define your retirement years at ACV.

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