We all know that exercise is necessary for good health. But when one-third of older adults don’t move enough, senior health becomes a real concern.
Though it’s understandable that reduced mobility or achy joints can decrease activity… but it’s not an excuse. There are many types of exercise classes focused on low impact movements that older active adults can enjoy.
And the bonus is – they’re fun!
Let’s look at the top exercise classes for older adults that are good for the body and easy on the joints.
Water Aerobics and Swimming
When it comes to exercise that is easy on the joints, it doesn’t get much better than water aerobic classes or swimming.
Buoyancy in the water reduces the stress on joints. This decreases pain associated with arthritis or other joint issues. It also limits the risk of falls.
Plus, there’s no need for heavy weights as water provides a natural resistance.
Swimming will increase strength, flexibility, and endurance. Or if you’d rather stay in the shallow end, water aerobic classes are another way to cash in on the benefits water exercise provides.
Introducing a yoga exercise routine for older adults is a great holistic approach to fitness. Yoga will build stability, strength, and mobility, which is important for older adults.
But the best part is, yoga is low impact. It’s gentle on aching joints while still giving the fitness benefit of bearing your own weight.
It’s best to start a yoga routine with a beginner’s class to learn the basics. Specialized classes for seniors may also provide chairs to help support anyone with physical limitations.
Is there such a thing as an exercise that helps you relax? Yes, it’s called Tai Chi! Sometimes called meditation in motion, you may have seen a group of people in public parks following these slow exercise movements.
Rooted in Chinese martial arts, Tai Chi is a gentle form of exercise. It promotes deep breathing with low impact movements. It consists of a single pose with about 19 of these different movements.
Some of the benefits include reduced stress, help with arthritis pain, improves balance, and enhances concentration.
Another low impact exercise routine for active adults is Pilates. With the ability to change this exercise for differing physical needs, it’s quickly becoming a popular class for older adults.
Pilates is like yoga, but it focuses on core stability. It also offers the benefits of increased strength, muscle tone, stamina, and flexibility.
A good Pilates class instructor will be able to give cues for exercise modifications. And many classes are small enough to receive individualized instruction.
A simple, low impact exercise that gives great benefits is walking. Plus, it’s an exercise older adults can do both in and out of a class.
Walking not only improves cardiovascular health, but it also helps reduce arthritis pain for those who deal with joint issues. It also boosts the immune system, fights weight problems, and can add years to your life.
And you don’t have to get in the recommended 10,000 steps a day to see benefits. Older adults can start off small and add distance as they improve.
Proper balance helps prevent the risk of falls in older adults. In fact, about 30% of adults over the age of 65 fall each year. That’s why balance training is a great class for seniors to take.
These types of classes focus on hip, lower-body, and core stabilization through static and active exercises. There’s usually a combination of leg strength training and stability movements. Various types of obstacle courses are also used.
Plus, balance exercise is still low impact for those who need to take it easy on their joints.
Muscle loss is a real concern as we age. As we lose muscle and strength, it increases the risk of frailty, weakness, and falls. It also can increase the burden of chronic conditions.
But with regular strength training, seniors can build muscle which can preserve bone density, vitality, and independence with age.
Luckily, you don’t have to bench press a ton of weight to feel results. Active adult classes use low impact bodyweight exercises. Examples include chair squats, wall pushups, and leg stands.
Cycling exercise classes for active adults allows any type of fitness level to adapt to their current ability. In fact, cycling can help those who have mobility concerns find a great way to improve their fitness.
Recumbent bikes can help give extra back and pelvis support to those who need it. And stationary bikes are adjustable to limit the repetitive impact to the knees, making it a low impact exercise on the joints.
Older adult cycling classes are a safe place to enjoy stationary bike riding. Instructors take care of ensuring everyone rides in good riding form and keeps the intensity levels appropriate to different fitness levels.
When you think of exercise, stretching may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But many people don’t realize the health benefits associated with stretching.
For a lot of older adults, mobility becomes an issue. Joints and muscles weaken with age which can limit range of motion.
Stretching helps reverse this by improving flexibility. It can also help manage low back pain and arthritis, plus reduce fall risks, improve posture, and increase energy levels.
Any type of class that gets the heart rate up and blood pumping faster is great for active adults. Whether it be an aerobic class, Zumba, or step aerobics, they’re all ideal for improving cardio health.
But a cardio class doesn’t have to mean high intensity. Slow and steady cardio classes are best for providing low impact movements that are less jarring on the joints.
Improving cardio health will health prevent conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Plus, cardio classes help control weight issues.
Exercise Classes for Seniors Benefits Both Body and Joints
Achy joints can actually benefit from exercise classes for older adults. It’s no longer an excuse for a sedentary life. In fact, regular exercise will help seniors start moving again in more ways than one. Ready to take your fitness to the next level? Contact us to find out which low impact classes are right for you!