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The lowdown on low-impact exercise
Get moving

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Experts recommend that you do moderate activity for at least 30 minutes a day, five or more days a week. If you’re having difficulty doing the full 30 minutes at one time, try going for a brisk 10-minute walk three times a day, five days a week. Keep in mind that getting the recommended amount of exercise doesn’t have to be jarring or strenuous. The goal is to make movement part of your daily routine and to have fun while you’re doing it.

New exercise trends are always popping up. From kettlebells and cardio tennis to power yoga and belly dancing, one thing is for sure: The benefits of physical activity are countless. But what if you have knee, back or other joint problems or you’re just not into all those complicated fitness routines? Then low-impact exercise is for you.

Aerobic exercise is constant movement that makes you breathe harder and forces your heart to beat faster as you take in more oxygen. Strengthening activities make your muscles stronger, cushioning and supporting your joints. Combine the two, while keeping one foot on the floor at all times to minimize joint stress, and you have low-impact exercise.

Low-impact exercise is ideal for:

  • women with arthritis, osteoporosis or other skeletal conditions
  • women who have injured their joints or bones and need to increase their flexibility and range of motion
  • postmenopausal women, to slow down the decline in bone mass
  • women who are overweight and want to get started in a gentle, effective workout routine
  • women who want to increase energy, relieve stress, improve sleep and ease depression

Get moving

Low-impact aerobic activities promote flexibility, improve balance and get your heart pumping while taking it easy on your joints. These include:

  • brisk walking
  • cycling
  • dancing
  • swimming
  • yoga
  • tai chi

Strength training, or resistance training, builds muscle and slows down bone loss, and is an important part of any exercise routine. Exerting force on your muscles and bones helps to strengthen them. Strength training includes:

  • lifting light weights
  • doing push-ups and squats
  • using resistance bands

Aim to do strength-training exercises at least two days a week to improve and maintain strength and endurance.