When you think about exercise, it’s so easy to assume that it has to be pushing yourself to your limits, feeling the burn and getting really sweaty and out of breath. But while that kind of activity is great, there are plenty of reasons why you might want something a little more mellow. Perhaps you’ve been inactive for a while and are building up your fitness from scratch, or maybe you have a health condition that takes high impact and high energy activities off the table. You might already do a lot of cardio, but are looking for something during your ‘rest days’ which is a little lighter. If so, you’ve come to the right place, here are some examples of low impact activities you could try.
Many people find that golf is a fantastic way to get some fresh air and some light exercise. There’s a fair bit of walking involved (even if you use a golf cart) and swinging the club helps to work out your muscles. Golf has been shown to improve balance, strengthen muscles and it’s generally a enjoyable hobby that doesn’t require you to break a sweat or push yourself too hard.
Swimming is ideal for anyone who struggles with high impact activities because the water supports your weight. But as long as you can swim, it’s suitable for anyone and burns a crazy amount of calories. Swimming uses and tones just about every muscle in the body and there’s plenty of ways it can be adapted for those with disabilities. If you never learned how to swim when you were young, set a goal to do it as an adult. There are lots of clubs that can teach you in a safe and enjoyable way, then you can head down to the pool whenever you like.
Yoga and Tai Chi
Some of the benefits to both yoga and tai chi include increased flexibility, improved muscle strength, improved bone health, better posture, boosted immunity and even drained lymph which reduced swelling and inflammation. They might be very different practices but there are plenty of similarities. While both strengthen the body, they’re also very focused on calming the mind and so are great from a mental health point of view as well. Tai Chi For Health Institute states that those who practice become like a tree or river, calm on the outside, but full of internal strength. Both activities are something that all ages and abilities can enjoy, since you can start small and build your way up.
Walking is perhaps one of the most underrated exercise. As well as being a great way to get from A to B, walking is low impact while burning calories and building lean muscle. It’s easy and accessible and something most people can do, it’s free and you don’t need any special equipment. Check out walking trails which often run alongside cycle trails. You could go on family walks or hikes with your dog. You could go on romantic walks down the canal, on the beach or to the park with your partner. Once your fitness builds, start walking places which have more hilly terrain for a harder workout.