Summer weather is some of the best there is for enjoying low impact fitness options. You don’t have to go out each day and pound the pavement, beating up your knees, hips and back just to get a workout in. There are plenty of more gentle choices that can get your heart pounding and help you stay in shape. Here are some of the best low-impact summer fitness options for just about everyone:
- Swimming – Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for those suffering from joint issues and arthritis. It is gentle on your body and great for those stomach and shoulder muscles. Plus, it helps improve lung capacity. Start small with just 20-30 minutes and work your way up. Even using a kickboard and working just your leg muscles can have a positive impact.
- Water Aerobics – Some people just don’t like the monotony of swimming laps back and forth in the pool and prefer to be more social. Water aerobics is a great solution. When you become “unweighted” in the water, you gain mobility and stretching and strengthening exercises are less painful. Water aerobics usually includes bicep curls, arm circles and tricep kickbacks, which all help to build strength in your lower back and neck and reduce back pain. Many summer pools offer water aerobics or water walking classes.
- Walking – it’s not very exciting, but it is still one of the best low-impact exercises there is. It’s free, you can do it just about anywhere and it literally engages just about every muscle in the body. While you can start with leisurely strolls, your goal should be to get your heart pumping. You can alternate a fast pace for a minute, with a slower pace for two minutes. Gradually increase both giving your body a chance to recover. Make small lifestyle changes to encourage more walking, such as parking farthest away from the store or choosing the stairs instead of the elevator. During the hot summer months, it’s best to get out and walk in the early morning or later evening.
- Kayaking/Canoeing – Unlike high impact workouts like running and weight training, kayaking is a great low-impact exercise for summer. With proper kayaking form, paddlers can achieve a high endurance workout with very little impact to joints, bones, and connective tissues. It is kayaking’s low-impact appeal which makes the sport ideal for seniors with limited flexibility, individuals with arthritis or soft-tissue injuries, or individuals attempting to avoid chances of mechanical injury.