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The benefits of low-impact exercises and activities

Regardless of age, exercise remains a key component of a healthy lifestyle. But arthritis and reduced bone density can limit strength, flexibility and balance, so it’s important to participate in forms of exercise that don’t place too much stress on your body.

While you may not be able to engage in certain activities or play particular sports at quite the same level as once before, that doesn’t mean you should stop moving altogether. What matters now is how you get your workouts, not whether you participate at all.

To maintain a higher quality of life and a more independent lifestyle moving forward, you should guard against placing too much stress on your joints and bones. The kind of exercises and activities to consider include walking, yoga, indoor cycling, water aerobics, golf, lawn bowls, or Tai Chi (sometimes called ‘meditation in motion’). Each of these options can offer overall health and fitness advantages without being overly strenuous.

Here are some benefits of low-impact exercises and activities for older bodies…


Over time, low-impact movements can help strengthen your muscles and enhance muscle flexibility, which is absolutely essential to maintain a balanced, active lifestyle. Getting up and down stairs, going for scenic walks, and generally feeling independent – it all requires muscle mass and strength. Walking, water aerobics and yoga are gentle yet highly effective ways to maintain healthier, more limber muscles.


The risk of falls, often in the home, becomes higher as we age. Right now you might feel perfectly steady, which is fantastic, but that’s no reason to rest on your laurels. Playing sports like golf and lawn bowls can help you hold on to that sense of balance and coordination, which in turn could help prevent an unfortunate and potentially dangerous stumble when you least expect it. Plus, sharpening your concentration and mental acuity through enjoyable physical activities could help reduce the risk of dementia.


Aside from the obvious physical benefits, exercise is also an elixir for reduced stress and anxiety. It lowers levels of the body’s stress hormones – such as adrenaline and cortisol – while stimulating the production of endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that elevate your mood and act as the body’s built-in painkiller. The other advantage of sport and exercise is that it encourages social interaction and boosts self-esteem, keeping you mentally as well as physically active. Interacting with your peers in group activity situations is soothing for the mind, body and soul. Yoga is once again a great way to relax and unwind, but don’t forget about Tai Chi, which research has even linked to treating health problems like high blood pressure and depression.

Further indirect benefits of the right forms of exercise include stimulating a healthier appetite and promoting a better night’s sleep. Remember, low-impact activities can mean high-impact results for your overall health and wellbeing.