Bad days of injured or inflamed joints can send anyone running (figuratively) and screaming from any kind of exertion, but as you probably know that’s not the best way to cope with them.
Movement is crucial for maintaining our overall health and can improve joint health. Low-impact exercises incorporate smooth and fluid movements during which you normally keep at least one foot on the ground, reducing any strain on your knees, ankles and other lower-body joints.
Whether you’re rehabbing from an injury, suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or another condition or just starting to work out and want to build up slowly, here are some of the most effective low-impact exercises you can use to keep yourself in action.
- Walking — The easiest form of exercise to get into, and one of the best. It’s also easier to level up its intensity without breaking into a run by wearing ankle weights or a waist belt or holding a set of dumbbells as you stroll.
- Swimming — From water aerobics to 100 meter butterflies, this has always been a natural go-to for people who need to stay off their knees, and it burns more calories than running the same distance because it requires more physical effort.
- Tai chi — This gentle, flowing form of exercise incorporates breathing exercises and improves your cardiac capacity, balance, stamina and agility. It’s also frequently deployed as a stress reducer and many people regard it as “meditation in motion.”
- Strength training — This can be hard on * your joints if you’re lifting more weight or resistance than your body is ready for, but having stronger muscles takes a lot of pressure off them, so it’s important to carve out some time for squats (as low as you can go without feeling pain), arm circles, bicep or hamstring curls and more as long as they aren’t making you hurt.
- Pilates — All its movements are designed to be low-impact while strengthening your muscles and your control over them. Your balance, flexibility and muscle tone also will be improved. Its emphasis on your core will help your posture, which in turn can seriously reduce back pain.