For one reason or another, not everyone is able to work out at a gym or do high impact workouts. Illnesses can restrict a person’s ability to work out as hard as they would like, and injuries can keep you sidelined from high impact workouts. However, it is still good to work out in whatever way you can. There is a variety of types of exercise equipment available, at all intensity levels. Let us take a look at some of the available low impact options, which are especially good for those of us over the age of 50.
Elliptical Machines and Treadmills
Elliptical machines perform a similar function to treadmills. However, one of the big differences that make them an lower intensity workout is that you do not lift your feet from the platforms, and therefore do not place as much stress on joints and bones from the impact of stepping. They can be more difficult to get going than treadmills, however, as they require strength to push and get started. They also require more balance than treadmills, and if balance is an issue then ellipticals could potentially be dangerous. All that being said, elliptical machines are my personal favorite equipment for low-impact workouts.
Stationary bikes are a very good option for low impact workouts. There are a variety of designs available. Some are designed to feel like a normal bike, leaning forward while pedaling beneath the seat. Some, alternatively, have a seat with a backrest, where you pedal in front of you. This may be a better option for those with back issues, as it places less strain on your back. One reason that stationary bikes are good is that while you can do a higher intensity workout, you can also lower the resistance and pedal more slowly to ease strain on your body.
Rowers are another low-impact option. While a rower is capable of being a higher-intensity workout, it is low impact for the body. It strains back muscles and the cardiovascular system a little bit more, but if that is not an issue then rowers are a very low-impact exercise. They provide a very good workout that remains fairly low-impact.
Stepping/Climbing Stair Machines
Stepping and climbing machines are two varieties of stair machines. In stepping machines, you move platforms that your feet rest on up and down. Another type of stepping machine involves swinging your feet back and forth, with platforms connected to handles you hold. With climbing machines, you step up stairs that continuously rotate around and provide you with a new step. Climbing machines are higher impact than stepping machines, but they remain fairly low impact.
Chair gyms provide a workout system that people can do while sitting in a chair. Exercises that you do while standing and moving around, that are higher impact and/or higher intensity, might be more effective, but not everyone is able to do those for one reason or another. Chair gyms are an alternative. Many of them have resistance bands that are attached to various points of the chair that allow for low intensity workouts without having to stand. This could be a good option for people who are limited in their ability to stand and move around while working out.
Low impact workouts are important. Even when you are sidelined from high intensity workouts due to injury, or if illness prevents you from doing what you might like to do, or even just if you do not enjoy high intensity workouts, you can do low impact workouts to at least help yourself keep healthier. Just doing low impact workouts that help your cardio for a bit when you can is better than not doing anything, and in fact low-impact workouts can still be done at a challenging level. The equipment described in this article is a good start for figuring out the types of equipment and the types of exercise that you can use and do in low impact workouts. As with anything that impacts your health, make sure to talk to your doctor to be sure that you are not taking any risks you should not take.
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