Getting started – low or zero impact activities for you
Here’s a statement which will make you take notice – ‘Sitting is the new smoking’. It’s a striking claim but one you suspect is correct and it certainly got me thinking about why it’s important to move.
And let’s face it most of us could stand to do a little more and we all know exercise is good for us. In fact, moving on a regular basis can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer by up to 50 per cent.
It can help us gain energy and strength, improve balance and coordination and relieve stress, anxiety and fatigue. It can lower blood pressure, improve mood, build aerobic fitness and help us maintain strong bones.
But what are the best low impact exercises to get you started? And what can we incorporate into our daily routines without really having to think about it?
I’m focusing on low or no impact exercise so even if you are just setting out on the road to better health and fitness, suffer from joint pain, bad knees, back problems or are recovering from illness, there should be something here for you. There is also less likelihood of injury with low impact exercise – and fewer excuses for giving up!
Brisk walking, whether it’s to work, with the dog or on the golf fairway, is a great place to start, but what about Nordic walking? It’s a full body exercise that’s easy on the joints and suitable for all and there’s a qualified instructor right here in Melton.
Swimming and water aerobics are great for lung function and blasting calories while dancing is a great way to
step your way to better health and have fun along the way.
If you want to harmonise mind, body and spirit try Tai Chi, yoga or pilates which are great for giving you that feeling of calm and improving your core strength, balance and flexibility. Bowls is a good way to both keep active and socialise.
At your local gym or leisure centre you will find plenty of low impact classes and activities on offer – from so-called ‘quiet cardio’ circuits and TRX (total body resistance) training to Zumba gold and chair aerobics as well as plenty of rowing machines and cross trainers.
At home all you need is a swiss ball, resistance band and ring (they all come with workout guides) to get you started, but if you prefer the ‘green gym’ get out in the garden.
If you love the outdoors why not try the exercise playground in Wilton Park, designed to provide gentle exercise in a lycra-free environment? And remember Rutland Water is on our doorstep if you’re looking for traffic-free cycling.
Whatever you choose to do remember any kind of physical activity counts and no move is too big or too small. Just think of it as taking the stairs rather than the lift.
But do take it easy and listen to your body – if it hurts, stop it!
And remember there are plenty of people out there, from health professionals to sports coaches (as well your friendly local sports shop), to turn to for advice if you are unsure of anything.