The elderly population is growing at an amazing rate--and while these people often stay physically active long into their lives, they typically need to use low impact fitness activities in order to achieve their goals. So, what exactly is low impact fitness, and how can it help you? This article gives a brief outline of low impact fitness, and discusses how this type of exercise can benefit you.
What Is Low Impact Fitness?
Before we actually begin to discuss how low impact fitness can benefit you, it is essential to understand exactly what it is. Low impact fitness activities are those that do not require you to place one of your limbs in contact with a hard surface. Typical examples of low impact fitness activities include things like swimming, biking or riding your bike. These types of exercises have numerous health benefits that can greatly increase the quality of your life.
1. Increased Cardiovascular Health
One of the most important benefits of low impact fitness is its ability to cause an improvement in your cardiovascular system. Research has found that participating in low impact fitness activities are the best way to treat and prevent the development of cardiovascular disease. This means that swimming, using an elliptical or riding your bike can be beneficial if you have been diagnosed with or are concerned about the development of heart disease. Be sure to consult with your doctor, nurse or health care professional if you have received a prior diagnosis of heart disease and are interested in starting a low impact fitness routine.
2. Decreased Damage to Joints
Decreased damage to joints is probably one of the most, if not the most, important reasons that people participate in fitness activities that are low impact in nature. Often, people are interested in losing weight, increasing their fitness level, or simply becoming more active, but a sore knee, hip or ankle restricts them from participating in typical exercises such as walking or jogging. Low impact fitness activities allow you to get the same benefits of more traditional forms of exercise without experiencing damage to these joints. Research has found that low impact fitness activities may actually promote the healing and recovery of damaged joints, thereby allowing you to return to higher impact activities in a timely manner.
3. Weight Loss
Finally, participating in low impact fitness activities is a great way to lose weight. One pound is composed of 3,500 calories; therefore, in order to lose one pound per week, you must eliminate 700 calories from your day. While many people often diet in order to cut calories, swimming, biking and using an elliptical can help to burn some of these calories, therefore requiring fewer caloric restrictions. Be aware that a 150 pound person can usually burn around 300 calories per hour riding a bike. Therefore, in order to lose one pound per week, you will need to cut an extra 400 calories per day from your diet and ride your bike for one hour each day.