Exercising does not have to be a no-pain-no-gain endeavor. While you should feel like you’re working your body – and may feel a little discomfort – exercising should not hurt. If running makes your knees, hips and back feel like you’ve been in a car accident, you may need to opt for low-impact activities. These types of exercises are easier on your joints and can not only help you lose weight, but they can also help keep your joints strong and flexible.
As with any physical activity, warming up your body is crucial. Start with simple movements such as bending to touch your toes, shoulder shrugs, overhead stretches, side bends and arm circles. Repeat each anywhere from three to five times to warm up your joints and muscles.
Walking is the easiest and most popular form of low-impact exercises. Put on a pair of sneakers, warm up, and you’re ready to get started. No special equipment is needed, and you can do it anywhere – in your yard, in a park, on a track or anywhere else you feel safe. Walking can also be tailored to your activity level and goals. If you are immobile, you can walk in place while sitting in a chair!
Strength training is a wonderful way to help keep your bones healthy because it is weight-bearing. Adding two or three twenty- or thirty-minute sessions a week will go a long way to seeing results in one to three months. Start with light dumbbells or resistance bands and work each major muscle group.
Other Low-Impact Exercises
In addition to walking and strength training, there are a variety of exercises that are good for your joints.
- Elliptical Machines
- Recumbent Cycling
- Swimming and Water Aerobics
- Tai Chi
Before You Begin
As with beginning any nutrition or fitness routines, or if you experience any pain during exercise, talk with your doctor. If you are looking for more ideas for exercises to help you lose weight and burn fat, check out our recommendations here.