Woman in tennis shoe walking for exercise

Ask Alicia: I want to start moving more, but can't do high impact exercising. Where do I start?

July 02, 2020

Walking outside would be my #1 recommendation. There are so many benefits to walking, both physical and mental, plus it is versatile and accessible for almost everyone. When you decide to walk, you can control your speed, distance, environment, temperature and whether you go solo or meet up with a friend. Furry friends are a great reason to get walking as well. 

 

Yoga is another great low impact exercise. Yoga means “union” or “to integrate”. It is the union of mind, body and spirit. The core of yoga is focusing on your breath. Proper breathing supports the stretching poses and flow routines. And learning to breathe properly has detoxification benefits as well. There is a wide range of yoga that caters to all fitness levels. At one end of the spectrum there is Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra. Restorative Yoga is like taking a relaxing nap. Yoga Nidra folds meditation, or guided relaxation, into the practice. On the opposite end you will find Vinyasa Flow and Yoga Shred. During Vinyasa Flow you use your own body weight to tone and strengthen as you move through a repetitive but engaged workout. Yoga Shred is low impact, but high intensity poses where you can add weights and really get your heart rate up. There are benefits to all styles of yoga. The best part of yoga is, you “own it”. It is called your yoga practice, because every time you step on your mat, you are practicing for your body, your >mind and your spirit. No letter grades are passed out, no goals to score or critics sitting in the corner reviewing your performance. It is simply the reward of knowing you are taking good care of yourself. 

 

What if you can’t fit walking or yoga in your schedule? I would consider adding intentional movement and strength training into your daily routine. Add ten calf raises when you are standing at the sink doing dishes or looking in the refrigerator for dinner supplies. Doing deep knee bends or squats when you pick up your child or dog toys off the floor. Using your non-dominant arm to water the flowers. When you go up or down the steps, repeat some steps or even an additional flight. A jug of water, grocery bags or your handbag can be used to fit in a few bicep curls. All of these small movements can add up and only take a few extra minutes during the day.  Plus, the awareness of doing micro workouts all day long may help you gain momentum toward starting a regular low impact routine. 


Lastly, strength training is low impact and especially important as you age.  After you turn 30, muscle mass starts to decline. Strong muscles help with bone density, flexibility and balance. You may even lose weight because your body will burn calories more easily, not to mention the confidence of feeling strong.  


The bottom line is to keep moving. A body in motion stays in motion. 

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