Low-Impact Sports for Maximum Health
Eating a well-balanced diet and regular exercise are the key components for healthy living, but when you have suffered an injury, your regular fitness regimen may no longer be possible or safe for you to follow. While low-impact sports are less demanding on the body, they still provide a significant workout for the body and can be a great way to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing.
What is a low-impact sport?
A low-impact sport is typically defined as an exercise that always requires one foot to remain on the floor or that the body is supported at times. They cause minimal trauma to the weight-bearing joints: the feet, hips and knees. As with high-impact sports, it is best to mix up your low-impact exercise regimen so that a greater variety of muscles are used to achieve maximum results.
Anyone can participate and enjoy low-impact sports. They can be enjoyed by anyone who is struggling with high-impact sports: the injured, the elderly, and the obese. So, whether you have developed arthritis, or your knee has started to flare up after a run, a low-impact sport can help you retain and build on your fitness without your body being negatively affected. Here are 3 gentler sports that can you can do to keep active and healthy:
Swimming is one of the best low-impact exercises that you can do. Your whole body is supported which reduces the stress on your joints and ligaments. It’s a great all-round activity, here are the key benefits of swimming:
- Improves endurance, muscle strength and flexibility
- Maintains a healthy weight, cardiovascular fitness and healthy lungs
- Trains your body to use oxygen more efficiently which means that injury is far less likely to occur, and any injury that you have will heal quicker as a result.
- Provides an all-body workout as nearly all muscles are used
- Reduces stress as swimmers experience a near-meditative state
- Lifelong activity – any age group can swim
Tip: Swimming in the sea releases cortisol, endorphins, and adrenaline which have increased therapeutic benefits.
Golf is a very popular and social sport that brings with it a variety of health benefits. For an 18-hole round of golf, the average golfer walks nearly 7 miles. Even the flatter courses can see players burning 1500 calories which is significantly more than a lengthy gym session.
- Improves balance
- Improves muscle stamina and flexibility
- Uses all muscle groups: arms, legs, back, and abdomen
- Improves cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic health
- Boosts endorphin and serotonin release
- Improves posture
Although golf is a low-impact sport, you use your muscles in ways that ordinarily you don’t, so it is important to warm up before a round of golf. The repetition of the movements can cause muscle strain and sprains if you are new to the game. Gently stretch your torso with side bends, and warm up your neck and shoulders with steady rolls; twist your waist to prepare for the game.
Tip: Invest in clubs that are tailored for your game so that they take the strain rather than your back. Fairway Woods are lightweight but will improve your performance too.
Cycling has become more and more popular over the recent years and has become a highly social activity that has great health benefits too. It gives you the opportunity to explore your locality, and enjoy the great outdoors, and for those people who enjoy competition, there are cycling clubs that you can join who take part in races. Cycling is a great low-impact sport because it can give you the chance to have as gentle or strenuous workout as you wish without causing any excessive stress on your body.
- Uses all the major muscle groups in tandem
- Improves stamina, strength and endurance
- Improves aerobic fitness
- Flexible workout option – you can work as hard as you want to
- Replaces sedentary modes of transport so its time efficient too
While cycling brings many health benefits, you must ensure that you make every effort to keep safe. Wear a helmet and high-visibility clothing so that motorists can easily see you, and always observe road laws.
Tip: Lightweight bikes can help you ride harder and faster by improving the power to weight ratio.
The benefits of low-impact sports are far-reaching. Whether you need to partake in them while your body heals from previous injury, or you are considering them for the long-term, low-impact sports give you the benefit of more traditional sports without causing undue stress on your body.