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Fitness For 45+ 7-Low Impact Exercises

Updated on November 16, 2014

Exercise Is Vital In Sustaining A Healthy Lifestyle

Middle-Aged Fitness Trials

The New York Times reports Americans are living longer from age 74 (1980's) to 78 (2012) but not necessarily better. In fact the morbidity factors increase (e.g. heart disease & diabetes) and the quality of life decreases.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the Cooper Institute in Dallas reviewed medical records from 18,670 middle-aged men (49 years old) and women who’d visited the Cooper Clinic for a checkup beginning in 1970. The patients were put on a treadmill on their first checkup to determine the degree of physical fitness (five fitness categories). The patients were all free of any diseases. Then with the patients permission, the researchers compared the patient medicare claims from 1999 to 2000. What they found was the bulk of the patients (as most Americans) were in the least fit section. Not surprisingly, the patients now in their 70's & 80's had developed one of eight serious or chronic conditions early in the aging process. These include heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and colon or lung cancer. Typically, the most "in shape" people lived with chronic illnesses for around the last five years of their lives, instead of the last 10, 15 or even 20 years from that of an inactive individual.

In a nutshell, the quality of your life will be determined by the amount of physical activity you engage in on a daily basis. The amount and type of exercises you increase, the chances of living a long, healthy, and enjoyable life will also increase. There are many ways to exercise, from climbing Mount Everest to chopping wood. Joining a gym is the most practical and sure fire way you can develop a routine and maintain a healthy lifestyle. A health club (gym) has many low impact exercises to choose from.

Resolve To Exercise

So easy we start out on a New Year's resolution (our intentions are good) yet our psyche continually tells us we don't have to "knock ourselves out." The brain tells us to take it easy, give it a rest, don't overexert yourself, etc. We must combat this way of thinking of not exercising to what we're going to feel like after we workout. My mind to this day continually tells me I don't need to exercise. I overcome this stumbling block by looking at the costs and benefits; low energy level, medical issues, and low self-esteem (if I don't workout), versus the immediate results of how I'll feel right after the exercise (if I do workout) with feeling great and having a "clean bill of health." The benefits of committing to at least 20 minutes of exercise per day is astronomical.

Unfortunately a vast majority of people give up exercising for various reasons and fail to "see" the long lasting benefits. The table below is a typical gym attendance pattern:

Gym Attendance (Dropout Rate)

(click column header to sort results)
After one month  
After three months  
After 6 months  
Attended <4 times
Attended 4-7 times
Attended 8-11 times
Winning the retention battle, Fitness Industry Association, 2001

The Art of the Hurdle and Stepping into the Gym

There's a hump we must all hurdle (routine of not exercising), we can get over this hurdle by establishing a mandatory daily routine of visiting our local gym. A gym membership will help you develop an exercise routine and positive mindset, and hopefully last you a lifetime. Like brushing your teeth, you might go one day without doing it, but the next day it's going to eat at you. You don't have to spend a lot of time exercising to get or see results, the results happen inside the body first.

It's important to realize, when we exercise, we are actually relaxing our brains, you'd think it'd be the opposite, not so. Endorphins are released in the body and trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. If you've ever been doped up on morphine (hospital setting), you'll know what I'm talking about, It's next to impossible to be stressed out. Chemical endorphins are also released in the body and interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. This is helpful for those who suffer from stiff joints causing severe pain.

Stepping into a gym and seeing others working out will inspire and motivate you (everybody looks at everybody working out and chatting it up). Think of it as a fitness support group. There are people there who are all shapes and sizes so you won't "stick out like a sore thumb." Health club members respect members who are trying to better themselves, like coffee houses, it's a positive atmosphere. Look for (join) a gym that has a pool, calendar of activities, clean, and is well lighted, not some two-bit, dark, dirty, sweat locker. Most gyms will run about $40 or less a month, "peanuts," compared to the benefits of good health (mental & physical) and the high self-esteem you'll attain.

Lap Swimming Is One of the Best Ways In Staying Fit

Weight and Mind Control...For Life

I used to wrestle in high school and from the age of 15 to 48 I've been obsessed with controlling my weight with exercise. I ran a marathon at 47 (in 4 hours), 6 months later I would suffer from injuries related to the over training (running long distances on the street). So I've switched to alternative forms of exercises (low-impact) which I believe will be an excellent source for both men and women over the age of 45. These effective exercises will increase energy, mind control, libido, and will help lose/maintain your weight. You can eat your pasta, cake, and have your fitness too! But stay away from the donuts:)

Swimming, hands down is the best form of exercise (least amount of impact to the joints), and has no lactic acid buildup (causing soreness in muscles). Swimming works all the muscles in your body and works the cardiovascular at the same time, it's the fastest way to lose weight and feel great. Although swimming for some, can be the most boring exercise of all the low-impact exercises. Chiefly because they don't have the right equipment (waterproof mp3 player & headphones) and don't have people to get involved with, some gyms have exercise classes in the pool (aqua aerobics) where you can make friends and enjoy yourself. Swimming also facilitates in faster recovery time from sore muscles (flushing out the actic acid) and may help prevent the recurrence of joint-overuse injuries (e.g. bursitis & tendinitis). If you don't know how to swim, your local YMCA has swimming lessons for a minimal charge. Once you learn how to swim, a pair of swim goggles, a swim cap, and some tunes (i.e. iPod Shuffle) is all you'll need to "kick some serious butt." But you have to practice and take the time to specifically swim "freestyle" laps, this form of swimming will engage just about every single muscle in the body as well as cardiovascular. Twenty minutes of this form of exercise in the pool will kick off a major amount of endorphins, making you feel mentally "ten-times" better guaranteed!!

Importance of Weight Training

It's also important to weight train. It not only strengthens and tones the muscles, it puts a load bearing on the bones, this helps strengthen the bones, thus preventing osteoporosis later on in life. Studies show that strength training over a period of time can help prevent bone loss -- and may even help build new bone-- not just walking or doing aerobics, but lifting weights can help protect your bones and prevent osteoporosis-related fractures. WebMD Archive

If you've never lifted weights before, start off with light weights, if you can afford it, they have trainers in the gym that will train you for around $60 an hour. Once you get the idea of how to train, you can save some money and develop your own routine. I've had a bad back for years (skiing accident) so there are certain exercises I use a weight belt for, or stay away from altogether (e.g. heavy squats). Each person is different, if you have a bad shoulder, knee or back injury, there are many different exercises you can choose from to compensate for the limited mobility. I've seen people workout in wheelchairs and crutches.

Elliptical Machine
Elliptical Machine

Who Uses the Gym?

Have you ever been a member of a gym and rarely used your membership?

See results

7 Most Common Low Impact Exercises

Exercises for Success:

  1. Swimming Laps
  2. Pool Walking / Water Aerobics
  3. Elliptical Machine
  4. Treadmill
  5. Stairmaster
  6. Cycling
  7. Walking around the block

Healthy Hearts are Smart

In Summary

Low Impact exercising has a vast array of possibilities and plays a major role in the quality of life you will live now and later on in life. Exercising boosts brain power, alleviates stress, reduces pain, gives you energy, can build relationships, ward off disease, lets you eat more, and boosts all types of performance. Daily exercising has benefits far beyond what I've mentioned here.

If you have any questions, feel free to reply and I'll be happy to get back with you. Take care.


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    • AJDonkin profile image

      Alexander Donkin 

      4 years ago from Newport News, VA

      Great hub....very informative!!!


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