Some people think the only type of activities that have great value are high-impact exercises such as running, soccer and cardio exercises classes. Although these are all great ways to help an individual become physically fit, there are many reasons why low impact exercises are important and as such, are an essential component of any exercise plan.
Types of Low Impact Exercises
Low impact exercises are indispensable for those who are seeking to prevent injury and those who are recovering from injury. Low impact exercises such as stretching, isometrics, yoga, Pilates, weight training, swimming, stationary bicycling and even ballet warm-up exercises offer a variety of benefits including:
- improved balance,
- increased muscle strength,
- improved tone and appearance of muscles,
- increased coordination,
- increased cardiovascular capacity
- and a higher level of overall fitness.
The Benefits of Low Impact Exercises
For anyone who is already physically active, improving balance, coordination and strengthening muscles will help them attain a higher level of physical fitness. For example, stronger muscles leads to a greater ability to run longer distances, and increases in balance and coordination help fine-tune the movements of soccer players in their game.
For those who are recovering from injury, any low impact exercises such as swimming or using a stationary bike, helps them maintain or even increase their cardiovascular capacity and allows them to stay physically fit while recovering. This is particularly important when their current injury most likely prevents them from more strenuous activities. Proper stretching and strengthening of muscles help individuals recover faster from certain injuries, while other low impact exercises help to improve balance and coordination, which is necessary to heal from other types of injuries.
Patients who are recovering from an injury need a plan prepared by medical professionals. Of course, you will need clearance from your physician in order to start any type of physical therapy or recovery plan. Most likely a physician will write a prescription for physical therapy as a series of appointments or for a certain number of weeks. A physical therapist will perform an evaluation and make out a treatment plan for the patient. Depending on the injury, the treatments will most likely including stretching, strength training, balance exercises and some isometric exercises. As the patient progresses in their treatment, the physical therapist may recommend more strenuous activity such as swimming and some yoga or Pilates-like exercises. Exercise bands and fitness balls may also be incorporated to provide additional avenues of low impact exercises that help increase balance and coordination.
A Lifetime of Fitness
Other groups that greatly benefit from low impact exercises are the middle-aged and seniors. Particularly for those who have been sedentary for most of their lives, low impact exercises are a great place to start when deciding to become more active. As a person ages, their muscle strength and balance and coordination mechanisms tend to decline. Many people take these abilities for granted only to find themselves injured from falling while attempting basic movements like climbing a flight of stairs or trying to pick up an item from the floor. Participating in low impact exercises helps older people increase their level of strength, balance and coordination, which can help prevent serious injury from falls or missteps.
Any professional athlete understands the value of utilizing low impact exercises in order to fine-tune their performance. The average fitness buff and those seeking to regain their health and strength after injury will also come to appreciate the benefits offered by low impact exercise. For more information on the benefits of low impact exercises, please contact us.