Fitness over 50: Five low-impact workouts that protect your joints (dodgy knees are so ageing!)

Get off the treadmill and on your bike (or in the pool, or on the rowing machine) if you want to get fit without putting stress on your knees.

Water Workouts: Swimming and AquaFIT

Swimming is a great workout that is low impact, versatile and burns a lot of calories. Whether you’re doing the butterfly or backstroke you’ll work all major muscle groups in your body including your glutes (the large muscles in your bum), abdominals and chest muscles. Freestyle, which tends to be the fastest stroke, can burn 100 calories every ten minutes.

You can do a total body workout in the AquaFIT Pro pool, including cardio, toning and core exercises, by using different bungees (giant elastic bands that provide resistance). Apart from exercising and shaping muscles, exercising in water helps with pain relief, improves sleep, loosens stiff muscles and stimulates lymphatic drainage (helping to combat cellulite).

Search online for AquaFIT classes in your area.

Low-impact wokouts. Elliptical trainer. Photo from Stocksy 400x531Elliptical trainer

In the gym, opt for an elliptical over a treadmill for minimal risk of knee damage. Because your feet never leave the pedals, there is less of a chance to put pressure on or injure your knees, back, neck or hips. You’ll also get your heart rate up, making you work up a sweat. And you can increase the resistant if you want to really test your endurance and work out to your max. 

Low-impact exercises. Rowing. Photo from Flickr CCRowing

Rowing is a great way to burn calories without putting stress on your knee joints. Not only will you get a total body workout, you’ll also maximise your core strength with every pull. On on indoor rowing machine, you can amp up the intensity by increasing the resistance while maintaining your speed for a real cardiovascular challenge.

A 15-minute flat tummy workout

Low-impact exercise. Fitness First. Indoor cycling. 620Cycling, indoors and out

Whether you prefer a stationary bike indoors or riding your bicycle outside, you’ll get a fat-burning workout that will gradually improve your knee flexibility and strength. To ensure you don’t put pressure on your knees, avoid hills and stick to a flat terrain. If you need to decrease any pressure on your kneecaps, raise your seat level slightly.

Low-impact workouts. Aerobics step bench. Photo from Flickr CCCardio step-ups

For a low-impact cardio workout, use an aerobic step bench. Step up on to the step with your right foot. Tap your left foot on the top of the step and then lower. As you step up, your knee should be directly over your ankle to protect your knees. Repeat ten times for an effective calorie burn.

 

I was clinically obese at 50; now I’m a fitness trainer