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Low-Impact Exercises for Seniors

In your younger years, exercises like running, tennis, basketball, hiking, and jumping rope might have gotten your heart pumping — both literally and figuratively. But as you grow older, it’s typically a good idea to shift to low-impact exercises that won’t take such a toll on your bones and joints. Not only do low-impact exercises reduce the likelihood of an injury, but also they can strengthen your muscles, increase your flexibility, lower your risk of heart disease, and more. Consult your doctor if you’re interested in adding physical activity to your routine, and then scroll down to explore some of our favorite low-impact exercises for seniors.

Low-Impact Exercises for Seniors


Too often overlooked as an exercise, walking provides an excellent aerobic workout. Wear supportive walking shoes, and walk for at least two to three miles at a moderately fast pace to see the most benefit.

Swimming & Water Aerobics

Sometimes called a “no-impact” workout, swimming is an ideal workout for people with back pain or joint pain. The water counteracts gravity, supporting your body and eliminating the risk of falling. You might enjoy swimming laps in the pool, or you could join a water aerobics class. Tone up while hanging out with old friends or making some new ones!

Yoga & Chair Yoga

Yoga can boost your flexibility, strength, and balance and may even reduce your likelihood of falling. Composed of a series of postures and breathing exercises, it’s a peaceful form of exercise that can improve your mood and reduce your anxiety. If you have mobility issues or simply want to start with a simpler workout, try chair yoga. It’s a gentle and accessible form of traditional yoga.


A full-body workout, pilates is often compared to yoga because it also involves slow, mindful, controlled movements and specific breathing techniques. But it places a greater emphasis on the core muscles of the body, which can improve your balance and stability. Core strength is especially important as we age, as the core muscles support the spine.

Tai Chi

Dating back hundreds of years, tai chi is a Chinese exercise that focuses on gentle and meditative movements. You slowly shift your body through the physical postures, and this strengthens your muscles, improves your balance and mobility, and enhances coordination. It has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.


Even if you’re not up for joining a traditional ballet class, you might enjoy barre, which is a form of exercise that centers around the muscle-strengthening aspects of ballet — not the performance aspects. You’ll feel the burn, but you’ll also enjoy guiding your body through the graceful movements. You might even feel a little like a ballerina!

Weight Training

Strength training is increasingly important as we age, as our muscle mass wanes over time without regular exercise. Add resistance to your workout routine using free weights or resistance bands, starting small and gradually building the intensity. Joining a class is recommended, as the trainer can ensure that you perform the moves safely and avoid progressing too quickly.


If you haven’t yet explored low-impact exercises for seniors, now is the perfect time to get started. Transitioning to low-impact workouts will benefit your body, and you may find a new favorite workout!

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