The Office of Public Relations and Strategic Communications at the University of Kentucky offers a weekly health column that can be used and reprinted by the media. This week’s column is by Dee Dlugonski, Ph.D., assistant professor of sports training at the UK College of Health Sciences and coordinator of the Active Women’s Health initiative with the UK Sports Medicine Research Institute.

LEXINGTON, Kentucky (November 7, 2022) As you age, it’s important to create healthy habits and make exercise a priority in your daily life. It’s never too late to start! Regular physical activity and exercise helps improve mental and physical health, which can help you maintain your independence as you age.

Low impact exercises are a great way to get your heart rate up and stay active without putting too much stress and strain on your body and joints, making them ideal for people with arthritis, mobility or pain.

Low-impact exercises can fall into four categories: endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance. Incorporating all four types of exercise into your routine helps reduce the risk of injury and keeps you from getting bored.

Here are some low-impact exercise ideas that will help jump-start your fitness journey:

While walking. Experts have said that walking might be the best exercise for older people. It is an effective way to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Getting out on the trails and breathing in the fresh air is also hugely beneficial to your mental health.

Swimming. Also known as “no impact” training because the buoyancy of water counteracts gravity. For people with back pain or joint pain, swimming or even water aerobics is a great way to tone up and slim down.

Yoga. Yoga helps with flexibility, strength and balance and improves your abdominal muscles, which are essential for stability and coordination. It can also help reduce the risk of falling.

Strength training. Using small dumbbells or resistance bands during a workout presents a low-impact way to increase your overall strength.

No matter what type of exercise you choose, talk to your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you to participate in it. Start with a small goal and increase once you see some success. Above all, find an activity you enjoy and have fun while reaping the benefits of an active lifestyle!