Exercise · Low-impact workout · Weight loss · Workout

Low Impact Exercises for a Healthier Body

Exercise is a vital component to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and there are plenty of options out there. Low impact exercises are great alternatives for people who can’t engage in more strenuous activities due to physical limitations or age. Whether you’re an adult over the age of 50, someone with limited mobility, or just looking for low impact exercises to add variety to your regular routine, this post will provide insight into the benefits and options associated with these types of workouts.

What are low impact exercises?

Low impact exercises involve less strain on your joints than high impact exercises such as running and jumping. Examples include walking, biking, swimming and water aerobics. These are all excellent ways for people with joint issues or limited mobility to stay active without putting too much stress on their bodies.

This is the main reason I chose to find a workout I can do. Age and knee injuries as a young adult have taken their toll. High impact exercise just doesn’t work for me.

Who can benefit from low-impact exercise?

Low-impact exercise is beneficial for everyone but it is especially useful if you have joint issues or other physical limitations that prevent you from engaging in high-impact exercise. It can also be beneficial if you’re trying to build strength without the risk of injury or strain on your joints. If you’ve been inactive for a while due to life circumstances, low-impact exercise is a great way to ease back into fitness without risking injury by doing too much too soon.

Do low impact exercises burn calories?

Yes! Low-impact exercise can still be effective when it comes to burning calories and building strength. Depending on the activity and intensity level, these types of workouts can help you reach your fitness goals just like any other type of workout. However, because they put less strain on your body, they may take longer than high-impact workouts such as running or weightlifting to see results.

I personally don’t count calories but I do know I burn more during a low-impact workout than I do just walking. My Fitbit tells me how many calories I burn over the course of the day, and the graph gives me a further breakdown on how many I burn each hour. The photo below is from today (December 5, 2022). I burned 1731 calories so far, and the spikes were while I was doing my mini workouts. The lows were while I was sitting at my desk working on my computer.

Spikes were during my workouts.
How long should each workout be?

The amount of time you spend working out depends on the type of activity and intensity level you choose. It’s okay to start with 10 minutes once or twice a day, and go up from there. Any amount of activity is better than none. The goal is to get your heart rate up, and believe me when I say low-impact workouts will do just that. No matter what you choose to do, it’s important to consult your physician before starting, especially if you’ve had surgery, have been ill, or have a medical condition.

Wrapping It Up

All in all, low-impact exercise is an excellent way for people who have physical limitations. Or for those who simply want an alternative form of exercise to stay active without putting excess strain on their bodies. With so many different types of activities available such as walking, biking, swimming and water aerobics, there is something available for everyone regardless of their current fitness level or physical abilities. Plus these types of workouts still offer the same calorie burning and muscle building benefits.

Have you heard of or tried low-impact workouts? Let me know in the comments below.

Exercise · Workout · Yoga

Creating a Space for Your Yoga and Workouts

I don’t know about you, but I find it’s easier to stick to a workout routine when the space is ready to go whenever I am. It’s easy to just say “I’ll do it later” when there’s some prep work needed to do a workout or yoga.

Yoga Benefits

Before I get started with creating your space, I want to share some of the benefits yoga has to offer.

Firstly, it can greatly improve flexibility. You may not be able to put your feet behind your head the first day (I know I can’t), but if you work at it it’s a possibility. Truth be told, I’m not even sure I was that flexible as a kid. My luck I’d probably get stuck in that position. 😀

Secondly, it can improve balance. I don’t know about you, but I find the older I get the more my balance seems off. Some days I’m afraid to get up on the stepstool to reach things; especially if there’s nothing close by to steady myself. I’m looking forward to not having to worry about teetering to one side or another.

Thirdly, it can improve posture. I am the first to admit my posture isn’t the greatest, and sitting at my computer for hours sometimes doesn’t help my cause one bit. The poses focus on posture, breathing, and steadiness, so I see it as a win no matter what.

There are other benefits as well, such as weight loss, mindfulness, strength, and more. I’ll get into more of those as time goes on. For now though I’m going to get on with what you’ll need.

Beneficial Equipment

When it comes to yoga, you really don’t need any equipment, but having a few things is definitely helpful.

If you’re going to invest in anything yoga, I suggest a good mat. There are several on the market, but they’re not all equal.

I have two types, and I prefer one over the other. If I could find the features of both in one mat I’d be happy. The first one is thicker, but is made from a smoother material, which means it slides all over. The second is my preference, although it’s thinner. It does, however, have a non-skid design. That in itself is a plus, because I really don’t like my feet sliding out from under me. I’m in search of a thicker, wider mat with the non-skid design.

Both of mine are standard size (6′ X 2′), but if you can get one that’s a little bigger I say go for it. The length is okay because I’m short, but it could be just a little wider. As it is now, when I lay on it my arms are generally touching the floor unless I have them pulled in close. Not a good size for a taller person, or if they’re a plus size.

Something else I recommend is a yoga block or two. If you don’t have one, a rolled up towel does the trick too, but I prefer the block because it doesn’t shift or unroll. It’s great for knee support and also head support when doing the on-your-side poses. I only have one block, but will be adding another to my arsenal in the not-too-distant future.

Aside from a yoga hammock (something I’ll get into in more detail in a future post), the mat and block is all I use. I haven’t invested in anything else as of yet, aside from resistance bands. I haven’t used them during my yoga practice though, so will leave them out of the equation for the time being. (I have used them as part of some shoulder exercises I needed to do for physiotherapy though.)

My mat and block; cat destruction not visible.
Preparing Your Space

When it comes to your space, you want it to be warm and comfortable. Temperature is a key component of an enjoyable yoga session. You don’t want to be in a drafty or cool room, because you won’t be able to fully relax if you’re shivering.

You also want it to be spacious enough to accomodate a mat, room for stretching out, and an extra foot or two for the lunges and warrior pose. And I don’t know about you, but no matter what I’m doing, I usually end up off the mat at some point during a yoga session or workout.

Designing The Space

As mentioned in the space prep above, you want enough room for movement. You’re also going to want it to feel welcoming and relaxing. If you’re fortunate enough to have a room dedicated to your yoga, you can paint and design it as you see fit. However, my guess is you’re taking up a corner of the living room or space in the bedroom to do your workouts. If that’s the case, read on to see how you can add comfort and style.

Adding Comfort & Style

Whether you have a room or just the corner of one, it’s important to be able to get into the ‘zone’ when it comes time for yoga or your workout. By adding a big cushion or two, an area rug (if you have hard flooring), an essential oil diffuser (or candles), and a folding screen (especially for shared spaces) you can create a welcoming space. Add a sound machine or turn on your music of choice, and get your yoga (or workout) on.

Although my new house is spacious, I have chosen to set up my space in my bedroom. The master suite is 16′ X 19.5′ so I have plenty of room for my bed, dressers, and workout area. Plus, if I have company coming over I don’t need to put anything away; just close the door. I also chose my bedroom as it is one of the warmer rooms in the house, especially now that winter is here.

Cleaning & Maintenance Tips

When it comes to cleaning your workout space, you don’t need to do anything aside from regular washing/vacuuming of floors, giving your mat a wipedown at least weekly (and more often if you’re getting your sweat on), and wiping down your blocks and other equipment. If it’s just you using it, a simple solution of vinegar and water or a mild cleaner is sufficient. You could use a sanitizing spray, but soap and water is fine.

If you’re sharing the space with others in your household, keep mats rolled up and tucked away. Using a laundry basket or hamper is ideal to keep your mat and equipment in so you and others aren’t tripping over it whenever you turn around. Just a word of advice: if you have cats put your mat in a bag of some sort to protect it. They love using yoga mats as scratching posts. (My cats now live outside, but when they were little they chose my yoga mat over the cat tree they were supposed to be using. And as I was taking the picture for this post, I realized my block has also seen some of their wrath.)

Wrapping it Up

Beginning yoga is one of the easiest things to do, and least costly. Having a designated space is nice, but the middle of your living room will work just as well. Get out your mat, blocks (or rolled towels), and music…and get your yoga on.

I’ll be going into detail on poses within the next couple of posts, but if you’re ready to start now there are plenty of videos on YouTube. (I’ll be linking to my own videos as I record them.)

Do you have a designated space for yoga and workouts, or do you have to share the space with others in your household? Let me know in the comments below.

Exercise · Weight loss · Yoga

Welcome to 50 Something Yoga!

Hi there, and welcome to 50 Something Yoga!

I have started this blog for two reasons:

1. To help others improve flexibility, lose weight, and enjoy their workouts; and 

2. To share my own journey from the ground up.

Now before I get into it, I want to say that I’m not a yoga instructor or fitness trainer of any sort. Doing any of the exercises and poses I discuss is at your own risk. If you’re concerned about starting a new program, please consult your healthcare provider.

I just want to lose some weight and get in better shape, so it’s time to take my health into my own hands. And it’s time to become a more fit, healthier version of myself.

Truth be told, I do not like an exercise program that leaves me achy and unable to move for days after. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one either. Most exercise programs I have tried do not work well with my bad knees and hips. The high impact stuff just doesn’t work for me, and I feel worse instead of better.

I’ve done yoga off and on over the years and it has helped when I’ve been consistent. The downside was I let everything else in life take precedence, and am pretty much back to square one. Now that I’m 54 1/2ish, getting back in shape is even harder; but I know it’s not impossible.

Now for a little background information that has led me to where I am. On May 5, 2020 I became a widow. I was in shock, disbelief, and suddenly on my own.

I resigned from my job, spent my days crying, angry, and alone. My kids tried to be with me when they could, but they had jobs and lives of their own. Plus they were also grieving the loss of their step-dad, so it wasn’t easy for them either.

I initially lost about 20 lbs, but none of it was a healthy loss. Sometimes cereal was just easier to eat than to make a meal for just one. I lost my desire to cook, and even when I did I didn’t eat much of what I made.

Fast forward to November 2022. I’m in a relationship, became a grandma in March, sold the home my late husband and I shared, and bought an acreage in a different county: most of the changes happening this year. And somewhere along the way, I gained back all I lost plus some extra.

As I adjust to my new life in my new home it’s also time to put myself first. And if I want to keep up with my granddaughter, I need to lose some weight and become more fit.

My journey started around the third week of November when I came across some low impact workouts. I have combined them with yoga, and am beginning to notice a difference even after a short time.

My goal with this blog is not to tell you what should work, but to show you what actually does. And what better way than to document it as I go? 

I’d love for you to join me in my journey, and walk with me every step of the way.

Here I am at 5’4″ and 180 lbs on November 28/22.

My first milestone is to be at 175 lbs by Christmas.

Where are you in your weight loss and/or flexibility journey? Let me know in the comments below or email me at info@50somethingyoga.ca if you prefer.