It is no secret that at the Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) we often promote the benefits of regular physical activity as a way to stay healthy and happy. In fact, the CCA thinks it’s so important that we’ve created a free app:Straighten Up Canada! The app is currently available for download via Apple Store, and Google Play world. Featuring easy-to-follow exercises, it helps to improve your posture and allows you to stay active during your day!
Investing time to do activities or sports that you enjoy is key to healthy aging and an active lifestyle. Being physically active is often a good way to prevent and manage musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries as well as helping maintain strength and mobility. Varying your routine between high- and low-impact activities is a great way to modify your workouts and challenge the body. We’ve outlined some great suggestions for both so you can get up and get moving!
High-impact exercise is typically described as an (often aerobic) activity where both feet leave the ground at the same time1. Often, high-impact activities may include exercise classes which involve jumping, leaping, or jogging in place. Doing high-impact exercise can put you at greater risk of injury if your body is not prepared, especially if you’re just starting out. Be cautious and adapt to a lower impact version of the activity if in doubt. Otherwise, before starting high-impact exercises make sure you have warmed-up.
Good examples of high-impact exercises are:
- Jumping jacks
- Jumping rope
- Running or jogging on a treadmill (or outdoors)
- Performing plyometric exercises
High-impact exercises tend to be more intense and expend more energy, so it’s important that if you’re doing high-impact exercises that you’re well-prepared. For some, high-impact exercises are not appropriate: they may increase the risk of injury, commonly to the ankles, knees, hips, and even the back. That being said, high-impact exercises can have a lot of great benefits too2:
- Improves bone density
- Increases an individual’s heart rate more quickly, thereby burning more calories
- Improves a person’s stability, balance, and coordination
- Strengthens the heart and lungs
Low-impact exercise tends to be less jarring on the body and joints, and less intense overall. According to the American Council on Exercise, keeping at least one foot on the ground at all times also reduces your risk of musculoskeletal injury. Some examples include4:
- Working out on an elliptical machine
- Low-impact aerobics
- Using a rowing machine
- Home exercise
- Nordic walking
It’s important to realize that low impact doesn’t mean low intensity (unless purposely designed to be so) because you can still get an intense workout keeping both feet on the ground. Low-impact exercises are great for beginners, people with arthritis or osteoporosis, older adults, individuals who are obese, pregnant women, and people with bone, joint, or connective tissue injuries.
Whichever form of physical activity you choose, make sure you do it safely. Talk to your chiropractor if you have any questions. For more ways to get fit, check out Fit-in 15.
1Amy Gonsalves, “High Impact versus low impact.” Diabetes Outside blog. April 19, 2011. http://blog.diabetesoutside.com/?p=1060
2Paige Waehner, “High Impact Exercise—Is High Impact Exercise Right for You?” VeryWell.com. May 2, 2016. https://www.verywell.com/is-high-impact-exercise-right-for-you-1230821
3Nicole Nichols, “low impact vs. high impact exercise: Which is right for you?” SparkPeople.com. April 14, 2010. http://www.sparkpeople.com/blog/blog.asp?post=fitness_defined_lowimpact_and_highimpact_exercises
4NHS, “Easy exercises.” NHS Choices. Page last reviewed: 01/03/2016. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/Lowimpact.aspx
As summer approaches, sticking to an indoor exercise regime can be difficult as temperatures warm up. Running outdoors is a great way to take advantage of the weather, while keeping fit and improving energy and stress levels.
If you take your running routine outside, remember these 5 simple stretching tips to help avoid strains and pains.
|1. Upper Calf
Place your hands against a wall, or sturdy object in front of you. Stand feet comfortably apart, toes pointing forward. Put one leg back, keeping your heel flat on the ground. Gently bend the knee of the front leg, so your hips move forward and lean into your hands. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
You should feel the stretch along the back of the leg and below the knee.
|2. Lower Calf
Keeping the same position as the upper calf stretch, shift the foot of your back leg forward until your toes are just behind the heel of the front leg. Keep both heels on the ground and lower your hips by bending both knees. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
You should feel the stretch through the back of the ankle.
|3. Front of thigh
Standing near a sturdy object, place hand on it for balance and use your free hand to grasp your ankle or foot. Keeping your upper body straight, pull that heel up towards your buttock and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat the stretch for the other leg.
You should feel the stretch through the front of your leg.
|4. Back of thigh
Place one foot up on a low surface with your toes pointing upward. Place hands on that thigh. Keeping the leg on the ground straight, bend forward from the hips. Keep your lower back flat by bringing your chest towards your knee. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat with the other leg.
You should feel the stretch along the back of the front leg.
From the back thigh stretch position, bend your front knee so that the foot is on the edge of the surface. Placing hands on your hips, lean slightly forward over the bent leg. Keep the leg you are standing on straight. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat with other leg.
You should feel the stretch in the back of the hips and buttocks.
Follow these simple tips for a safe and pain free run. Remember, don’t overstretch and never stretch a cold muscle.
HEALTHY AGING: MAINTAINING YOUR MOBILITY
Maintain your mobility as you age with these stretches & exercises
Over the years, you can develop habitual ways of using your muscles to move and position yourself. Poor posture and a lack of flexibility may be the result of limited stretching and improper body alignment. With age, your muscles naturally tighten which can lead to poor posture1 and back pain. So, if you’re an older adult, it has never been more important to incorporate stretching and exercise into your daily routine in an effort to aid in good back health. You may already be doing stretches, but as you age it’s important to modify your stretch to minimize your chance of falling while performing them.
Here are three safe techniques older adults can utilize to keep limber:
Upper Body Stretch
Stand slightly further than arm’s length from a wall, facing towards it with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lean forward placing the palms of your hands against the wall, facing upwards. Slowly walk your hands up the wall until they are above your head, focusing on keeping your back straight.
Repetition: Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds. Slowly walk your hands back down the wall. Repeat at least 3 to 5 more times2.
Lower Back Stretch
First, lie on your back with your legs together, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Try to keep both arms and shoulders flat on the floor throughout the stretch. Keeping knees bent and together, slowly lower both legs to one side as far as you comfortably can.
Repetition: Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds. Bring legs back up slowly and repeat toward other side. Continue alternating sides for at least 3 to 5 times on each side3.
Sit securely towards the edge of an armless chair with your legs stretched out in front of you. With your hands holding the sides of the seat of the chair for support, keep your heels on the floor while bending your ankles to point your toes to the sky.
Repetition: Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds then release. Repeat 3 to 5 times4.
Provided by Dr. Luciano Di Loreto, HBSc., D.C. & Associates