The human body is made to move, and physical activity is a requirement for lifelong health. But exercise-related injuries are a significant concern that few people think about until it’s too late. Even a mild sprain can sideline an athlete for weeks, and a sports-related injury can be debilitating for an older adult. By no means should you avoid physical activities altogether, but if you want to reduce your risk of injury while simultaneously getting fit, then the following exercises are just what you need.
Walking is associated with both long life and a reduced risk for medical-related expenditures—and a recent study found that brisk walking is especially healthy. Yoga also garners some shout-outs as a low-risk, high-reward form of physical activity. If done correctly, you can receive many benefits in terms of strength and flexibility.
For fitness enthusiasts who recoil at the idea of a life filled with long walks and yoga, there are ways to lower the injury risks associated with more intense, high-impact sports. The first tip may induce some yawns. But experts say a moderate approach to any sport or workout is a good way to avoid getting hurt. Don’t overtrain and make sure to stretch.
Taking it easy at the start and slowly working your way up to more intense workouts is another safety measure. If you’re intent on running a half-marathon, for example, sign up for next year’s—not this year’s—and try to mix in some other non-running forms of exercise (swimming, yoga) to build your strength and endurance.
Finally, if you want to avoid injury, don’t neglect your core. Whether it’s through Pilates or gym machines, doing exercise that targets your upper and your lower back, obliques, and abdominal muscles can do wonders for your overall health.
All that said, if you’re looking for safe, healthy activities that will lower your risks for injuries—as well as for disease and mortality—easy-on-your-body activities like walking, yoga, and swimming are great options.