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Low impact senior boot camp exercises

Aug 29, 2012, 8:28 a.m.
Healthy activity appropriate for your age and physical condition can take many forms.

Back in the day "boot camp" was the military Basic Training eight weeks of hell that turned young civilian men and women into soldiers. Now, with obesity slathering away at our nation's health, boot camp exercise has become a popular discipline focusing on cardio fitness, strength, endurance and wellness training. A quick search of the Internet for "boot camp exercise" reveals countless videos and web sites extolling the virtues of physical fitness training.

The problem is, too many of those physical fitness workout examples are high impact . Those are exercises where both feet leave the ground at the same time: running, jogging, skipping, rope jumping, hopping, etc. A 155 pound person simply walking across the room experiences 2.4 times his or her body weight -- about 375 pounds -- on the thigh bone (femur). Running and jumping dramatically intensify this load, which can lead to stress fractures and so-called "insufficiency fractures" usually associated with osteoporosis. ("Insufficiency" refers to the bone not being sufficient to withstand the stress placed upon it). So it's important for seniors to adjust their workouts to minimize these unhealthy loads on their bones by adopting low impact exercises.

Healthy activity appropriate for your age and physical condition can take many forms. Here are a few of the most popular low impact boot camp formats.

Water aerobics -- where you work out with foam "weights" under water.

Cycling -- it's a great way to get out and see the neighborhood up close and personal

Elliptical machine -- it keeps both your feet grounded so there's no shock wave transmitted through your body as you work out. For low impact, choose an elliptical over a treadmill every time.

Snow shoeing -- if you live in the right climate, strapping on a pair of snow shoes and walking is a great way to exercise.

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