Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do to stay physically and mentally healthy well into your golden years. Staying fit helps maintain bone density, improve balance, prevent injury, and reduce your risk of falling. At the same time, issues like chronic back pain, joint pain, or the effects of arthritis may kill your desire to exercise entirely. Luckily, by making simple modifications to your routine you can continue to stay healthy and active without pain. A good personal trainer or group fitness instructor can suggest ways to modify your routine to minimize discomfort, but if you’re exercising on your own, keep these principles in mind:

  • Bounce less. Choose low impact activities like walking, yoga, water aerobics or swimming. Eliminate jumping or any high impact movements that could cause pain.

  • Take it easy.  Slow and steady exercise is better than no exercise at all.

  • Support yourself. To minimize the risk of falling, use a wall or a chair for balance and stability.

  • Decrease resistance. You can strength train just using your body weight or very light weights, increasing the weight gradually as you gain strength.

  • Rest up. Your body needs time to recover after any new activity, so give yourself rest breaks between each activity.

The modifications you need will depend on the activity you’ve chosen, and the physical concerns you have. But by applying some or all of these guidelines, you can develop a safe and enjoyable exercise plan that keeps your body moving for years to come.