Exercise has physical and emotional benefits, such as reduction in stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, reduced insulin resistance and lower blood pressure. However, what benefits one woman may not benefit another. If you have hypertension, back and muscle issues or if you are pregnant or obese, you may benefit from non-strenuous exercise instead of intense exercise. Your healthcare provider can provide exercise guidelines for you.
Variable Intensity Exercises
Many types of exercise qualify as non-strenuous when performed at moderate or light intensity. Walking, biking, dancing, swimming and rebounding fit this category. If you can talk while exercising, the intensity remains low enough for it to be non-strenuous. Swimming and water aerobics, for example, provide cardio and strengthening components without stressing your joints or your heart. Walking or biking on treadmills or stationary bikes in an air conditioned gym may better benefit those with severe allergies, respiratory concerns and other medical conditions than walking or biking outdoors, especially when the weather isn’t mild.
Exercise Therapy Forms
Yoga, Pilates, tai chi and qigong all qualify as non-strenuous exercise. You can take a class in these exercise forms and benefit from the assistance of an instructor who can teach you proper positions and techniques. The slow, fluid movements of these exercise therapies, and the emphasis on proper breathing and posture, offer benefits to women of all fitness levels and conditions. Once you learn the skills, you can do them on your own or continue to participate as a class member.
Stretching isn’t strenuous and helps you maintain flexibility and range of motion. You should stretch following a warm-up and before doing moderate exercise, such as walking, biking and swimming. You don’t need equipment to do such stretches as pelvic tilts and rotations, leg and arm raises, neck and shoulder rolls, lumbar stretches and spine twists, but you may benefit from using an exercise ball, a pillow, a mat or stretch bands when you stretch. Remember to only stretch as far as you find comfortable to prevent strain or injury to your muscles.
Many strengthening exercises, such as bicep curls and bicep rows, and other moves you can do with stretch and resistance bands, are non-strenuous. Strengthening builds muscle and bones. As with variable intensity exercises, you can increase speed and weight enough to make strengthening exercises strenuous, but you will benefit from mild to moderate intensity and reduce the risk of injury. Hand-held and ankle weights and resistance bands add strengthening components to walking, stretching and rebounding. Exercise in water increases strength, and you can increase resistance using hand-held weights and ankle water weights, kickboards and water gloves.
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- Complete Guide to Pilates, Yoga, Meditation and Stress Relief; edited by Penguin Publishing
Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.