What if you found out you only needed three exercises to fully work out the most important muscles in your body? Sounds like a good deal, right? Especially when you realize that these exercises can be tweaked or adjusted to your fitness level, and only require the human body and Mother Nature’s law of gravity.
Read on to learn more about how important it is to stay physically active as you age and which three exercises can give you the most bang for your buck, figuratively.
The Importance Of Physical Activity
If you’ve stayed moderately or even significantly active and fit as the years have gone by, good for you. But for exercise newbies, you don’t have to worry about doing anything extreme to reap the benefits of regular exercise.
The CDC recommends moderate aerobic activity (like walking), coupled with a strength training workout to maintain muscle mass. Both are crucial for avoiding injuries and certain health issues associated with advancing age.1
While aerobic activity could be easy to come by — think walking your dog to the park, gardening and yes, even Jazzercise — the very oh-so-necessary anaerobic activity or better known as strength training could be challenging for some. Here’s how you can get started without any special gear — just the muscles you already have.
Reap The Rewards Of Strength Training
Don’t be daunted by the idea of lifting a heavy weight or doing any complicated movements. Simply using your own body weight as a form of resistance may do wonders to help you:
- Build valuable lean muscle
- Support healthy metabolism and weight loss goals
- Maintain bone health and good balance.2,3
Regardless of your fitness level, it’s always best to consult both your doctor and a certified trainer or physical therapist before embarking on a new fitness challenge or adventure. Ask them about the moves below, and get the all-clear before you start exercising.
Even something as simple as learning how to sit and stand properly can strengthen your hip flexors, glutes, and upper thighs — complex muscle groups that are absolutely crucial in keeping us mobile, stable, and able.
And always remember “The more you move, the more you improve!” not only with this particular exercise,— but even the way you move in your everyday activities. So keep at it!4
- Pick a sturdy chair and stand directly in front of it with your hips shoulder-width apart.
- Gently bend your knees, slowly moving into a seated position by pushing your hips and
butt back into the seat of the chair.
- Simultaneously raise both arms in front of you to help keep your balance. Keep your
shoulders straight and engaged.
- Try to maintain control as your body makes contact with the chair. Don’t rest your weight fully on the chair — as soon as your butt touches the seat, try to stand up again fully. Use your ankles and legs to help you stand.
- Make sure you aren’t using momentum to stand up again. Avoid rocking or leaning back
and lifting your feet off the ground, or locking your knees as you stand.
- Do 12 repetitions, or as directed as your personal trainer.5
- Place your hands on your thighs if you need added support or stability.
- For a more advanced workout, try using hand weights.
You don’t need to lift heavy weights to do a typical bench press. There’s a way to get similar results and give your shoulders and chest a nice workout by doing some wall push-ups. This move is a great one for upper-body strength training.6
Having a strong upper body can help you better hold and carry everything you need to in your daily duties – but also ease you in and out of seats, vehicles, and down the stairs – protecting you from risking a fall or stumble.
- Stand a foot or two away from a solid wall.
- Place both hands on the wall at shoulder height. Make sure your hands are shoulder-
- Slowly lower your chest to the wall by bending your elbows. Keep your body stable and
in a straight line by keeping your core tight and your back straight.
- Allow your heels to leave the ground the closer you get to the wall. When your elbows
are fully bent, pause for a beat before pushing against the wall to return to your starting position.
- Do ten reps or as instructed by your personal trainer.7
- The closer you stand to the wall, the less of a challenge the push-up poses. Adjust your distance accordingly.
This movement can be done lying down, and it still stimulates the same muscle groups as doing a regular deadlift: Your glutes (butt), hamstrings, core, and lower back. This may help your flexibility and mobility, while also building strength in your lower body. If you sit for long periods of time in a day, the stretch feels pretty darn good!8
- Lie flat on your back. Rest your arms lightly by your sides. Slowly draw your knees up,
planting your feet flat on the ground and keeping them hip-width apart.
- Inhale, then slowly raise your butt up off the floor without curving your back or raising
your shoulders off the ground. Make sure your torso forms a straight line and you’re using your abs and your planted feet to hold you aloft. Hold this position for a few seconds.
- Lower your butt to the ground and exhale. Do 12 repetitions, or as recommended by
- If you feel this move is too easy, try lifting one leg and raising it straight in the air while you hold your glute bridge. The straighter and taller the leg is the more challenging the move becomes.
Try These Three Exercises Today
Whether you’re interested in trying some circuit training or interval training, or you just want to dedicate a few minutes each day to moving your body, chances are you’ll encounter these three classic exercises (or variations thereof). Get acquainted with them, add them to your daily workout routine(with your doctor’s approval), and start feeling stronger day after day.
CHALLENGE: Do as many as you can of each move RIGHT NOW. Then write down your numbers – and commit to trying to do just ONE MORE than that every day for the next 30 days. You will be amazed at what you can achieve.
6. https://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2016-01-29/8-best-equipment- free-strength-exercises-for-older-adults
7. https://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2016-01-29/8-best-equipment- free-strength-exercises-for-older-adults
8. https://www.coachmag.co.uk/glute-exercises/2333/glute-bridge-how-to-do-it-benefits-and- variations