As we age, our muscles, bones, and joints may weaken, leading to frailty and a lower quality of life. Women over 50 are especially susceptible to these changes due to menopause.
However, there are ways to take control of your fitness and retain muscle, bone, and joint strength. In this article, we'll explore five resistance workouts that are effective and provide the benefits you can expect from each.
Rachel MacPherson, CPT, recommends incline push-ups to build chest, core, and arm strength without aggravating your joints. Incline push-ups can protect your spine, neck, and shoulders from pain and injury while enhancing daily functioning. Simply space your hands wider than your chest and perform a push-up with your upper body leaning against an elevated surface such as a weight bench or sofa. The higher the incline, the easier the exercise will be.
Lunges are a versatile exercise that can work a range of muscle groups depending on how you perform them. According to MacPherson, performing lunges backward, forward, to the side, and diagonally can work your muscles, balance, and stability in several planes of motion. After taking a large step in the direction of your choice, keep your back straight and your chest high. Bend your knee and aim to complete as many reps until you feel that you cannot complete another one comfortably. Lunges can also help prevent falls and instability by stabilizing your muscles and joints.
Banded or Cable Face Pulls
Banded or cable face pulls can strengthen the rear shoulders and upper back, which are often weakened and stretched due to a sedentary lifestyle. To do face pulls, simply anchor a band or cable over your head and grasp the handles, pulling the band toward you until your elbows are far back as you can manage comfortably. Squeeze your shoulder blades together before releasing slowly. This exercise will help you improve your posture and strengthen your upper-body muscles.
Squats are one of the best exercises to build leg muscles, specifically quadriceps muscles. As we age, the quadriceps muscles tend to lose muscle mass more rapidly. Start with a deep squat while holding onto a post or doorframe for support. Hinge your hips and bend your knees to lower your torso toward the floor while keeping your chest up high and back as straight as possible. Over time, you can add a new challenge by extending the duration of your squats and practising rocking from side to side to help stretch and mobilize your ankles and hips further.
Overhead presses can strengthen your arms' delts and triceps and help you continue to put and take out things from cabinets. Begin by placing your foot stance and hands shoulder-width apart. Lifting at the knees, bring a barbell weight up to your chest. With your elbows oriented forward and your back straight, raise your arms up above your head until fully extended. Lower the barbell back down to your upper chest and repeat two to five reps at the beginner level.
Before starting any new exercise regimen, it's essential to consult with your doctor, especially if it involves heavy weights. Disclose any history of injury or illness and decide on your new workout routine with a medical professional's help. By incorporating these five resistance workouts into your fitness plan, you'll have a better chance of retaining muscle, bone, and joint strength, even as you age.
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