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By Rebecca Fending
As we age, we’re forced to readjust and find new ways to exercise our bodies safely. For women over 50, exercise is crucial to maintain and build muscle mass to ensure that your body can support itself. Here are some of the best home exercises women over 50 can do to stay healthy and strong.
Limber Up Those Legs
Although we use them every day, it doesn’t hurt to work on our strength and balance when it comes to our legs. These exercises can also help with strengthening lower joints as well as the muscles. Do what you’re comfortable with completing but have the ultimate goal of doing these exercises unencumbered.
- Leg Lifts: Lifting your legs in different directions can help you work on your balance as well as being an excellent source of low-impact strength training. One way is by standing with your hip against the back of a chair and lifting your opposite leg outwards from your side. Be sure to hold on to the back of the chair to ensure your safety. Bring your extended leg back down to meet your other heel. Do this in three sets of 15 on each side to help build your leg strength and stability.
- Squat into a Chair: Doing daily squats can also help strengthen your legs and core. This exercise mimics what we do dozens of times every day, but it helps us focus on maintaining a strong form while doing so. You can do this exercise by squatting until your bottom just grazes the chair beneath you. Be sure to engage your core to protect your back muscles by keeping your stomach tight. Again, do this in three sets of 15. Take breaks as needed. Here is a resource with visual aids for more chair exercises you can do.
- Lunges: This is a great exercise that engages your entire body while focusing on your thighs, calves, and core. To execute it, firmly plant your right foot and take a large step forward with your left. Slowly bring your right heel off the floor as you begin to kneel into your planted left foot in front of you. Keep your right knee at a 90-degree angle and then slowly raise yourself up. Repeat with your opposing feet and do this is three sets of 10. Remember to breathe slowly and evenly throughout this exercise.
Up in Arms
Our arms are another part of our body that we use daily but often take for granted. These simple exercises are ideal for anyone who’s looking to fight against loss of bone density or muscle mass, or even if you’re looking to be more active. Again, it’s always best that you only do what’s right for you while working towards your larger goal. Here are some great ways to exercise your arms:
- Row Your Boat: This simple upper arm exercise is one that mimics canoeing. Grab a weight (or a household object close to the weight you’d like to lift) in each of your hands. Hold the weight out in front of you and slowly pull your weights back towards your hips. Doing this in three sets of 10 is a great way to slowly build up your back, triceps, and shoulder strength.
- Lunge With Your Arms: Very similar to the listed lunge exercise, this exercise works your arms at the same time as your legs. Following the lunge description, hold a weight in each hand and raise it up towards your shoulders with each lunge. This works as a great mild arm exercise while strengthening several other muscle groups in your body.
- Overhead Press: Another simple but effective arm exercise is referred to as a shoulder overhead press. For this exercise, grab a weight in each hand and slowly lift/push them above your head, directly over the top of your shoulders. Repeat this in three sets of 10 to work on your arm and joint stability and strength.
Implementing these activities into your daily routine is a great way to ensure both the building and maintenance of muscle mass as you age. Although being active is necessary for a healthy body, it shouldn’t feel like a chore. Be sure to reward yourself in healthy ways for keeping up with a routine. Be safe and happy lifting!