You’re never too old to get into strength training. Even if you’ve never exercised a day in your life and you’re 57 years old, you can start developing strength for a healthier body. While aerobic and flexibility exercises are beneficial, strength training helps keep the body functional. Women over 50 tend to lose one percent of muscle mass each year, but strength training can help them to preserve muscle tissues.
After the age of 30, the body has to work hard to build and produce bone. As you age, you lose bone mass much quicker than your body can produce it. Bone loss accelerates during menopause, increasing a woman’s risk of osteoporosis. You don’t have to let statistics dictate your future, though.
Benefits Of Strength Training After 50:
Strength training is not just about biceps and quads, ladies. The primary reason to engage in strength training is to reduce the body’s risk of injury. When women engage in strength training exercises after age 50, then can experience higher bone density, decreased body fat, reduced risk of chronic disease, and better muscle mass. You won’t be flexing like the hulk, but you can dramatically improve your physical health, stability, balance, coordination, and more. The best part is that you can easily do strength training exercises at home!
Squats are life, ladies, and you need them to increase lower body strength. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Make sure that your toes, knees, and hips are facing forward. Bend your knees and sit your butt back as if to sit on a chair, ensuring that your knees don’t go beyond your toes. Once your thighs are parallel to the ground, engage your glutes and drive through your heels to return to the starting position. Complete three sets of 10-12 reps.
The forearm plank takes the stress off your wrists, but you have to engage your abdominal and lower back muscles to maintain a straight line from head to toe. Start by lying face down on the floor. Before you press up into a plank, make sure that your elbows are directly underneath your shoulders and nestled close to your sides. Tighten your abdominals as you press up, keeping a straight line from your head to your feet. Don’t let your body sag towards the ground. Hold this pose for 30 seconds. If this pose puts too much stress on your elbows, drop your knees to the ground for a modified forearm plank.
The bird dog is a classic pose in yoga, but this exercise calls for more movement than the static yoga position. This exercise helps you enforce core stability. Get into a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Make sure your knees are below your hips and your hands beneath your shoulders. Extend your right arm out in front of you while simultaneously extending your left leg backward. Both your right arm and left leg should be in a straight line. Fight the urge to twist or lean to one side as you hold for one second before returning to the starting position. Do this for 10 reps before repeating on the other side. Complete three sets of 10 reps per side.
More often than not, women have underdeveloped chest muscles. This is because most women focus on lower body exercises. To begin the chest flies, you’ll need a pair of light dumbbells (5 to 10 pounds is sufficient). Lie flat on your back on a mat and bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the ground near your butt. You can also do this exercise on a bench if you have one. With one weight in each hand, extend your arms up towards the ceiling. Slowly but surely, open your arms out until your wrists are almost touching the floor (or in line with your chest if on a bench). Engage your chest muscles to return your arms back to the center position. Complete three sets of 10 reps.
The push-up, regular or modified, helps to strengthen your pectoral, shoulder, and abdominal muscles. Begin this exercise by getting into a tabletop position, exactly how you did for the bird dog exercise. Tuck your toes under so that the tops of your feet are flat on the ground. Lean forward ever so slightly, tighten your abdominal muscles, and slowly lower yourself toward the floor. Keep your elbows close to your sides throughout the motion. Once you chest is hovering above the ground, press back up to the starting position. Complete three sets of 10 reps.