As we age, many of us will notice a decline in muscle, bone and joint strength. In fact, some studies have found that muscle mass can decline three to eight percent per decade after age 30, and the rate of decline only gets worse as the decades go by.
This involuntary loss of muscle and bone mass can leave older adults more frail and is associated with a higher incidence of chronic disease, a loss of independence and a lower quality of life. Thanks to the effects of menopause, women over 50 are often the most sensitive to these changes.
However, there are many ways to take control of your fitness before your fitness level controls you, and by starting in your early 50s, you’ll have a better chance of maintaining muscle, bone and joint strength. Read on to find out which five resistance workouts are most effective, and to find out what benefits you can expect from each one.
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Second Rachel MacPherson, CPT, personal trainer, nutrition specialist, and women’s health coach, women over 50 should focus on resistance exercises “that don’t aggravate their joints but still help build strength and joint range of motion by increasing muscle mass and bone density”. She suggests starting with basic functional movements that use your own body weight to build strength.
MacPherson says incline pushups are a great way for women over 50 to build chest, core and arm strength, “which is vital for protecting the spine, neck and shoulders from pain and injury, and improve daily functioning”.
To do an incline push-up, place your hands wider than chest width and perform a push-up with your upper body resting on a stable, elevated surface, like a weight bench or sofa, she says. “The greater the incline, the easier the exercise will be,” says MacPherson The best life.
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Lunges are a versatile exercise that can work a number of different muscle groups depending on how you perform them. “Do lunges backwards, forwards, sideways, and diagonally to work your muscles, balance, and stability in different planes of motion,” suggests MacPherson. “To lunge, take a big step in the chosen direction while keeping the other foot planted. Keep your back straight and chest up. Bend your knee to lower yourself towards the ground. Try to complete as many repetitions as necessary until you feel that after another two or three years you wouldn’t be able to complete another,” he says.
In addition to building strength, lunges have another big benefit: They can help prevent falls and injuries by stabilizing your muscles and joints.
The next resistance training exercises to try are band or cable front pull-ups. MacPherson says these strengthening exercises help strengthen the hamstrings and upper back, “which are often weakened and stretched as a result of lifestyles sitting or hunched over phones, computers, counters, and sinks.”
To perform face pulls, the personal trainer says you’ll anchor a band or cable above head height and grip the handles, stepping back until there’s tension in the band. Then lift the handles to eye or nose level. Spread your elbows so they point behind you. Lead with your elbows to pull the band towards you, stopping when your elbows are as far back as possible. count, then release slowly and with control,” says MacPherson.
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To maintain your mobility as you age, it’s important to maintain leg strength. “Squats are one of the best exercises for building leg muscles, especially the quadriceps muscles. As we age, the quadriceps muscles lose muscle mass,” she says Samantha SmithPT, DPT, a geriatric physical therapist who specializes in senior exercise, knee pain, and knee replacement.
MacPherson says you can start a new squat routine by practicing a deep squat while holding on to a post or door frame for support. “Hinge at your hips and bend your knees to lower your torso toward the floor. Keep your chest up and back as straight as possible. If you can handle a deep squat, try placing your elbows inside your knees and pressing hands together to spread the knees further apart and deepen the stretch,” she says.
Over time, you can add a new level of challenge by extending the duration of your squats. “Once you feel comfortable doing this, you can practice side-to-side rocking to further stretch and mobilize your ankles and hips,” adds MacPherson.
Smith says overhead presses, which work the deltoids and triceps in the arms, are another popular workout for women over the age of 50. she says.
To perform overhead presses, start by placing your feet and hands shoulder-width apart. Lifting his knees, he brings a barbell weight to his chest. With elbows pointing forward and back straight, he raises his arms above his head to full extension. He lowers the bar to his upper chest and repeats two to five reps at the beginner level.
Before starting any new exercise regimen, especially one that involves heavy weights, it’s important to consult your doctor first. Be sure to disclose any history of injury or illness before deciding on your new exercise routine with the help of a doctor.
Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research and healthcare agencies, but our content is not intended to replace career guidance. When it comes to the medication you are taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your doctor directly.
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