Weight training for senior women

What You MUST Know About Strength Training And Getting Older

Occasionally we receive questions from both, personal trainers working with women in their 60s and 70s, and from women in their 60s and 70s themselves, asking about the types of modifications older women should be making to their workouts to stay strong, healthy, and safe.

I have to admit that as I was thinking about this question, I tried to think of the age I would consider to be an “older woman,” but the closer I get to 50 years old, the harder it is to attach an age to that term. I know quite a number of “older women” women whose strength, energy, appearance, and attitude belie their years!

For women, maintaining strength as we age is the key to overall health and happiness. For instance, as a Cochrane review of 121 previous studies shows, progressive resistance training not only improves muscle strength, it improves their ability to perform tasks ranging from walking and climbing steps to bathing and preparing meals. It also reduces pain in people with osteoarthritis, according to the review. Even though peak bone mass occurs in our 30s, performing weight-bearing exercise in our older years can help preserve existing bone mass.

So, what should workouts look like for older women? As with so many things, the answer to this question is, “It depends.” In all seriousness, though, the need for modifications to exercise choice and intensity for women older than 60 years of age, or even approaching 70 or 80, will be highly dependent on a number of factors.

After all, although aging is often marked by many declines in physical fitness (including decreases in muscle mass, balance, flexibility, gait speed, endurance, metabolic rate, and continence, and increases in body weight, fat, and difficulties performing daily activities) women who have maintained an active lifestyle throughout their 30s, 40s, and 50s may not experience these problems. Or, if they do, they often experience them to a lesser degree than do other women who were less active in their younger years.

Women who have maintained an active lifestyle throughout the years may have been able to preserve muscle mass and keep body weight and composition within a healthy range while maintaining endurance to participate in activities they enjoy.

For instance, I have some clients who have continued to participate in competitive sports and active leisure activities well into their 70s with very little need for exercise modifications. However, for an older woman who was not regularly active in her younger years, and is starting to exercise now, more modifications may be needed. Symptoms of decreased strength that both trainers and clients themselves should look for include osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, a history of falling, autoimmune diseases, a poor range of motion, and unhealthy vital signs.

Fitness levels vary so much in women of all ages that it is really difficult to use age as an indicator of needed modifications to exercise. As a physical therapist, I tend to see women who are dealing with illness or injury, so to help answer this question, I checked in with a colleague who trains women in a wide age range on a daily basis in a fitness setting.

Lori Crock, RKC Team Leader, is the owner of Move Strong Kettlebells in Columbus, Ohio. She teaches group classes using RKC kettlebell methods, MovNat, bodyweight skills, calisthenics, and TRX suspension trainers. She recently turned 54 but, in her own words, “still feels like she’s in her 20s.” She trains five to six days per week and lifts just as heavy as (if not heavier than) most female athletes half her age. Additionally, she focuses on mobility, performing the splits, pistol squats, handstands, and skin-the-cat. Lori likes to make the point that age is not a limiting factor in her training, and says,

“Older adults are not fragile; fragility occurs when we stop challenging our bodies to move well and move strong with appropriate training programs.”

Everything from genetics, to athletic past, to current lifestyle, to willingness to try new things all impact strength, she says. Members of Move Strong Kettlebells include men and women of all ages and fitness levels. 20-year-olds and 60-year-olds train side by side in the same classes under Lori’s care. Programming includes equal parts strength and mobility.

That’s right. For all ages, joint mobility and muscular flexibility are a high priority. “How people move determines my approach to strength training with them,” she says. “For example, if we are doing squats, more mobile and stable movers might squat with one or two kettlebells in the rack position, or even overhead. Air squats or kettlebell goblet squats are more appropriate for someone with mobility issues. The barbell Zercher squat is awesome for all levels when weighted appropriately. If someone has knee issues, the airborne lunge is a great alternative as it is more glute- and hamstring-dominant. My clients range from women in their 20s who are working on squat form, to women in their 60s with a beautiful, deep squat form. Mature athletes often take more time to advance in technique and with heavier weight—they are also more cautious and more concerned about preventing injury, which is a good thing!”

It isn’t just exercise that might need to be adapted with age, however. As we get older, the recovery process changes. “Sometimes more rest is needed between challenging sets, whether strength or HIIT. It is not hard to do this, even in a group setting,” Lori says. “My mature athletes typically strength train three to four times per week. Many also do yoga and go walking regularly, which I highly recommend, as it helps them become more mobile, in turn helping them train stronger.”

While Lori typically makes modifications to programming based on an athlete’s movement quality rather than age, some of her mature athletes use lighter weights than their younger counterparts do and sometimes take a little more rest between sets.

Meanwhile, no matter their age, clients never train with pain.

“If a client complains of pain, we stop and adjust. We don’t train with pain. I refer people to a good clinician who is SFMA (Selective Functional Movement Assessment) certified and knows our training methods. We carefully train around arthritic joints. We never go to failure with an athlete of any age. A prior knee issue for some means no high-impact jumping or sprinting, and meticulous form is required on squats. That being said, all of my over-60 clients jump on soft boxes, 12 to 18 inches high.”

If a client has a history of heart disease, Lori will speak with his or her physician or surgeon for clearance to exercise. For the mature athletes, cardiovascular training, with ballistic kettlebell skills—such as snatches, swings, and cleans, for example—can be challenging, but also quite beneficial. “I have two athletes preparing for the RKC snatch test. My over-50s and -60s train along with them, and they love it,” Lori says. “Of course, they aren’t worried about doing 100 snatches in five minutes, and they can rest at any point, but they do 100. Their technique is beautiful, and I am so proud of their strength and determination. If someone, of any age, is having an ‘off’ day, we modify to 100 single-arm swings instead.”

When Lori encounters a client who is resistant to performing the necessary modifications themselves, she advises them to “put the bell down and go lighter” or to listen to their body. Sometimes she raises the floor for their deadlifts or reminds them that a PR doesn’t have to mean lifting more weight. It can also mean using better technique or quicker recovery. However, Lori also sometimes has to encourage older clients to challenge themselves at a level to which she knows they are capable. Sometimes a heavier weight is appropriate, and she has to convince the client to try it.

In the end, no matter what your or your client’s age is, we all need to work to the edge of our ability in order to improve. The key is finding that edge.

Weight Training for Seniors: The Importance of Strength Training in Your 60s

We often hear about the need for strength training at any age, but did you know that power training is even more important to functional independence?

You might associate power with elite sports or the massive athletes who “power lift” 800 pounds, and then drop it to the ground with a huge clang. You can just hear the argghhh!

But to understand what power means to you, try this: stand up from a seated position. Now, sit back down, and this time stand up slowly, using six counts to get to a full stand. Which one is harder?

Strength is a measure of how much force your muscles can generate. Power is the amount of force your muscles can generate quickly (strength x speed).

The very common functional task of rising from a chair clearly illustrates the difference between muscle power versus muscle strength. When you stand up at a normal speed the muscles contract quickly; you use power (strength x speed) to rise.

When you stand up slowly you remove the speed component, so you must rely on muscle strength alone. It’s very common to see someone who has lost leg muscle power to struggle to rise from a chair, using their arms for extra help.

Here are a few reasons that weight training for seniors matters and a few tips for how to get started.

Power and Function

Most of us recognize how speed of contraction would impact something like springing into action after a line drive in tennis. But speed of contraction is equally critical in many basic functional tasks like rising from a chair, walking, climbing stairs and reacting to a balance challenge.

For example, if you stumble on uneven ground, “catching” yourself to prevent a fall requires your ankle, leg and hip muscles to contract quickly to move your foot into place before you fall (speed of contraction-power).

In What’s Your Vitality Plan blog I shared statistics on the average decline in muscle strength – around 1–1.5% per year after age 30 – which commonly results in losing about half your strength by your mid-70s.

The rest of the story is that power is lost about 3 times faster than strength alone! And research over the past decade shows that power is more closely related to function than strength alone.

Loss of strength and power can dramatically impact your ability to engage in activities you enjoy and will gradually rob you of functional independence. Unless you have a highly physical lifestyle – one that regularly challenges both strength and power – you absolutely must train both to retain lifelong vitality.

Do you regularly lift, push, pull and throw? When was the last time you “sprang” into action? When you climb stairs, is it a slow struggle or can you easily step up – each contraction quick and powerful?

Could you easily increase your speed of walking if you were in the middle of a crosswalk and the light started to change? Or quickly change directions if something suddenly appeared in your path?

Weight Training for Seniors is About Power

You can train both strength and power, but it requires a slightly different approach than you may be used to. The most common type of resistance training is with iron weight stack equipment where you train with a resistance that you can lift about 8–10 times in good form.

Weight stack equipment effectively trains strength but poses a barrier to power training. The standard approach to training with weight stacks requires you to use 3 seconds for each lift.

This effectively controls the momentum of the weight stack but severely limits the ability to increase the speed of muscle contractions – and remember, speed is critical to power.

Training with equipment that uses pneumatic (air), hydraulic (fluid) or magnetic resistance allows you to increase both the strength and the speed of contractions. To train power, reduce the resistance so you can increase the speed of movement.

Train with a resistance you can “lift” 14–16 times. Make sure that each individual repetition is executed as fast as possible while retaining good form and full range of motion.

You’re not trying to speed through the 16 repetitions as fast as possible. Instead, you’re trying to make each individual repetition (contraction) very quick.

So, if you’re doing a chest press, you quickly straighten the arms pushing forward in an explosive movement (1), and then return to starting position at normal speed. Repeat (2), and then return to starting position at normal speed, etc.

Training Power without Machines

Plyometric training can also help train power. If you’re pushing a medicine ball from chest level, speed training with resistance bands, whipping big ropes up and down, jumping, etc., all of these things require acceleration and speed of contraction against resistance – i.e., power!

Visit the Free Resources link at www.kayvannorman.com for ideas on training power without machines – even from a seated position!

Do you do any kind of strength training? Do you use machines for strength training or exercise without them? Do you agree that weight training for seniors is important? Please join the discussion below!

It’s not uncommon to see the weights sections of gyms dominated by muscle machines pumping iron like they’re preparing for a body building competition. However, it’s important for everyone to remember that incorporating weights into their exercise routine is pretty vital.

It’s not about bench pressing ridiculous weights, or getting a six pack and bulging muscles – weightlifting is great for bone strength and general wellbeing.

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We asked Elaine Denton, David Lloyd’s Group Health & Fitness Support Manager, just why we should be adding weights to our exercise regime.
WHY WEIGHTLIFTING IS GOOD FOR YOU

‘Weightlifting is part of three key elements that define fitness – cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance flexibility. It’s not just about looking good – lifting weights is a fantastic way to strengthen your bones and help you stay strong.’

Elaine says that weightlifting is also great at increasing your resting metabolic rate (the rate you burn calories), helping to maintain an ‘ideal weight’, improve your cholesterol and reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

WHY WEIGHTLIFTING IS GOOD FOR OLDER WOMEN

‘This sort of activity is vital as you get older, as muscles start to decline in later years,’ says Elaine. ‘Lifting weights can counteract the effects of poor muscular strength and endurance and can make everyday activities such as walking, gardening or carrying shopping bags that little bit easier.’

Apparently, adding weightlifting into your activity routine can also help delay the onset of osteoporosis, help certain types of arthritis, help with posture and even strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.

MORE: 5 SIGNS YOU’RE PUSHING IT TOO HARD AT THE GYM
HOW TO FIND THE WEIGHTS AND ROUTINE FOR YOU
‘It’s always best to speak to a qualified gym instructor or personal trainer when embarking on activity, and always seek your GP’s advice before starting anything new,’ warns Elaine. ‘An instructor or trainer will be able to advise you on the right exercise, repetitions and weights.’

As a general rule, if you do 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions on a weight that feels challenging, with a rest in between repetitions, you should see some improvement within 4 weeks if you’re doing this 2 or 3 times a week.

WEIGHT EXERCISES YOU SHOULD TRY

Here are a few weight exercises to help you out, but remember always to consult gym staff if you’re completely new to it.

For legs and bum:

1. Dumbell squat – strengthens the lower body (quads, hips, glutes and hamstrings) and requires core strength.
2. Leg press – works your quads, hamstringes, glutes and calves.

For the back and front of the arms:

Dumbell single arm row – strengthens your biceps and upper back.

For chest and back of the arms:

Dumbell Chest Press – works chest muscles, shoulders and triceps.

For shoulders:

Dumbell lateral rise – works your shoulders and can be performed sitting down, too.

For bum, abs and pelvic floor:

Hip bridge – no weights required, but is great for strengthening your bottom, back of the legs and core.

David Lloyd Leisure is offering free 7-day passes throughout February to those who surrender their celebrity fitness DVD at a local club. The DVDs collected will be donated to the British Heart Foundation.

MORE: ​8 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE JOINING THE GYM

© Cindy De La Cruz The workout women must be doing to stay healthy, strong, and fit as you age.

Want to be strong, healthy, and happy, and feel 10 years younger? Then it’s time to pick up the weights. “Strength training is no longer about being buff or skinny,” says trainer Holly Perkins, founder of Women’s Strength Nation. “It’s as critical to your health as mammograms and annual doctor visits, and it can alleviate nearly all of the health and emotional frustrations that women face today. And it becomes even more critical once you hit 50.”

That’s because women lose up to 5% of their lean muscle tissue per decade, starting in their 30s—and that number increases after 65. “I cannot stress enough how important muscle mass is to your life,” says Perkins. “There is a direct correlation between your health and the amount of muscle mass that you have. The more you build, the faster your metabolism hums, the tighter and firmer you get, and the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off.” It also decreases your risk for diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and makes you less likely to fall or become injured.

Of course, to Perkins—who is on a mission to get women weight lifting—the benefits go even deeper. “Something magical happens when you reach for a heavy object and are surprised by your own strength,” she says. “It’s an incredible feeling to climb a flight of stairs and feel powerful, or when you find that you no longer need the help of a man to move boxes. It’s time for women to find their power.”

MORE:The strength training program specifically designed for women over 40, 50 and beyond.

High-five to that. Here are Perkin’s top 10 exercises—along with her explanations about what makes each so vital—to help you get strong and sculpted at 50 and beyond.

THE WORKOUT

How to do it: “Every woman should do a full-body strength-training routine—such as this one—two days a week,” says Perkins. “Then, on top of that, you may add the other components of fitness like yoga, dance, walking, or swimming.” (Add one of these 3 new walking workouts that blast fat to your exercise routine.) You can complete all of these moves in one workout, or you can split them up if you’re short on time. The key is consistency. Aim to complete 3 sets for each move, and choose a weight that makes it challenging to complete the final rep of each set.

What you’ll need: While the gym is a great place to weight train, you can do these moves right at home. All you’ll need is a chair, hand weights, and a mat.

1. Squat to Chair

© Cindy De La Cruz squat to chair exercise

Why: “The best way to maintain and improve bone density is through exercises that involve your entire lower body,” says Perkins. “This move is considered a weight-bearing, compound, complex exercise, and is number one for bone health. In addition, the majority of age-related falls and bone fractures involve the pelvis. This move specifically targets and strengthens the muscles and bones of the pelvis.” (Here are 4 more strength-training exercises you can do with a chair.)

How: Stand with your feet shoulder-width distance apart and your toes turned out slightly. Extend your arms forward and keep them parallel to the floor throughout the movement. Bend your knees and reach your hips back as if to fully sit down on the chair. Lower your hips until you feel the chair underneath you, but don’t fully sit. Touch the chair with your butt, then immediately press into your heels and stand back up to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Aim to complete 10 to 15 reps.

2. Reverse Lunge

© Cindy De La Cruz reverse lunge exercise

Why: “This move strengthens the direct movement patterns that govern walking, stair climbing, and the transition from sitting to standing,” says Perkins. “It strengthens your entire lower body and will help to keep you as active as you wish to be.”

How: Stand next to a chair or sturdy object to use for balance. Hold a 5 to 10 pound dumbbell in your right hand and place your left hand on the chair. Focus your effort on your left leg and take a large step backward with your right leg. Use the strength of your left leg to lower down until your right knee nearly touches the floor. Press into your left heel to push upward, and step forward returning to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Aim to complete 10 to 12 reps on this side and then complete the same on the other.

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3. Seated Overhead Press

© Cindy De La Cruz Seated Overhead Press exercise

Why: “One of the weakest movements for all women of all ages is pressing upward overhead,” says Perkins. “Because of the reduced muscle mass at 50, this critical movement pattern is further handicapped. This move increases the lean muscle mass around your shoulders, reducing your risk for neck, shoulder, and lower back injuries when pressing something heavy overhead.” (Try these 3 moves to sculpt strong shoulders.)

How: Begin seated with your back supported and 5- to 8-pound dumbbells resting at your shoulders. Sit up tall and ensure that your elbows are below your wrists. Press upward so that your elbows are in front of your body, and not out to the sides. End with the dumbbells directly over your head, palms forward, with elbows fully extended, but not locked. Slowly release down following the same pattern of movement, ending at the start position. That’s one repetition. Aim for 10 to 12 reps.

4. Standing Calf Raise

© Cindy De La Cruz Standing calf raise

Why: “One of the greatest concerns as we age is the risk of falling,” says Perkins. “This move improves the stability and mobility of your feet and lower legs, and the ability to know where you body is in space. This sense is called proprioception and gives you control and power over your body.”

How: Hold a 5-10 pound dumbbell in your right hand, and place your left hand on a chair or sturdy object for balance. Shift your weight onto your left foot and lift your right foot off the floor. Stand with a long, tall spine and allow the dumbbell to hang at your side. Press into the ball of your left foot so that you move upwards onto your toes. Keep your left knee fully opened without locking it. Press upward as high as possible, then slowly lower back to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Aim to complete 15 reps on this leg, then switch and perform the same on the other.

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5. Bent Over Row

© Cindy De La Cruz bent over row exercise

Why: “Due to gravitational pull, we are constantly fighting a battle to keep our body upright with good alignment,” says Perkins. “This move strengthens all of the muscles in your back improving both bone density of the spine and proper integration of the spinal column. It also helps to fight off the decrease in bone that occurs over 50 and will keep your posture upright.”

How: Using 8- to 15-pound dumbbells, stand behind a chair. Place your feet under your hips and fold forward so that your head can rest comfortably on the chair or surface. Keep your knees slightly bent and your neck relaxed. Begin with your palms facing each other directly under your shoulders. Bend your elbows and pull the dumbbells towards you until your palms are next to your ribs. Draw the shoulder blades together at the top. Pause for two seconds, then slowly release back to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Aim for 12 to 15 reps.

6. Superman

© Cindy De La Cruz head support superman exercise

Why: “This move is one of the number-one strengthening exercises that physical therapists use for back health,” says Perkins. “It strengthens your ‘posterior chain’ muscles that guide nearly every move you make, including your core, glutes, back, and shoulder muscles all at once, while helping to open the hips and shoulders.” (Try these 12 hip-opening yoga poses for even more strength and flexibility.)

How: Begin with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Contract the muscles of your core and stabilize your pelvis and shoulders. Shift your balance onto your left knee and your right hand. In one movement, extend your right leg back behind you and your left arm outin front of you. Extend both as far as possible and hold for 2 seconds. Slowly release both back to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Immediately switch sides and perform the same with the left leg and right arm. Continue alternating sides for a total of 20 reps.

7. Chest Fly

© Cindy De La Cruz chest fly exercise

Why: “The chest muscles (pectorals) for all women are particularly weak and underdeveloped,” says Perkins. “By increasing the mass in this muscle group you are adding a substantial percentage of lean mass towards your overall health. Additionally, the chest muscles are responsible for supporting breast tissue. This move will bring a bit more lift to your chest.”

How: Lie on the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees and feet flat. Hold 5- to 8-pound dumbbells directly over your chest with your palms facing each other. Press your shoulders away from your ears and downward toward your hips to stabilize your core. With a very slight bend at the elbows, open your arms out to the sides until your upper arms touch the floor. Do not fully release the tension in your arms, or allow your wrists to touch the floor. Contract the muscles in your chest to return the dumbbells back to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Aim to complete 12 to 15 reps.

8. Dumbbell Pullover

© Cindy De La Cruz dumbbell pullover exercise

Why: “This move improves your ability to pull heavy objects more safely and with ease,” says Perkins. “Plus, nearly all of my 50+ women first complain about the soft tissue that is on the back of their upper arms. This move directly targets the triceps muscles to bring more muscle and more tightness to this area.”

How: Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a 10- to 15-pound dumbbell by one end so that the other end is on the floor when you extend your arms overhead. Begin with your core engaged, and draw your shoulders down away from your ears and toward your hips. From there, lift the dumbbell off the floor, keeping your arms long, and make a big arc over your body until the dumbbell is over your chest. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the floor making the same arc. That’s one repetition. Without fully releasing the dumbbell to the floor, immediately lift it again and complete 12 to 15 repetitions.

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9. Biceps Hammer Curl

© Cindy De La Cruz bicep hammer curl exercise

Why: “The muscles of your upper arms are very small from a volume perspective. Due to the muscle loss that has occurred since your 30s (sarcopenia), these muscles are atrophied,” says Perkins. “It’s critical to keep your biceps muscles strong so that you are able to carry objects safely and easily. It’ll also make your arms look great.” (For more moves for sculpted arms, try this at-home workout.)

How: Stand with your feet under your hips and hold 8- to 10-pound dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing inward. Stand with a long, tall spine. Bend your elbows and bring the dumbbells upward toward your chest, keeping your palms facing each other. Pull the dumbbells up until they touch the front of your shoulders. Pause here for 2 seconds and contract the muscles in your upper arms. Slowly lower back down to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Aim to complete 10 to 15 reps.

10. Basic Ab

© Cindy De La Cruz basic ab exercise

Why: “For women over 50, there is a propensity to develop a distended belly,” says Perkins. “This movement is fantastic for bringing the abdominal muscles inward toward your spine, making your ab muscles stronger and tighter.”

How: Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent so that there’s a 90-degree angle at the back of your knees. Place your hands on your thighs with your upper body relaxed. On an exhale, slowly roll your chin towards your chest and lift up until your shoulders lift off the floor. Your hands will slide upward toward your knees. Continue lifting up until your shoulders are completely off the floor or your fingertips reach your knees. Pause at the top for 2 seconds, then slowly lower back down to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Aim for 20 to 30 reps.

Slideshow: These 40 fit celebrities over 40 will inspire you to hit the gym (Provided by Prevention)

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  • 1/41 SLIDES © Getty Images

    Staying fit after 40 isn’t easy. In fact, losing weight gets harder once you hit your 40s because your metabolism slows down and lower estrogen levels can cause insulin sensitivity, which can increase your cravings for unhealthy foods. The way you lost weight in your 20s and 30s just doesn’t work anymore either, but dropping those stubborn pounds isn’t impossible. Click through the slideshow above for fit female celebrities over 40 who’ll inspire you to rethink the way you move and eat.

    2/41 SLIDES © Michael Stewart – Getty Images

    Jennifer Lopez

    A roundup of the world’s fittest celebs wouldn’t be complete without J.Lo. The 50-year-old star has one of the fittest bodies in the business, and these days she’s often seen working out with her fiancé Alex Rodriguez, who recently opened a gym in Miami.

    3/41 SLIDES © Dan MacMedan – Getty Images

    Kelly Ripa

    Ripa is a fitness fiend, but a good sweat session isn’t complete without the perfect playlist for the daytime talk show host. Her trainer told InStyle, “We are both obsessed with finding the best music. It really drives the workout.”

    4/41 SLIDES © @jaime_king – Instagram

    Jaime King

    One of King’s secrets to success is Paleta, a local, organic meal delivery service. “It’s really wonderful because they make food for all of my family. It makes it so much easier for me,” she told Byrdie.

    5/41 SLIDES © Dia Dipasupil – Getty Images

    Tracee Ellis Ross

    As a fan of the Tracy Anderson Method, Ross doesn’t pretend a fit body comes easily. She told InStyle, “At 18 I might have woken up like this. At 45 I work for it.”

    6/41 SLIDES © @gabunion – Instagram

    Gabrielle Union-Wade

    A regular at Heart & Hustle Gym in L.A., Union frequently shares her tough workouts on her Instagram, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Kettlebells, resistance bands, the squat rack, gliders, oh my!

    7/41 SLIDES © Steve Granitz – Getty Images

    Jennifer Aniston

    Aniston is the queen of defying age (just check out the photos from her 50th birthday party). In an interview with Ellen Degeneres, she revealed that she owes her rock-hard body to her boxing sessions with trainer Leyon Azubuike.

    8/41 SLIDES © @cindycrawford – Instagram

    Cindy Crawford

    Supermodel Crawford knows it takes hard work and dedication to stay fit. She frequently posts about her workouts on Instagram, revealing that she hits the gym most days, even on weekends.

    9/41 SLIDES © @elizabethhurley1 – Instagram

    Elizabeth Hurley

    Hurley, who’s been a beauty and fitness icon for over three decades, stays in amazing shape by staying well-hydrated. She drinks two cups of warm water right when she wakes up in the morning and told Women’s Health that sitting down with zero distractions has helped her enjoy her meal and improve her digestion.

    10/41 SLIDES © @shakira – Instagram

    Shakira

    Singing and dancing on stage isn’t for the physically unfit, especially when you have moves like Shakira. Her trainer, Anna Kaiser, created a special HIIT training program for Shakira to help her get ready to tour for weeks on end.

    11/41 SLIDES © @jillianmichaels – Instagram

    Jillian Michaels

    The celebrity trainer turned celeb herself eats every four hours to keep up with her very active lifestyle and eats a very healthy diet. But on the weekends, you can find her indulging in Chipotle, Unreal chocolate bars, and organic string cheese.

    12/41 SLIDES © Frazer Harrison – Getty Images

    Nicole Kidman

    Kidman grew up running and is also a fan of spinning and yoga. When asked about her secret to success, she said she takes a practical approach. “It’s walking a path that’s ultimately 80 percent healthy,” she told Women’s Health.

    13/41 SLIDES © @janeseymore – Instagram

    Jane Seymour

    Seymour credits her amazing bathing suit body to her healthy diet, which includes tons of vegetables, fish, chicken, and shellfish. “I will have cheese occasionally, and if I do eat dessert, I’ll just have a few tastes,” she told Byrdie.

    14/41 SLIDES © Bravo – Getty Images

    Tamra Judge

    This Real Housewives of Orange County star is known for her amazing bikini body. She works out at Cut Fitness and—no surprise here—recently won a fitness competition.

    15/41 SLIDES © CHRIS DELMAS – Getty Images

    Leslie Mann

    Mann is one of those celebs that seem to age in reverse. And, apparently, cycling has something to do with it. She and her husband are regulars at SoulCycle in Santa Monica, according to PopSugar.

    16/41 SLIDES © @sofiavergara – Instagram

    Sophia Vergara

    According to an interview with The New York Times, the Modern Family star hits the gym, but doesn’t take it too seriously. When asked about her typical workout routine, she replied, “I do it when I can. Sometimes I work out with my trainer, or I do spinning or Pilates.”

    17/41 SLIDES © @kchenoweth – Instagram

    Kristin Chenoweth

    This Broadway star subscribes to the philosophy that “you are what you eat.” Some of her dietary staples include oatmeal, almonds, and hot tea.

    18/41 SLIDES © Steve Granitz – Getty Images

    Charlize Theron

    Theron has always been fit and loves ballet-style workouts. According to her trainer, she combines them with 35 minutes of cardio to target the whole body.

    19/41 SLIDES © Dia Dipasupil – Getty Images

    Sarah Jessica Parker

    Despite being a busy working mom, SJP has one of the best bodies around. Her trainer, Marc Santa Maria, says she does this push-up circuit on the reg.

    20/41 SLIDES © Rodin Eckenroth – Getty Images

    Thandie Newton

    Newton credits her physique to two things: a vegetarian diet full of colorful fruits and veggies, and Jivamukti yoga. She once toldStyleCaster, “It’s key to make sure you have a lot of color on your plate. The more colorful the food, the more beneficial it is.”

    21/41 SLIDES © Jon Kopaloff – Getty Images

    Cameron Diaz

    Ever wonder what Cameron Diaz eats for breakfast to get that body? According to an interview with Bon Appétit: protein. “I just put something in my stomach before my workout—usually scrambled eggs, toast, an avocado, an apple with almond butter, overnight oats, or a piece of chicken,” she said.

    22/41 SLIDES © Alexander Tamargo – Getty Images

    Eva Mendes

    When she’s off-season, Mendes takes it a little easier and works out about three days a week. But in the summer or when she’s preparing for a movie or event, that number goes up to five!

    23/41 SLIDES © @theellenshow – Instagram

    Ellen Degeneres

    The long-time talk show host is a strict vegan and owes her good health to that (and her on-air pushup competitions with Michelle Obama, of course). As for her workouts, sometimes they involve puppies.

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    Jada Pinkett Smith

    For Pinkett-Smith, staying toned is all about keeping it simple and loving your body. “Taking care of your body in the way in which you want is an act of self-love…” she said on her show Red Table Talk.

    25/41 SLIDES © Bruce Glikas – Getty Images

    Christie Brinkley

    If being featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 63 isn’t confirmation of your physical prowess, we don’t know what is. But Brinkley reveals she keeps it pretty simple. “I would say running is my favorite way to sweat,” she told The Cut.

    26/41 SLIDES © Marla Aufmuth – Getty Images

    Michelle Obama

    Famous for her love of fitness and nutrition—and those toned arms!—Obama says she uses exercise to relieve stress. According to Vogue, in a 2008 interview she said, “Exercise is really important to me—it’s therapeutic.”

    27/41 SLIDES © James Devaney – Getty Images

    Naomi Watts

    Watts is a big fan of The Class, a yoga-cardio combination workout that’s gaining popularity by the day. In an Instagram post, she wrote, “Feeling good with @[email protected] nothing like a hundred burpees to start your day!!”

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    Yolanda Hadid

    As the mom of two supermodels, it’s no surprise that Hadid has her diet and exercise routine down pat. But does she ever indulge? According to an interview with Nine Honey, yes. “I do indulge once in a while because I believe we should enjoy everything, as long as it’s in moderation,” she said.

    29/41 SLIDES © Bryan Bedder – Getty Images

    Sandra Bullock

    Bullock is a big fan of Body By Simone. “There’s always cardio like dance, jump roping, or rebounding,” she told InStyle. She also switches up her workouts. In the same interview, she said she does Pilates, kickboxing, and weight training.

    30/41 SLIDES © @kourtneykardashian – Instagram

    Kourtney Kardashian

    According to an interview in Harpers Bazaar, Kardashian follows an organic, dairy-free ketogenic diet filled with plenty of healthy fats. Plus, she drinks apple cider vinegar, which she swears by for losing fat and boosting her metabolism.

    31/41 SLIDES © Steve Granitz – Getty Images

    Courtney Cox

    The Cougar Town star works out with celeb trainer Michelle Lovitt, who also trains Julianne Moore and Julia Luis-Dreyfus. According to Lovitt, Cox’s workouts include strength training with barbells and plenty of high-intensity supersets.

    32/41 SLIDES © @ellemacphersonofficial – Instagram

    Elle Macpherson

    In a recent cover story for New Beauty, Macpherson revealed she had to switch up her diet and exercise routine when she turned 50. Now she focuses on less intense exercise: “I do Vinyasa yoga or power yoga, or go for a swim, go paddleboarding or waterskiing, or take the dogs for a walk.”

    33/41 SLIDES © Barcroft Media – Getty Images

    Viola Davis

    Davis is diligent about her workouts—and it’s clearly paying off. “If I have to be at work at 5 a.m., I will get up at three and work out. I run, I do weights,” she told SELF.

    34/41 SLIDES © @krisjenner – Instagram

    Kris Jenner

    This 60-something mom of six isn’t letting age slow her down a bit. She often starts her day as early as 4 a.m. and drinks coffee while she’s on the treadmill.

    35/41 SLIDES © James Devaney – Getty Images

    Gwyneth Paltrow

    Paltrow credits her long-time trainer Tracy Anderson—plus a (mostly) clean diet low in grains and sugar, according to Shape—for her top-notch physique. The 45-year-old is also a fan of infrared saunas, often praising their detoxifying properties.

    36/41 SLIDES © Taylor Hill – Getty Images

    Lucy Liu

    This star is a SoulCycle devotee, telling E! News that she prefers to start her workdays with a 6 a.m. class: “It energizes me and helps wake me up in the morning. With all of the lines that I have to memorize, it sort of activates my brain.”

    37/41 SLIDES © Donato Sardella – Getty Images

    Bridget Moynahan

    The model, actress, and cookbook author stays active by riding her bike, hitting the tennis ball, and playing with her son. According to a Los Angeles Times interview, she also stays away from juice and soda, opting for black coffee or water instead.

    38/41 SLIDES © Josiah Kamau – Getty Images

    Heidi Klum

    If you live in New York City, you might spot Klum running along the Westside Highway in the mornings. For her, consistency is key, as she once told Glamour, “I pretend it’s bikini season all year and regularly make healthy decisions.”

    39/41 SLIDES © @katehudson – Instagram

    Kate Hudson

    The actress, entrepreneur (she’s the co-founder of fitness apparel company Fabletics), and mom of three prioritizes her workouts. “I’ll do Tracy Anderson, I’ll do Body by Simone, I do everything,” Hudson told SELF.

    40/41 SLIDES © Paul Archuleta – Getty Images

    Holly Robinson Peete

    Peete is undeniably fit and yet she keeps it simple with workouts at home. “I can’t do trainers. I have a stair stepper at home, and I do Pilates,” she told AARP.

    41/41 SLIDES © Pacific Press – Getty Images

    Kate Beckinsale

    Beckinsale whips herself into shape for various movie roles, but admits that sometimes it’s like pulling teeth. “I start out absolutely dreading it, do an incredibly punishing workout, b**ch about it the whole time, and end up feeling 100 percent better when I leave,” she toldSHAPE. We can relate! Beckinsale works out regularly with trainer Gunnar Peterson.

    41/41 SLIDES

    Exercise after age 70

    Updated: May 14, 2019Published: May, 2007

    There are no official fitness guidelines for older adults, but the basic exercises for senior are the same at every age.

    The average 65-year-old can expect to reach her 85th birthday, and the average 75-year-old will live to age 87. How we’ll celebrate those birthdays — as the life of the party or immobilized on the sidelines — has a lot to do with how we spend our time today. Although none of us can be certain that we’ll be spared debilitating disorders that could rob us of our mobility, there’s no doubt that regular exercise will help improve our ability to function at almost any age or level of fitness.

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    In the past, workouts marketed to women tended to focus on cardio, and many still do (aerobics, spinning, dance). That’s starting to change, and top trainers say that’s a very good thing — weight training is especially beneficial for women over 45.

    “Our ability to gain muscle is so incredibly important for health as we age,” says Nikki Warren, founder and CEO of Kaia FIT, a national women’s workout franchise that focuses on weight training and HIIT as its core programming. “If we can add even a small amount of heavy weight training, we’re combating against a lot of degenerative diseases caused by the aging process.”

    We break down why adding dumbbells to your deadlifts and sandbags to your squats is so crucial.

    Reasons to Lift Heavy

    “As we age, our muscle fibers shrink in number but also in size,” explains Heidi Jones, a coach at Solace and Forte Fit and the creator of Squad WOD. Research shows age-related loss of muscle can be significant, and that’s not just a problem because your triceps may look a little saggy. “That loss of strength will affect your natural navigation through life,” Jones says.

    It will also affect your metabolism, since age also slows the process and makes it harder to keep weight off, and muscle burns more calories than fat.

    In addition, women lose bone mass as they get older, especially after menopause, making them much more susceptible to osteoporosis than men.

    The good news: Regular strength training is like a multidimensional treatment for all of these intertwined ailments. Lifting weights preserves bone density and helps you maintain lean muscle mass, which helps keep your metabolism going. It may also boost your body’s production of testosterone, a hormone that is important for building muscle and tied to sexual health and energy.

    How to Start Picking Up Heavy Things

    Okay, so it sounds like you should be lifting while lunging, but if you’re more used to hopping on a treadmill, cleaning (that’s a lift!) your first kettlebell can be pretty intimidating.

    “It’s all about that gradual progression,” advises Courtney Levering, a coach at Tone House in New York City. “You really want to maintain a safe environment for yourself. Start with low intensity and a light load and then gradually increase from there.”

    Levering says you can even start with bodyweight strength-training, using exercise like push-ups, dips, and squats, and then add weight as you get stronger and more comfortable with the movements. Bodyweight movements alone will build muscle, but you can expedite those strength and overall health gains by adding an extra load.

    Jones says you should incorporate strength training into your schedule a minimum of three times a week. Though there are many ways to do it, one easy way to get started is to take a movement (like a squat or lunge), choose a weight that feels challenging but not impossible, and then do three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

    The tip all of the coaches shared? If you can swing it, work with a trainer, at least at first. That way you can get used to lifting and perfect the movements. Then you can do your own thing at the gym or find a group fitness class you like that incorporates strength training.

    It’s really never too late to start, says Levering, who says Tone House — often referred to as the hardest workout in NYC — has recently been attracting more women in their 40s and 50s. “I honestly had a mother-daughter duo yesterday, and the mom was even more fit than the 24-year-old daughter,” she says.

    >READ: 5 WEIGHT TRAINING EXERCISES YOU NEED TO START NOW

    >READ: BIG, HEAVY, UGLY WEIGHTS: ARE THEY RIGHT FOR WOMEN OVER 50?

    Photo: Eva Katalin, Maria Fernanda Gonzalez

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    This routine lasted for six months, by which time the people lifting weights had almost all gained strength and improved various markers of their health, even if they had lifted only once a week.

    But then, after the months of supervised lifting, the exercisers abruptly were on their own. The researchers explained that they could no longer have access to the university facilities and provided them with information about low-cost, suitable gyms in the area. But any subsequent training would be at their own volition.

    The researchers waited six months and then contacted the volunteers to see who was still lifting and how often. They repeated those interviews after an additional six months.

    They found, to their surprise, that a year after the formal study had ended, almost half of the volunteers still were lifting weights at least once a week.

    “We had estimated a rate of 30 percent,” says Tiia Kekalainen, a project researcher at the University of Jyvaskyla who led the psychological study with the senior author, Simon Walker, and others.

    Also surprising, the researchers discovered little direct correlation between muscle and motivation. The people who had gained the most strength or muscle mass during the study were not necessarily those most likely to stick to the training.

    Instead, it was those who had come to feel most competent in the gym. If someone’s self-efficacy, which is a measure of confidence, had risen substantially during the study, he or she usually kept lifting.

    Why women should do weights

    Strengthening exercises like weights have great health benefits for anyone, but it’s particularly important for women, especially as they get older. From boosting your metabolism, to improving your stability, here’s why weight training is important.

    Protect your bones

    Muscle strengthening exercises play an important role in keeping our bones strong. This is vital for women who have gone through menopause. The female sex hormone oestrogen protects and maintains bone strength, so after menopause when oestrogen levels drop, so too does a woman’s bone density. On average, women lose up to 10% of bone mass in the first five years after menopause, which puts them at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis.

    What’s osteoporosis? It occurs when bones lose minerals (like calcium) more quickly than the body can replace them, this causes the bones to lose density. To help retain bone density, it’s a good idea to do muscle strengthening (more specifically resistance training) once or twice a week, in consultation with your doctor.

    Weight training helps to build muscle, placing more load on your bones, and in turn, strengthening them. Resistance training involves using dumbbells, ankle or wrist weights to create resistance. Combining strength training with weight bearing exercise – like running, tennis, walking, tai chi and dance – is the best way to keep your bones strong.

    Read more: 6 ways to maintain strong and healthy bones

    Speed up metabolism

    The higher your muscle mass, the faster your resting metabolism. By doing regular muscle strengthening exercises the body burns more calories even when it’s resting. That’s weights of weight!

    Prevent muscle deterioration

    With ageing comes muscle loss. From the age of 50 adults drop 1-2% of muscle mass each year, increasing to 3% for those over 60 . This means over time it’s common to lose strength and stability, and gain weight. Doing regular exercises with weights not only stops muscle mass from decreasing, it also helps rebuild it.

    Fact: One third of people over 65 fall each year with a common cause being poor muscle strength.

    Improve stability

    Feeling steady isn’t something many of us think about but it’s important to be aware of, especially as we get older. Strengthening your muscles earlier in life and incorporating balance and mobility exercises into your exercise routine can help prevent debilitating falls later down the track.

    Read more: Why strength training is key to managing diabetes

    Where to start?

    If you’re new to weight training, it’s best to start with slow, simple activities. For strength and stability, getting in and out of a chair repeatedly or lifting small hand weights are a good place to begin. The most important thing is to stay active regularly and to continually feel challenged as your strength and fitness progress.

    Ready to hit the gym? Visit our guide to working out for some exercise inspiration

    Want to be strong, healthy, and happy, and feel 10 years younger? Then it’s time to pick up the weights. “Strength training is no longer about being buff or skinny,” says trainer Holly Perkins, founder of Women’s Strength Nation. “It’s as critical to your health as mammograms and annual doctor visits, and it can alleviate nearly all of the health and emotional frustrations that women face today. And it becomes even more critical once you hit 50.”

    That’s because women lose up to 5% of their lean muscle tissue per decade, starting in their 30s—and that number increases after 65. “I cannot stress enough how important muscle mass is to your life,” says Perkins. “There is a direct correlation between your health and the amount of muscle mass that you have. The more you build, the faster your metabolism hums, the tighter and firmer you get, and the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off.” It also decreases your risk for diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and makes you less likely to fall or become injured.

    Of course, to Perkins—who is on a mission to get women weight lifting—the benefits go even deeper. “Something magical happens when you reach for a heavy object and are surprised by your own strength,” she says. “It’s an incredible feeling to climb a flight of stairs and feel powerful, or when you find that you no longer need the help of a man to move boxes. It’s time for women to find their power.”

    MORE: The strength training program specifically designed for women over 40, 50 and beyond.

    High-five to that. Here are Perkin’s top 10 exercises—along with her explanations about what makes each so vital—to help you get strong and sculpted at 50 and beyond.
    THE WORKOUT
    How to do it: “Every woman should do a full-body strength-training routine—such as this one—two days a week,” says Perkins. “Then, on top of that, you may add the other components of fitness like yoga, dance, walking, or swimming.” (Add one of these 3 new walking workouts that blast fat to your exercise routine.) You can complete all of these moves in one workout, or you can split them up if you’re short on time. The key is consistency. Aim to complete 3 sets for each move, and choose a weight that makes it challenging to complete the final rep of each set.

    What you’ll need: While the gym is a great place to weight train, you can do these moves right at home. All you’ll need is a chair, hand weights, and a mat.

    1. Squat to Chair

    Cindy De La Cruz
    Why: “The best way to maintain and improve bone density is through exercises that involve your entire lower body,” says Perkins. “This move is considered a weight-bearing, compound, complex exercise, and is number one for bone health. In addition, the majority of age-related falls and bone fractures involve the pelvis. This move specifically targets and strengthens the muscles and bones of the pelvis.” (Here are 4 more strength-training exercises you can do with a chair.)

    How: Stand with your feet shoulder-width distance apart and your toes turned out slightly. Extend your arms forward and keep them parallel to the floor throughout the movement. Bend your knees and reach your hips back as if to fully sit down on the chair. Lower your hips until you feel the chair underneath you, but don’t fully sit. Touch the chair with your butt, then immediately press into your heels and stand back up to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Aim to complete 10 to 15 reps.

    2. Reverse Lunge

    Cindy De La Cruz
    Why: “This move strengthens the direct movement patterns that govern walking, stair climbing, and the transition from sitting to standing,” says Perkins. “It strengthens your entire lower body and will help to keep you as active as you wish to be.”

    How: Stand next to a chair or sturdy object to use for balance. Hold a 5 to 10 pound dumbbell in your right hand and place your left hand on the chair. Focus your effort on your left leg and take a large step backward with your right leg. Use the strength of your left leg to lower down until your right knee nearly touches the floor. Press into your left heel to push upward, and step forward returning to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Aim to complete 10 to 12 reps on this side and then complete the same on the other.

    MORE: 10 Slimming Smoothie Recipes

    3. Seated Overhead Press

    Cindy De La Cruz
    Why: “One of the weakest movements for all women of all ages is pressing upward overhead,” says Perkins. “Because of the reduced muscle mass at 50, this critical movement pattern is further handicapped. This move increases the lean muscle mass around your shoulders, reducing your risk for neck, shoulder, and lower back injuries when pressing something heavy overhead.” (Try these 3 moves to sculpt strong shoulders.)

    How: Begin seated with your back supported and 5- to 8-pound dumbbells resting at your shoulders. Sit up tall and ensure that your elbows are below your wrists. Press upward so that your elbows are in front of your body, and not out to the sides. End with the dumbbells directly over your head, palms forward, with elbows fully extended, but not locked. Slowly release down following the same pattern of movement, ending at the start position. That’s one repetition. Aim for 10 to 12 reps.

    4. Standing Calf Raise

    Cindy De La Cruz
    Why: “One of the greatest concerns as we age is the risk of falling,” says Perkins. “This move improves the stability and mobility of your feet and lower legs, and the ability to know where you body is in space. This sense is called proprioception and gives you control and power over your body.”

    How: Hold a 5-10 pound dumbbell in your right hand, and place your left hand on a chair or sturdy object for balance. Shift your weight onto your left foot and lift your right foot off the floor. Stand with a long, tall spine and allow the dumbbell to hang at your side. Press into the ball of your left foot so that you move upwards onto your toes. Keep your left knee fully opened without locking it. Press upward as high as possible, then slowly lower back to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Aim to complete 15 reps on this leg, then switch and perform the same on the other.

    MORE: 60-Second Fix For A Stiff Neck

    5. Bent Over Row

    Cindy De La Cruz
    Why: “Due to gravitational pull, we are constantly fighting a battle to keep our body upright with good alignment,” says Perkins. “This move strengthens all of the muscles in your back improving both bone density of the spine and proper integration of the spinal column. It also helps to fight off the decrease in bone that occurs over 50 and will keep your posture upright.”
    How: Using 8- to 15-pound dumbbells, stand behind a chair. Place your feet under your hips and fold forward so that your head can rest comfortably on the chair or surface. Keep your knees slightly bent and your neck relaxed. Begin with your palms facing each other directly under your shoulders. Bend your elbows and pull the dumbbells towards you until your palms are next to your ribs. Draw the shoulder blades together at the top. Pause for two seconds, then slowly release back to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Aim for 12 to 15 reps.

    6. Superman

    Cindy De La Cruz
    Why: “This move is one of the number-one strengthening exercises that physical therapists use for back health,” says Perkins. “It strengthens your ‘posterior chain’ muscles that guide nearly every move you make, including your core, glutes, back, and shoulder muscles all at once, while helping to open the hips and shoulders.” (Try these 12 hip-opening yoga poses for even more strength and flexibility.)

    How: Begin with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Contract the muscles of your core and stabilize your pelvis and shoulders. Shift your balance onto your left knee and your right hand. In one movement, extend your right leg back behind you and your left arm outin front of you. Extend both as far as possible and hold for 2 seconds. Slowly release both back to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Immediately switch sides and perform the same with the left leg and right arm. Continue alternating sides for a total of 20 reps.

    7. Chest Fly

    Cindy De La Cruz
    Why: “The chest muscles (pectorals) for all women are particularly weak and underdeveloped,” says Perkins. “By increasing the mass in this muscle group you are adding a substantial percentage of lean mass towards your overall health. Additionally, the chest muscles are responsible for supporting breast tissue. This move will bring a bit more lift to your chest.”

    How: Lie on the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees and feet flat. Hold 5- to 8-pound dumbbells directly over your chest with your palms facing each other. Press your shoulders away from your ears and downward toward your hips to stabilize your core. With a very slight bend at the elbows, open your arms out to the sides until your upper arms touch the floor. Do not fully release the tension in your arms, or allow your wrists to touch the floor. Contract the muscles in your chest to return the dumbbells back to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Aim to complete 12 to 15 reps.

    8. Dumbbell Pullover

    Cindy De La Cruz
    Why: “This move improves your ability to pull heavy objects more safely and with ease,” says Perkins. “Plus, nearly all of my 50+ women first complain about the soft tissue that is on the back of their upper arms. This move directly targets the triceps muscles to bring more muscle and more tightness to this area.”

    How: Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a 10- to 15-pound dumbbell by one end so that the other end is on the floor when you extend your arms overhead. Begin with your core engaged, and draw your shoulders down away from your ears and toward your hips. From there, lift the dumbbell off the floor, keeping your arms long, and make a big arc over your body until the dumbbell is over your chest. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the floor making the same arc. That’s one repetition. Without fully releasing the dumbbell to the floor, immediately lift it again and complete 12 to 15 repetitions.

    MORE: 5 Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Vitamin D

    9. Biceps Hammer Curl

    Cindy De La Cruz
    Why: “The muscles of your upper arms are very small from a volume perspective. Due to the muscle loss that has occurred since your 30s (sarcopenia), these muscles are atrophied,” says Perkins. “It’s critical to keep your biceps muscles strong so that you are able to carry objects safely and easily. It’ll also make your arms look great.” (For more moves for sculpted arms, try this at-home workout.)

    How: Stand with your feet under your hips and hold 8- to 10-pound dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing inward. Stand with a long, tall spine. Bend your elbows and bring the dumbbells upward toward your chest, keeping your palms facing each other. Pull the dumbbells up until they touch the front of your shoulders. Pause here for 2 seconds and contract the muscles in your upper arms. Slowly lower back down to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Aim to complete 10 to 15 reps.

    MORE: 9 Proven Ways To Lose Stubborn Belly Fat

    10. Basic Ab

    Cindy De La Cruz
    Why: “For women over 50, there is a propensity to develop a distended belly,” says Perkins. “This movement is fantastic for bringing the abdominal muscles inward toward your spine, making your ab muscles stronger and tighter.”

    How: Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent so that there’s a 90-degree angle at the back of your knees. Place your hands on your thighs with your upper body relaxed. On an exhale, slowly roll your chin towards your chest and lift up until your shoulders lift off the floor. Your hands will slide upward toward your knees. Continue lifting up until your shoulders are completely off the floor or your fingertips reach your knees. Pause at the top for 2 seconds, then slowly lower back down to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Aim for 20 to 30 reps.

    Designed for Woman Over 40

    5 Easy Strength Training Exercises for Seniors

    Boost your body strength with these strength training tips for seniors.

    Strength training can be beneficial for everyone – especially seniors. Building and maintaining your body strength keeps your bones healthy, improves mobility and stability, prevents falls, and reduces pain from arthritis. It also can be a fun and rewarding way to stay active. With these benefits in mind, we’ve collected five strength training exercises for seniors you can try in the comfort of your home.

    For your safety, be sure to talk to your doctor or a fitness expert to ensure proper technique before you begin a new exercise regimen.

      1. Lying hip bridges
      2. Squats
      3. Wall push-ups
      4. Toe stands
      5. Dead bugs

    Keep reading to learn how to do these easy exercises for seniors.

    1. Lying hip bridges
    This strength training exercise focuses on your gluteal muscles (or glutes) in your backside, the largest muscle group in your body. To begin, lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Flatten your lower back across the floor, squeeze your butt, and gently push your hips up into the air. Ground through the entire foot, as if you are trying to push your toes out your shoes. Pause, then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. Increase repetitions as your body allows.

    2. Squats
    Squatting strengthens your entire lower body and core, which can make tasks like climbing stairs and picking things up off the floor easier and safer. To do this exercise, start by standing directly in front of a sturdy chair. Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and extend your arms to be parallel to the ground. As you count to five, carefully bend your knees as you slowly lower yourself towards the chair, making sure your knees do not extend beyond your toes. While the chair is there to catch you if you need it, try not to sit down – simply hover over the seat. Pause. Then, slowly rise back up to a standing position as you count to three. Repeat.

    3. Wall push-ups

    Photo credit: National Institute for Aging at NIH

    This strength training exercise for seniors is a modified version of the classic floor push-ups you may remember from phy-ed class as a kid. Find a blank wall and stand a little farther than arm’s length away. Facing the wall, lean your body forward, and place your palms flat against the wall at about shoulder-length and shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows as you lower your upper body toward the wall slowly. Count to five while keeping your feet firmly in place. Pause, then slowly push yourself back until your arms are straight once again. You can repeat these wall push-ups up to 10 times, or as many as feel challenging.

    4. Toe Stands

    Photo credit: National Institute for Aging at NIH

    Toe stands can help you strengthen your calves and ankles and restore or maintain your body’s stability and balance. To complete this move, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart near a counter or chair that you can use for support. Slowly push your heels up as far as you can go onto the balls of your feet as you count to five. Try to hold this position for two to five seconds. Then, lower your heels slowly back to the floor as you count to five, where you’ll find yourself flat on your feet.

    5. Dead bugs

    Photo credit: Life Time, Inc.

    Our last strength training exercise for seniors helps improve your core stability for greater balance and overall strength. To do a dead bug exercise, lie flat on your back with your arms and legs up in the air, your knees bent. Press the small of your lower back into the floor. While keeping your core tight and knees bent, lower one leg toward the floor and the opposite arm behind you. Pause, then lift them back up to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg as many times as your body allows without pain or straining.

    With these five strength training exercises for seniors, you can boost your body strength and feel great!

    For more articles on living your best independent life, check out our senior living and independence blog.