In your 20’s, getting washboard abs to show off during bikini season might have been your motive behind going to the gym. But around your 50th birthday, your priorities need to start shuffling drastically. For most women, bone density begins to diminish after they’re 30, which is why so many women suffer from osteoporosis. Strength training, however, can preserve your bone mass and keep your posture straight. Here are 8 exercises that will help you remain strong and independent no matter your age.
1. Work On Each Muscle Group
In order to get the most out of your workout, you need to clearly chalk out your routine. Your three major muscle groups, your upper body, lower body and core, all have different needs. Choose a specific weight and routine for each of them and as your resistance builds up, add more reps. Be careful not to overdo it though, injuries are no fun.
2. Overhead Presses
If you’ve never done this exercise before, it’s essential that you start now. The deteriorating muscle mass in women over 50 will eventually make this type of movement very difficult, so put a halt to it as soon as you can. For this exercise, you will need to sit with a backrest and slowly raise dumbbells straight up. Increase the reps according to your comfort level.
3. Squats And Lunges
Complex, compound exercises like squats and lunges involve large muscle groups and are great for preserving your bone density. For added difficulty, do these exercises with varying levels of weights. Make sure you’re doing them the right way though. Your knee should never be in front of your ankle and if your calves are hurting, you need to adjust your technique.
4. Forward Row
Posture might not have seemed a big deal to you back in the day, but it’s going to be very important for you to focus on now. Age tends to draw our spines forward and makes walking very difficult. You want to stay upright and springy at every age, so you can take care of yourself. In this move, you will have to stand behind a chair and bend so that your forehead rests on its back. When you feel comfortable with your position, raise the dumbbells in your hand upward until you feel your shoulder blades drawn together. Hold for a few seconds and release.
5. Chest Presses
Your core needs to be strong no matter how old you are. But add a couple more candles to the birthday cake and this becomes even more important. In your fight to keep your core in top shape, an exercise ball and dumbbells can be your best friends. Rest the back of your head on an exercise ball and press upwards with your dumbbells to build strength.
6. Four-Limb Extensions
With your belly resting on an exercise ball, keep your arms straight down, with your hands resting under your shoulders and your feet shoulder-width apart. Do alternate raises, first with your right arm and left leg, then with your left arm and right leg. Keep increasing reps as you go so your body continues to respond to the exercise.
7. Dumbbell Pulls
Have you noticed your arms get saggy with age? If so, you’re going to want to work your triceps and tone them so you can lose all that excess flab. For a dumbbell pull, you’re going to have to lie on the floor with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Starting from one side, hold the dumbbell down lengthways and slowly form an arc over your chest until you reach the other end.
8. Bicep Curls
Ah bicep curls! The workout routine of choice for most teenage boys hoping to catch an attractive girl’s eye at the gym. As it turns out, bicep curls are just as beneficial to women over 50. The muscles in our shoulders and arms remain of functional importance the older we grow. To ensure that you’ll always be able to pull and lift, stand straight with the dumbbells down at your side. Slowly bring them upward toward your chest and once they’re at your shoulders, hold for a few seconds before returning to the starting position. Congratulations, you just did one rep. Rinse and repeat!