Staying active is important at any age, but it’s crucial as we get older. We don’t think of 30 as old, but starting at that age, our muscle mass starts to deteriorate. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to help offset the negative effects.
Patricia Greaves, a certified fitness trainer and corrective exercise specialist, says strength training is the number one exercise she recommends to help people live longer. Research shows that even people in their 70s with mobility issues can increase their longevity with a strength-training program. Major benefits include:
- Increased bone health - Regular strength training can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Muscle maintenance - It helps you hold onto muscle that you’d be losing as you get older.
- Better joint mobility - Strength training improves your range of motion and protects joints by making muscles that surround them stronger.
- Weight management - Building muscle helps boost your metabolism and makes your body more efficient at burning calories.
- Better balance - Improving your balance is crucial to helping prevent falls that can lead to injury.
Greaves says her favorite strength-training workout requires no gym or equipment and it takes less than 20 minutes. It includes these exercises:
- Squats - These help your body with basic everyday activities like getting up from a chair and picking something up off the floor.
- Static lunges - They work one side of the body at a time and help improve stability.
- Hip bridges - These can increase flexibility and improve mobility, as well as help prevent lower back pain or injury.
- Planks - They help make your core stronger, improve balance and enhance overall functional strength.
- Push-ups - These increase upper body strength and improve your endurance and stability, which helps you be steadier on your feet as you get older.