Getting older is inevitable, but aging well and adding years to your life is optional.
As we age, our metabolism will slow down and see a gradual decline in hormone production like testosterone.
Due to the loss of muscle mass that comes with aging, we will also begin to lose strength, power, and mobility.
Not to mention, your joints will ache and flexibility can go out the window.
But thankfully, you can counter some of these declines, even slow down the aging process and live longer. In fact, it’s essential to combat muscle loss and build strength as you age to stay active and live your best life after 50.
The best way to sustain your muscle, strength, and metabolism is through strength training exercises.
But not just any strength workouts. The ones that are crucial in combating again are compound dynamic moves. Especially those functional ones that’ll train for everyday movements and engage your full body.
These four moves focus on and mimic daily movement patterns that are essential in living an independent life.
You can add these four moves into your regular workout regimen. It’ll be effective in improving all things that get impacted by aging like muscle, strength, mobility, and flexibility.
Best of all, these four exercises will help you perform your daily tasks better and more easily.
The pushup is an important exercise to continue into your 50s and beyond. Not only does it hit almost all muscles in the upper body including the chest, arms, back, and core, but also has a real-life application. It’s a functional exercise that trains you for push movements.
Whether it’s mowing the lawn or pushing the door open, pushups help build upper body strength while building your core and mobility.
How to perform floor pushups:
- Start with your hands and feet on the floor. Adjust your hands so they are slightly wider than the shoulder-width apart. Your feet should be fully extended to the back and slightly narrower than hip-width apart.
- Tuck in your abs and engage your glutes before you start. Make sure your body is in a straight line from the shoulders to the heels.
- Balance your body on your hands and toes. With control, lower your chest down towards the floor. At the bottom position, pause for a moment and push through your hands to return.
- That’s one rep. Complete 2-3 sets of 10 reps.
Walking is part of our everyday life no matter the age. But this simple everyday activity can be burdensome at a later age if you don’t maintain your strength, mobility, and stability.
That’s why the lunges are so important.
They not only mimic the walking motion by putting one foot in front of the other, but it also trains you to lunge down, which builds knee and ankle stability.
How to perform lunges:
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Tighten your core, and step forward with one foot, adjusting your weight, so your heel hits first. Keep the other foot planted flat on the floor.
- Bend your front leg until your thigh is parallel to the floor. If you have the flexibility, tap the back knee lightly on the ground. As you lunge, keep your head up. Then, press into the heel of your front foot and drive back up to your standing position.
- Complete 8 to 12 reps stepping forward with the right leg, then switch legs and repeat on the left side. Do 3 to 4 sets.
The squat is a compound lower-body exercise that’s a must in a strength program for those in the 50s.
It’s a move that’s similar to the motion of sitting down in a chair and getting up. When getting out of bed becomes difficult, an exercise like squat can bring a difference.
The squat move engages the hamstrings, quads, glutes, hips, and core. It strengthens your knees, improves lower body stability, and promotes a better posture.
How to perform a squat:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your toes should be slightly pointing outward. Straighten your arms in front of you at chest level so they are parallel with the ground, fingertips reaching.
- Start to bend at the knees and hinge at the hip joints. Keep your chest up and back muscles straight. Keep your shoulder blades back and engage your core muscles.
- Lower yourself into a squat unit your quads are parallel to the ground. Pay attention to your knees, they should not pass the front of your foot.
- Press firmly through your feet and return to the starting position by unfolding the front of your body. That is 1 repetition.
4. Squat Jumps
If you have healthy knees and joints, add in the squat jumps.
Squat jumps are a plyometric exercise that utilizes speed and resistance to build strength.
Plyometrics may not be the most common training method for older adults, but there is evidence that it can reduce age-related muscle loss. In fact, the research suggests it’ll reduce it significantly.
Here is what the research reported by ACE suggests. Plyometric training is effective in targeting power and muscle mass. Improvements in that help combat sarcopenia and build the fast-twitch muscle fiber.
Plyometrics simply helps fight the negative effects of aging such as muscle loss.
How to perform a plyometric jump:
- Begin in a squat starting position with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
- Tuck your core in and lower into a squat and swing your arms back. Immediately after reaching the low point of the squat, jump up and swing your arms up forward.
- Land softly with both feet on the ground and get into a half-squat position. That’s one rep. Complete 8-10 repetitions.