Would you like to slow down the signs of aging? Exercise is like the fountain of youth, helping to preserve the mind and body. Power up your brain and brawn with the following age-defying workouts:
Age and a sedentary lifestyle can cause lean muscle mass to atrophy due to a condition called sarcopenia. When muscle mass begins to decline, your body weakens. An easy way to reverse this process and maintain healthy muscle tissue is to incorporate strength training and multi-joint movements into your weekly workout routine.
Multi-joint movements such as squats, dead lifts and lunges recruit several muscle groups at once, as opposed to isolated movements such as bicep curls. The benefits include a higher caloric expenditure, improved muscle strength, a wider range of motion at the joint and overall better body mechanics. These exercises also fire up the metabolism and heart rate, which helps slim the midsection. A trim waistline should be a priority at any age, as a bulky belly is associated with a higher risk of inflammation and earlier mortality.
Perk up your posture
Proper posture is necessary for the body to function effectively. However, years of wear and tear, poor posture, and declining bone density can compromise the structure and safety of your spine.
Boost your musculoskeletal health by practicing the following posture perfecting exercises:
Shoulder Blade Squeeze
- Begin by standing, or sitting, with your spine straight and the shoulders back.
- Bend your arms to form a 90-degree angle at your elbows.
- Keeping your arms close to your body, push your chest out and bring your elbows back as you squeeze the shoulder blades together. Hold for 5 counts. Repeat 12-15 times.
- Start in a prone position, resting your palms on either side of your shoulders, with your elbows close to your ribs.
- Inhale as you push through your forearms, pulling your torso up from the ground. You should feel your spine lengthen and the ribs expand.
- Exhale as you slowly lower the upper body into the starting position. Repeat 10-12 times.
- Position your body so your heels, butt, shoulders and back of the head are touching wall.
- Keeping your elbows bent, bring your arms up to create a “W.”
- Glide your arms up into an overhead position, then slowly return them back to the starting stance. Repeat 12-15 times.
Care to dance?
As we age, muscular endurance, memory and balance begin to decline. Whether you like to tango, jive or boogie-woogie, dancing is one of the most effective exercises for improving cognitive function because it forces the brain to remember movement patterns, footwork speeds and rhythms.
Most gyms offer Zumba classes, which focus on burning major calories with fast feet and fun rhythms. While any form of dance is great for pumping up your pulse, aim for classes that teach you specific moves to sharpen your memory and improve muscle coordination.
Ashley B. Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.