If strength training wasn’t a priority before, there’s still time to build muscle, recharge your metabolism and cut the risk of obesity-associated diseases. Resistance training helps prevent bone loss and osteoporosis and improves balance as you age. Plus, it does wonders for brain health.
Our arms in particular grow weaker from disuse as we age. Toning your arms can also work your shoulders, chest, rotator cuffs, core and even lower body. You’ll benefit from a stronger cervical spine and thorax too, says Dr. Kathy Gaul, a professor at the School of Exercise Science, Physical & Health Education at the University of Victoria.
Strengthening hamstrings is especially key now, as these muscles cover the hip and knee joints, which become more fragile with age. “Exercises that work this area help with lower back, knee and hip pain, while protecting those parts as well,” says Jenny Kong Kam Wa, personal trainer and muscle activation technique specialist at Parallel Fitness in Richmond Hill.
Single-leg bridge with tricep pullover
In the bridge position, hold one dumbbell in each hand with arms straight over chest. Squeeze glutes and lift your right leg off the floor. Bend both arms and move dumbbells slowly behind your head toward the floor, keeping your upper back press against the floor. Complete 10 to 12 tricep pullovers, then switch legs and repeat.
Curl to press extensions
Holding one dumbbell in each hand, bend at the elbow to bring dumbbells toward shoulders. Next, press dumbbells toward ceiling by straightening your arms above your shoulders. Bend right arm back toward your right shoulder, then repeat on left side. Return to starting position and complete 10 to 12 sets.
From a seated position, place your hands on the floor behind hips and point your fingers toward your toes. Bend knees and lift toes, keeping your heels on the floor. Press through your hands and heels to lift your hips, then bend and straighten your arms for 12 to 15 reps.
Originally published in 2018; updated in 2021