Weight-bearing exercises help slow the effects of aging, such as a decrease in bone density. This is most commonly associated with osteoporosis. Women are particularly susceptible to this condition because of decreasing estrogen levels as they age, according to the Mayo Clinic. Along with calcium supplementation, health care experts frequently prescribe weight-bearing exercises to help improve bone health.
Walking, jogging, standing up and sitting down, going up and down stairs, and any movements that put weight on your bones are considered weight-bearing exercises, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Seniors who may not have the balance, strength or coordination to lift weights or use weight machines can use such activities as shopping, gardening and dancing to strengthen their bones.
The term calisthenics--also known as bodyweight exercises--refers to exercises done without weights, bands, cords or machines. This category includes push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, squats, lunges, calf raises, dips, jump rope, jumping jacks, butt kicks, high-knee skips, jogging in place, pull-ups and chin-ups.
For example, try butt kicks. Jog in place, kicking your buttocks with your heels. To perform high-knee skips, jog forward or in place, raising your knees as high as you can with each step.
Use light weights to perform such weight-bearing exercises as biceps curls, triceps extensions, chest presses, flyes, front raises, deadlifts, calf raises, squats and lunges.
To perform flyes, hold your arms out at your sides. Slowly bring the dumbbells together in front of your chest. Start triceps extensions with the weight behind your head. Raise your arms straight up. For calf raises, raise your heels off the floor, hold the position for a second or two, then lower yourself.
Weight Machine Exercises
Weight machines come in universal or exercise-specific types, with single-exercise machines most commonly found at gyms and fitness centers. With home gyms or weight machines, you can perform many of the exercises listed in the dumbbells section above, as well as such exercises as bench presses, lat pulldowns, hamstring curls and leg presses.
For a lat pulldown, you can stand, kneel or sit. Pull a weighted bar or cable from above your head to chest level, either in front of your head or behind it. To perform hamstring curls, lie on your stomach with your ankles under a weight bar. Use your hamstrings to raise the bar.