Our quality of life and longevity is directly related to our health, so as we age it's important to invest in a fitness program. Exercising on a regular basis improves balance for fall prevention, gives you more energy, manages and prevents diseases, controls blood pressure and increases cognitive function, according to the National Institute on Aging.
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, you should do at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week. You should also do muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week. The guidelines also suggest that you combine aerobic and strength-training in your workouts.
This 20-minute body-weight workout fits the bill for reaping all of the benefits above. The best part? You don't need any exercise equipment. Just find a space in your home or gym, and start building muscle and endurance.
How to do it: Do each move for 10 reps (except the arm pulses, which you'll do for 30 seconds). Rest for 30 to 45 seconds between each exercise. Complete 4 total rounds. When you complete a round, rest for 1 minute before beginning the next one.
If you're new to exercise, make sure to talk with your doctor before beginning a new workout program. And, start slowly — as you get stronger, you can increase the intensity of your workouts.
- Stand with your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart and your toes facing forward or slightly outward.
- Keeping your feet flat on the floor and your back straight, brace your core and push your hips back and down until your thighs are parallel to the ground (or as low as you can comfortably go).
- Pause here for a brief moment, then drive through your heels to stand back up.
If you have any injuries or limitations that make it challenging to lower your body, you can try this move with a chair behind you and go from a standing to sitting position.
To make this move more difficult go slower on the way down to increase the time under tension.
Wall Push- Up
- Stand arm's distance from a sturdy wall with your feet under your hips.
- Place your palms on the wall, shoulder-width apart at shoulder height. This is the starting position.
- Bend your elbows and bring your chest toward the wall with your core engaged. Keep your elbows pointing away from your body at a 45-degree angle, rather than out to the side.
- Press back to the starting position.
To advance this move you have a few options: The first thing you can do is change the angle of your feet. The further you are from the wall, the harder the move will be. Once you have nailed that, you can do push-ups on the floor from your knees, and eventually move to standard push-ups when you get stronger.
Glute Bridge Walkout
- Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, feet flat on the ground and knees bent.
- On an exhale, squeeze your glutes, press into your heels and drive your hips up toward the sky.
- Raise your hips until you form a diagonal line from knees to hips to chest.
- Keeping your hips lifted, walk your right heel out, then walk your left heel out to meet it.
- Bring your left foot back flat to the starting position, then bring your right foot back to the starting position. That's 1 rep.
The further you walk your feet out the more challenging the move will be. For less of a challenge, drop your hips down between every rep.
- Get on your hands and knees with your hands directly in line with your shoulder and knees in line with your hips.
- Look down at the floor and brace your core (tucking your tailbone just slightly) to create a straight line from the tip of your head to your tailbone.
- On an exhale, reach your left arm straight out in front of you until your upper arm is in line with your ear.
- Simultaneously reach your right leg straight behind you, fully extending your knee.
- Pause here for a moment.
- Reverse the motion and return to the starting position.
- Switch sides, reaching your right arm forward and raising your left leg back.
- Pause and then go back to the starting position.
The focus during the bird dog should be on both the supporting arm and the supporting leg, as you try to keep the hips square and prevent your body from rotating. Be sure to engage your core before you initiate the lift of your arm and leg.
To advance this move, you can come off of your knees and perform the move from your feet.
Lateral Arm Pulse
- Start standing with your feet hip-width apart and your arms straight out to your sides at shoulder height.
- Pulse your arms up and down quickly for 30 seconds.
To make this move more challenging, you can gradually increase the time of your pulse.