As you get older, your body starts to deteriorate. You can lose strength and flexibility and have problems moving around. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you continue to exercise regularly, you can keep fit and healthy, feeling better and hopefully living longer as well. Here are a few weightlifting exercises for seniors that can help you improve your overall strength and stay in shape.
- Bicep Curls. Sit in a chair, with a weight in each hand, placing your back flat against the chair’s back and your feet on the ground. Lift both the weights by bending your elbows and bringing them up about three quarters of the way to your shoulders. Inhale as you raise the weights and exhale as you lower them. Repeat about 10 times.
- Overhead Press. Also in a chair, back straight and feet on the floor, hold the weights up by your shoulders, with palms facing forward. Raise your arms straight up over your head, then lower them again. Do this 10 to 12 times.
- Knee Extensions. For this one, you’ll need ankle weights on both feet. Again, we start out in the chair. Gradually lift one leg up and extend it in front of you. Put it down again. Then do the same with the other leg. Do this 10 times with each leg.
- Dead Lift with Straight Legs. For this one, we stand up. And instead of handheld weights, we’ll use a barbell (though it can also be done with two dumbbells, if you prefer). Hold your feet just short of shoulder width apart. Take hold of the barbell firmly with both hands. Bend over, keeping your knees only slightly bent, lowering the barbell as you do, but not all the way to the floor. Then stand up straight, raising the barbell naturally. Repeat 10 times.
- Upright Rowing. This exercise is designed to strengthen your shoulders. Stand up, feet shoulder width apart. Grip the barbell and hold your arms at your sides, palms facing towards your body. Draw the weight up to shoulder height by bending your elbows. Then lower it again. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
With these five exercises, you have a basic weightlifting routine that you can engage in two or three times a week. Before you begin any new exercise regime, though, particularly as you get older, it’s important to consult with your doctor.
Get a thorough examination, make sure you’re healthy enough for the exercises you have in mind, and ask them what they recommend, based on your medical history. If you’re a diabetic, they may also choose to change your insulin intake or other drugs, based on the routine you choose.
You should also make sure your weights are heavy enough to challenge you and help you build strength, but not so heavy that they’ll cause injuries or accidents, or force you to overexert yourself. This is something else you should talk to your doctor about: how much weight you should start with as you begin lifting, and how quickly or gradually you should build up both your weight and your number of repetitions.
Above all, always be safe. Stay hydrated, both during and after your workout. If you start to feel pain, stop immediately. If you’re not sure how to do a particular exercise, or you have problems with it, talk to a fitness expert to make sure you’re performing it correctly.
Getting older doesn’t have to mean growing stagnant. With a little effort and planning, you can stay healthy and active throughout your golden years, and feel better than you have in your life.