As the years go by, staying on top of your physical fitness should be a top priority. You’re in charge of preserving and building lean muscle mass, because you lose 3% to 5% of it every 10 years after turning 30. This natural change that occurs as you grow older is known as sarcopenia. A report from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research reveals that individuals who have sarcopenia are 2.3 times more likely to suffer from a low-trauma fracture due to a fall, like a broken collarbone, arm, hip, leg, or wrist (via Harvard Health Publishing). To help you stay on top of your fitness game, we’ve rounded up five easy strength exercises to regain muscle mass as you age.
Consider strength training your new best friend. Strength training can help you maintain bone density—which lowers your risk of developing osteoporosis—and preserve muscle strength and tissue. This form of exercise can also enhance your coordination and balance, lower depression, aid in fat loss, and improve how you sleep (via Sharp). What’s not to love about all of that healthy fitness goodness?
When selecting just the right strength exercises, opt for a combo of both machines and free weights. Machines are great because they help you maintain form and tension in just the right muscles. With free weights, sticking to basic exercises is the way to go to help you regain muscle mass as you age. Without further delay, here are five easy strength exercises you should start doing pronto.
Start your Leg Press by positioning yourself on the leg press sled with your feet outside shoulder-width and pointed slightly outward. Press the weight up, then pull the switches to unlock the machine. Lower the weight using control, then drive through your heels, flexing your quads and glutes to finish the motion. Perform 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.
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Next up is Seated Rows. To get started, grab the attachment on a seated row machine, and place your feet firmly on the footpad. Pull the handle out, then completely straighten out your legs. Keeping your chest tall, drive your elbows back toward your hips, squeezing your back and lats hard to finish. Straighten your arms, and get a good stretch in your shoulder blades before performing another rep. Perform 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.
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Begin the Incline Dumbbell Bench Press by lying down on an incline bench. You should be holding a dumbbell in each hand. Press the weights straight up above your body with your arms completely extended. Pull your shoulder blades back and down into the bench as you lower the weights with control toward your chest. Get a good chest stretch at the bottom of the motion, then press the dumbbells back up to the position you started in, squeezing your upper pecs and triceps at the top. Perform 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Now, get ready for Machine Lying Leg Curls. Prep for this strength exercise by lying down on the leg curl machine with your chest and hips pressed against the pad. Start by dragging your heels toward your body, flexing your hamstrings hard to finish. Lower the weight using control, maintaining tension in your hamstrings until your legs are fully extended. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
Last but certainly not least, we have Standing Dumbbell Curls. Grab a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing up, then curl the weights up to your chest, flexing your biceps hard at the top of the motion. Resist on the way back down until your arms are totally straightened, maintaining tension the entire time. Perform 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.