7 Strength Exercises for Better Balance as You Age
Your golden years are filled with many exciting times. But as you age, your level of physical fitness will begin to change. You begin losing muscle mass, power, and balance. The result? If you don't get started to do anything to maintain them, you could be in major trouble. We're here with seven strength exercises for better balance as you age, so gear up.
Strength training is such an important priority in life—most especially for seniors. It helps keep you young, independent, and able to perform tasks in your everyday life that require balance and stability. Just think about how difficult it can be as you get older to simply walk up and down a full staircase.
If you're concerned about improving your balance as you age, you need to perform strength training exercises. It's essential to focus on working your legs, glutes, and core, because those muscles will give you the stability to help improve your balance.
Not sure what to do? Here's a list of seven movements you can incorporate into your fitness routine. Keep reading for our best-recommended strength exercises for better balance as you age. And next up, be sure to read The Best Arm-Strengthening Exercises for Seniors.
Dumbbell Goblet Squats
Start this first exercise by holding a dumbbell to your chest while maintaining an upright posture. Keep your core tight, push your hips back, and squat down to parallel. Once you've hit parallel, drive through your hips and heels, flexing your quads and glutes to finish.
If you're having trouble getting down low enough, you can start by sitting on a chair to build your strength and stability up, and work toward completing the move. Perform 10 to 15 reps.
Bodyweight Split Squats
The bodyweight split squat starts with you placing one foot forward and the other foot behind you. Your core should be tight, and your chest tall as you descend into a split squat. Your back knee should touch the ground. Then, push through your front heel to rise back up and flex your glutes and quads to finish. Perform as many sets as you can, doing 10 reps with each leg.
If using your body weight alone is too easy, you can also do this movement with a pair of lightweight dumbbells. Perform eight to 10 reps with each leg.
Step-ups begin by putting one foot on a sturdy surface or workout bench. Keep your chest tall and your core tight as you lean into the heel of the front leg, pushing off of it to step onto the surface. Flex your quads and glutes at the top of the movement. Next, lower yourself using control before performing another rep.
If it's doable with your body weight, you can make the move more challenging by holding a pair of dumbbells. Perform 10 reps with each leg.
Side Elbow Planks
Assume a side plank position by stacking your feet and keeping your shoulders aligned with your wrists. Next, lift your hips up and forward while bracing your abs. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds before switching sides.
If the regular side plank position is too difficult to hold, you can start off with the bent-knee version instead while you build up your core strength. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds on each side.
Plank to Pushup
The plank to pushup starts in a forearm plank position. Your back and core should be tight. Squeeze your glutes. Push yourself up with one hand, and then finish with the other to get into a pushup. Return to the forearm plank position, and then begin the movement with the other arm, alternating between your planks and pushups. Complete three to five reps for each arm.
If this is too difficult, you can do a regular plank either on your hands or forearms.
For the suitcase carry, hold a dumbbell of a challenging weight by your side. Keep your chest tall, your core tight, and your spine neutral. Brace your abs hard, then start walking, using control, for 30 to 50 feet. The weight may pull you down to one side, but resisting it will really work your core. Once you complete the distance, turn around, switch the weight to your other hand, and walk back to the starting position. Carry for 30 to 50 feet.
Glute Bridge with Reach
For this final strength exercise for better balance, begin by lying flat on your back and bending your knees. Bridge your hips up toward the sky, squeezing your glutes hard at the top and holding it there. Once you're at full extension, bring one arm over and behind you, aiming to touch the ground. Alternate between hands.