Maintaining strength is crucial for seniors to lead a healthy, independent lifestyle. Research shows that muscular strength decreases as you age, anywhere from 16.6% to 40.9%. Your muscle mass naturally declines as well. That's why keeping up with regular physical activity is imperative. I recommend incorporating strength exercises into my senior clients' routines to help improve muscle mass, bone density, and overall well-being. These are my 10 best strength exercises for seniors.
Before starting any exercise program, seniors should consult with their healthcare provider to ensure it's the best plan of action. If you receive the green light, keep in mind that it's essential to start slowly, listen to your body, and make adjustments as needed.
Read on to learn all about my 10 best strength exercises for seniors. And when you're finished, check out The 13 Best Exercises To Lose Belly Fat & Slow Aging.
Bodyweight squats are effective for strengthening the lower body, including the quadriceps and glutes.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body by bending the knees and pushing the hips back. Perform two sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Wall pushups are a modified version of traditional pushups, focusing on the upper body and core strength.
Stand facing a wall with your arms extended. Lean forward, and perform a pushup against the wall. Aim for two sets of eight to 10 reps.
Chair squats are excellent for seniors with limited mobility, as they target the lower-body muscles.
Sit on a sturdy chair with your feet hip-width apart. Stand up, extending the hips and knees. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Resistance Band Rows
Resistance band rows help strengthen the upper back and improve posture.
Secure a resistance band around a stationary object. Hold one end in each hand, and pull the band toward your chest. Perform two sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Leg raises target the abdominal muscles and help improve core stability.
Lie on your back, and lift both legs toward the ceiling. Lower them back down without touching the floor. Do three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Seated Leg Press
The seated leg press is a safe way for seniors to strengthen their leg muscles without putting stress on the joints.
Sit on a leg press machine with your feet on the platform. Push the platform away with controlled movements. Aim for two sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Bicep Curls with Light Weights
Bicep curls help seniors maintain arm strength and functionality.
Hold a lightweight dumbbell in each hand. Curl the weights toward your shoulders. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Planks engage the core muscles, promoting stability and balance.
Start in a pushup position, then lower to your forearms. Hold the plank position for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat for three sets.
Step-ups enhance lower-body strength and stability.
To get started, use a sturdy step or platform. Step up and down, alternating legs. Perform two sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Tai chi is a gentle, flowing exercise that improves flexibility, balance, and overall body strength.
Follow a tai chi routine, focusing on slow, controlled movements. Practice for at least 20 minutes, two to three times a week.