Underrated Exercises Everyone Over 40 Should Do, Says Trainer
It's simply a fact that as you enter middle age, your body undergoes some significant if subtle changes. Yes, your metabolism and your muscle mass naturally begin to slow, but also your hormones begin to change, your cells start to decline, and strange things—like the pitch of your voice—tend to experience a shift. (For more on that, see here for the Weird Things That Happen to Your Body After 40, According to Science.)
This is why, as you enter into middle age, I believe that your exercise should undergo a subtle shift, as well, and you should carve out at least a portion of your time for creating a strong foundation for basic fitness and mobility. Now, when I say "basic," I'm not saying that you can't run marathons or hit climbing walls well after 40. (Quite the opposite!) What I'm recommending is that you should devote at least some of your physical fitness to strengthening four key areas: Your posture, your glutes, your core, and your conditioning (or speed).
With those elements strong, you'll stay active, for longer—period.
If you're over 40 or older, consider incorporating these four moves into your daily routine. If you perform 3 to 4 sets of the following exercises at least 2 to 3 times per week, you'll find that you have better posture, stronger muscles, better mobility, better balance and coordination, and you'll have a much stronger heart. Oh, and those marathons or climbing sessions? You'll find that they're way easier to do. And for more ways to get fit as you age, don't miss The Best Exercises for Getting Lean After 40, According to Experts.
Bodyweight Rows (15-20 reps)
This is the move targeting your posture. To perform the bodyweight row, grab the equipment that is available to you. It can be rings (as I have here), it can be a bar, or it can be a TRX/suspension strap—whatever you've got. If you're using a strap, make sure to use a neutral grip (palms facing you). If you have a bar, you can either use the pronated (palms overhand) or supinated (underhand) grip.
Stick your feet forward and lean back slightly to at least 45 degrees. Keeping your core tight and hips high, pull yourself in by driving with your elbows towards your hips. Squeeze your lats and upper back hard to finish, then straighten your arms fully until your shoulder blades stretch at the bottom before performing another rep. And for more ways to burn fat and get fit, see here for The Secret Little Tricks for Burning More Fat Every Day, According to Experts.
Side Plank With Rotation (10 reps each side)
Here's one of the world's greatest moves for working your core. Start the exercise by laying on your side with your shoulders in line with the elbow and feet stacked. Keeping your core tight and glutes squeezed, taking your top hand and rotate towards your torso in a "scooping" motion. Get a good stretch in your upper back, then drive your elbow back to starting position, squeezing your upper back to finish. Perform all of the reps on one side before moving onto the other.
Jump Rope (30-60-second intervals)
Now, for some conditioning. Start by grabbing the rope and have your hands just outside of your hips. Flick the rope with your wrists, and jump up as the rope passes through your feet. Continuously move for the prescribed time interval. If you haven't jumped rope in a while, practice for longer. You can set a timer for 5-10 minutes and get in as many sets as you can. And for even more reasons to do this exercise, don't miss the Secret Side Effects of Jumping Rope More, Say Experts.
Bodyweight Single Leg Hip Thrust (15 reps each leg)
Start by placing your upper back on a bench or sturdy surface with one foot firmly placed. Keeping your core tight, extend your hip up by pushing through your heel of the leg planted. Squeeze hard at the top for 2 seconds, and then lower your leg under control before performing another rep. And for more amazing fitness advice, don't miss these Incredible Things That Happen When You Walk More, Say Experts.