I understand that most people don’t like to exercise. This is especially true for those in their 50’s and older, who are likely suffering from joint pain and other orthopedic issues.
After all, when a joint is hurting, the last thing you want to do is exercise it, right?
However, exercise is one of the best remedies for pain and dysfunction in older individuals. This fact has been proven time and time again through research studies.
But between caring for your family, working, and dealing with all of the other aspects of life relevant to this age, exercise often takes a back seat.
For this reason, I have compiled three of the best exercises that can be performed 2-3 times a week for better joint and muscle health. This will save you time, while still providing a way to achieve the amazing benefits inherent in exercise.
No Equipment Needed
Truth be told, you don’t need an expensive gym membership or fancy equipment to get a great workout. In fact, all you really need is adequate floor space, the right mindset, and some guidance on which exercises you should be performing.
The following three exercises are perfect for those who are short on time and who don’t have access to a gym space.
You should perform these three movements 2-3 times a week.
Additionally, be sure to achieve 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise and a few days of flexibility training per week in order to put yourself in the best position possible for healthy aging.
The Best 3 Exercises for Those Over 50
Here they are! Grab a towel, clear some space on the floor, and get ready to start your fitness journey with this phenomenal workout.
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1. Box Squats
Box squats are the perfect alternative to the classic squat. This variation allows for individuals to experience less joint stress, especially with regard to the knees. Furthermore, box squats enable exercisers to learn proper squatting form without fear of falling or performing the movement incorrectly.
If you don’t have a plyo box, you can, of course, simply use a chair for this exercise.
How to Perform
- Start standing, facing away from your chair/box.
- Slowly lower your buttocks down toward the chair by bending your knees, while keeping your back straight and chest high.
- At the bottom of the movement, your buttocks should lightly touch the chair.
- Once you’ve contacted the chair, reverse the motion and stand back up, completing one repetition of the movement.
- Perform 10-15 reps per set, 2-4 sets per session, 3-4 times per week.
2. Bird Dogs
This exercise often shows up on lists of “best exercises”. This isn’t an accident!
The bird dog is a superlative exercise that incorporates balance, strength training, and many other components of fitness.
Just like the other exercises on this list, bird dogs can be performed virtually anywhere, and they can be modified in a variety of ways.
If you’re finding this exercise to be way too easy, try holding some light dumbbells as you perform the movement. On the other hand, if you find bird dogs to be too difficult, try only moving one limb at a time.
How to Perform
- Begin the movement by balancing on your hands and knees. Specifically, be sure that your knees are directly beneath your hips and that your hands are directly beneath your shoulders.
- Extend your right arm straight in front of you as you simultaneously extend your left leg behind you.
- Balance in this position for 10 seconds, then return to the starting position.
- Repeat the movement on the opposite side.
- Complete 10-12 repetitions per side during each set, 2-4 sets per session, 3-4 times per week.
When it comes to exercise, what movement could possibly be better than one named for the Man of Steel? This exercise works perfectly for increasing shoulder and spinal mobility.
To be clear, however, Superman can be uncomfortable for some people. This motion forces the spine into hyperextension. As a result, some people experience pain or discomfort when performing the exercise.
If this is the case for you, you should forgo this exercise and follow up with a medical provider for advice on addressing your back pain.
How to Perform:
- Initiate this movement by lying flat on your stomach.
- With your arms straight in front of you and your legs behind you, raise both legs and both arms up towards the ceiling.
- At the same time, lift your chest off of the ground as far as you can.
- In this position, you should feel like superman flying through the air!
- Hold this pose for 10 seconds, repeat for 10-12 reps per set, 2-4 sets per session, and 3-4 sessions per week.
It doesn’t take much to become healthy, even later in life. By performing these three movements a few times a week, you’ll set yourself up for good health and long, fruitful life. Try these exercises out today!
- Susko, A. M., & Fitzgerald, G. K. (2013). The pain-relieving qualities of exercise in knee osteoarthritis. Open access rheumatology: research and reviews, 5, 81–91. https://doi.org/10.2147/OARRR.S53974