Want to Age Well? Build Overall Body Strength and Muscle Without Weights With These Five Moves

Age well bodyweight exercises
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Aging gracefully isn’t just about eating well and taking your daily vitamins— though they are a great help too.

A vital part of keeping your body feeling young and healthy is having the physical strength to live well and enjoy life. The better you take care of your body, the better it will get with age.

For many, taking care of your body comes down to exercising regularly.

That’s because exercise is one of the best defenses against aging and the natural physical declines that come with aging.

Exercise not only improves your circulation, heart health, and lung capacity, it benefits other aspects of your life.

Regular exercise is known to enhance sleep quality, especially for older adults, brain health, and mood. It’s also what keeps your body mobile, agile, and strong.

It’s also one sure way to bulletproof your body against age-related chronic diseases.

The good news is, you don’t need a vigorous exercise routine like running a full marathon and trying out a triathlon. You don’t even need a gym membership to get started and reap the benefits of exercise for age-proofing.

Starting with no-weight exercise at home and going for a walk often alone can lead to a significant difference in your body and help you age well.

Below, I will share the five best exercises you can do at home without weights to improve your strength, balance, and mobility

Five best bodyweight exercises to age well

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1. Pushups

Pushups

Pushups are an amazing exercise for the upper body and the core musculature. This exercise emphasizes the chest, triceps, shoulders, and abdominal muscles to a high degree. 

Even better, pushups can easily be modified to make them easier or harder simply by changing the degree of incline or decline.

How to Perform:

  • Place your hands on the floor, directly beneath your shoulders.
  • At the same time, rise up on your toes with your feet about hip-width apart.
  • Slowly lower your chest down toward the floor by bending your elbows and keeping them close to your sides.
  • Lightly touch your chest to the floor, then slowly push yourself back up into the starting position.
  • Perform 10-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session, 2-3 times per week.

2. Squats

Squats

Squats are a fantastic exercise for nearly everyone, in every stage of life. This movement is extremely functional, as we all squat throughout the day when we’re standing up from a chair or performing other daily tasks.

But performing a squat with good form is not always easy. In fact, it takes a lot of practice to become proficient in squatting. If you’re new to the squat, take your time and ensure that you develop good habits early on.

How to Perform:

  • Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, with your toes either pointing forward or slightly out to the sides.
  • Keeping your trunk straight, bend your knees and attempt to sit back as you move into the downward position of the squat.
  • Once you’ve reached the bottom of your available range, reverse the motion and return to standing to complete the rep. 
  • Repeat this alternating motion for 10 reps, for 3 sets, 2-3 times per week.

3. Inverted Rows

Bodyweight Rows
Source: Workoutlabs.com

Much like pullups, bodyweight rows are often considered a very difficult exercise. This movement requires tons of shoulder and core stability. It will challenge you in many ways and there are various ways to progress the exercise as needed.

Parameters: Perform 3-5 sets of 10-15 repetitions per session, aiming for fatigue within this rep range. Rest for 30-60 seconds between sets and exercises.

How to Perform

  • Adjust your pullup bar, or select a spot where you can grasp the bar with both hands while lying on your back.
  • Pull yourself upward, aiming to contact your chest to the bar.
  • Slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position, hovering just a bit above the floor to maintain tension.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

4. Lunges

Isometric Lunges

Lunges are a fantastic lower-body strengthening exercise. But they differ from other exercises in that they also help to increase balance. 

Furthermore, lunges emphasize single-leg strength and stability. This leads to fewer asymmetries across the lower body. It’ll also lead to a lower chance of falling or developing balance issues later in life.

Parameters: Perform 3-5 sets of 10-15 repetitions per session, aiming for fatigue within this rep range. Rest for 30-60 seconds between sets and exercises.

How to Perform:

  • Place your right leg a few feet in front of your left.
  • Slowly lower your left knee down towards the ground by bending your right knee.
  • With your left knee hovering slightly above the ground, hold this position for 15 seconds before standing back up.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps and then switch to the left leg.

5. Planks

Planks bodyweight workout

Isometric exercises, such as planks, are awesome for weight loss and strength gains. By slowly increasing your hold time on planks, you’ll slowly but surely increase your strength and endurance.

How to Perform

  • Start on your forearms and toes, with your back flat as a board.
  • Ensure that your spine is completely straight and not bending upward or downward.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can (aim for 30 seconds to start) and perform 3 sets per day, 2-3 times per week.

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Bennett Richardson, DPT, PT, CSCS
Bennett Richardson, DPT, PT, CSCS

Bennett Richardson is a physical therapist and writer out of Pittsburgh, PA. He has maintained certification as a strength and conditioning coach (CSCS) since 2014. He then went on to earn a BS in exercise science and a doctorate degree in physical therapy, both from Slippery Rock University. In his free time, Bennett likes to read and exercise.

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