As you get older, you’ll find your body can’t do all the things it used to. But that doesn’t mean finding time to work out is any harder, nor does it mean you can’t exercise regularly. It’s just a matter of finding what’s right for your body. Below are some exercises that don’t require any additional weights or a gym membership. You’re relying only on your body weight, and they’re doable for anyone, including those over 50.
Mountain climbers are a great total-body exercise. Begin in a push-up position. Bring your left foot up toward your chest. Then, bring it back down, and bring your right foot up at the same time. Keep your arms straightened while you do the exercise. It should give the illusion of “climbing a mountain” on the ground. Move quickly, but at a pace that won’t tire you out too much.
Next: This weird walk is a great total-body exercise.
This “bear crawl” exercise is another great total-body workout. Begin on your hands and knees, then rise up onto your toes (keep the knees bent). Slowly move the right side of your body forward, starting with reaching your right arm forward, then following with your right leg. Repeat with the left side of the body. You can pick up the pace as you get more used to the motion.
Next: You probably do this workout every day.
This is likely the most straightforward exercise on this list. Briskly walk up and down the stairs — that’s it. Climbing stairs is a great exercise to work your legs and core while also getting some cardio. It increases your heart rate quickly (which is why you may have noticed that climbing several flights makes you so tired). You can increase the workout by doing bicep curls with dumbbells while you climb, but stairs alone are still a great workout.
Next: This exercise is intimidating, but it’s easy.
The plank is a total body exercise centered around your core. It can be intimidating, but it’s not difficult. The most important thing to remember is not to overwork yourself. Start on the floor, then rise up and put your front weight on your forearms and your back weight on your toes. Your body should be flat — if you’re bent, that means you aren’t doing the exercise properly. Hold for at least 15 seconds, but work up to 30 seconds or one minute if possible.
Next: This imaginary seat makes for a solid leg and core workout.
Wall sits are an awesome leg workout and great for your core, too. Find an empty wall, and stand up against it. Slide your legs out so that your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. It should look as if you’re sitting in an imaginary chair with your back against the wall. Hold this for at least 15 seconds, but try to work up to 30 seconds — or even a minute — if you can.
Next: These leg exercises are easy to learn and impactful.
Lunges work your legs. Stand up straight with your legs next to each other. Move your right leg forward, and bend your knee so both your front and back legs are at a 90-degree angle. Lift yourself back up and repeat, moving the left leg forward this time. Do at least 10 per leg. Eventually, you can add dumbbells to increase the weight, but start out just using your body weight.
Next: These are one of the most beneficial leg workouts.
Squats are another easy-to-learn leg workout. Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees so that your thighs become parallel to the floor, then rise up again. Make sure your knees are never further forward than your toes (this is to ensure you’re doing the exercise right). Also, don’t let your heels come up from the floor. Try to do 10 of these in a row, and you can up the count as you become more comfortable with them.
Next: This exercise does wonders for calves.
Calf raises are the ultimate calf workout. Stand with your legs together. Rise up onto your toes, hold for two seconds, then lower back down onto your feet. Repeat this, and try to do at least 15. They don’t burn at first, but you’ll quickly start to feel their benefit after the first few. If you can push it up to 30, that’s even better.
Next: This classic exercise seems tough, but there are ways to make it doable.
Push-ups (with the knees)
Push-ups are not super easy for anyone with a weak upper body. But if you do them on your knees, you’ll cut some of that weight down and get in a good upper body workout. Start in a regular push-up position, but drop to your knees. Then, with your arms spread shoulder-width apart, lower the arms toward the ground. Stop about an inch from the ground, hold for a second, then raise the arms back up. Try to do at least 10. The more you do them, the more your strength will increase, and you may be able to do them on your toes further down the line.
Next: This exercise is named for it’s heroic look.
Work your chest and back with the superman exercise. Start out lying face down with your arms extended (above your head) and your legs extended. Then, raise your arms and legs up off the ground as high as you can, or just high enough to create a curve in your body. Hold for two to five seconds, then lower back down. Try to do at least 10, but don’t overwork your body. And remember, progress makes perfect, so if you can only lift your limbs off the ground even an inch, you’ll get better in time.
Next: You’ll definitely be able to do this arm workout in your home.
Find a bench or a sturdy ledge for this arm exercise. Put your arms on the bench, and keep your feet on the floor with knees slightly bent. Lift yourself up with your arms until your arms are completely straightened, then lower your arms back down to a 90-degree angle. That’s one rep. Do at least five, and work toward 10.
Next: This simple exercise can be done while watching TV.
This exercise is mindless but offers great benefits. Stand up straight, and put your arms straight out from your sides. Rotate the arms in clockwise circles that are about one foot in diameter. Do this for at least 20 seconds, but try to work up to 30 seconds or more. Make sure you’re standing while doing them, but feel free to watch television, and the 20-30 seconds will fly by.
Next: Work your core with this workout.
This exercise focuses on your core. Start lying flat, with your arms at your sides and palms facing down. Lift your heels off the floor while keeping the legs extended. Make quick up-and-down movements with the feet, as if your feet were “fluttering.” Start out at 20 or 30 seconds, but try to work up to a minute. You’ll feel it in your core almost instantly, but longer you work at it, the longer you’ll be able to keep it going.
Next: This twist-style exercise is great for your core.
For this core exercise, you’ll need to sit on the floor. Bend your knees about halfway (not fully bent into your chest, but slightly). Lower your back to a 45-degree angle with the ground, and twist your arms from side to side. When you get comfortable with it, you can add more weight, such as a medicine ball. But start out by just using your body weight.
Next: This is a different take on a classic core exercise.
This is a slightly more involved take on a classic crunch. And while these can be very effective, if you have back problems, they might not be for you. Lie down with your knees bent in toward your chest. Move your right elbow toward your left knee, while your right leg extends. Do the same for the other side. Try to do at least 30 of these.
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