Exercises for old age without pain, from a PT

WOMENewton has been working on something (beyond mere physics) with the whole “an object in motion remains in motion”. Longevity experts have made it clear: If you’re hoping to limit aches and pains in old age, staying active now is key.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean forcing your body from grueling exercise to grueling exercise—in fact, it’s much simpler and less brutal than that.

How to exercise for healthy old age

When thinking holistically about exercise for longevity, there are some common themes to keep in mind.

Think of the first function

Different exercises can address different aspects of the aging process, such as how high-impact exercises benefit bone strength. But nothing is more helpful for healthy aging than functional fitness. This fitness buzzword basically means working out in a way that gives you strength that you can use in the moves you perform in your daily life. And it doesn’t matter if it’s cardio or weight lifting.

Ryan Chow, DPT, founder of Reload, a physical therapy and exercise facility, explains: “If an exercise provides an adaptation that helps someone be more likely to do what they need to do. , then it’s a functional exercise. elderly population.

Ingrid Clay, CPT, a trainer on Centr, a personalized coaching app, adds: “Function is defined as ‘useful,’ purposeful’ — things like bending, twisting, lifting, loading, pushing, pulling, squatting and pulling. Functional fitness often works on flexibility and balance, which are key components of healthy aging, as they help prevent falls and injuries, Clay adds. Functional exercises designed to help you, such as safely getting out of a car or walking down stairs—realistic movements we need to make to maintain independence as we age. .

Do it often enough

It’s not just about how you move, but how much time you spend on the move. Chow recommends following physical activity guidelines set by the World Health Organization or the American Heart Association: 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise throughout the week. and incremental resistance training (also called strength training) that targets all major muscle groups twice a week.

Dr Chow said: “A growing body of evidence suggests that this could reduce all causes of death by 40%. “Perhaps more importantly, achieving these principles also gives you [greater] life quality.”

Change your workout

For best results as you age, avoid repeating the same type of exercise over and over. Instead, mix things up. Even if what you love most is walking, push yourself to try a regular yoga or cycling class. This ensures you are moving your body in all planes of motion and maintains a healthy heart, lungs, and muscles. “Doing both resistance training and cardio training can keep your metabolic and cardiovascular systems healthy, while maintaining muscle and joint health and function,” says Dr. so you can stay healthy as you age.

Five strength exercises you can do at home for a healthy old age

Whether you’re 25 or 75, these functional exercises suggested by Dr. Chow will prepare you for safe, comfortable mobility for a lifetime. Add them to your weekly routine, along with regular aerobics exercises for a longevity-focused regimen.

Isometric split squat

“This exercise involves balancing and getting up and down off the ground,” says Dr.

  1. With one foot in front and the other in the back, bend both knees to a 90-degree angle with both feet.
  2. Hold for as long as possible, with a goal of working for up to two minutes.

Modification: If 90 degrees is too deep to bend and hold comfortably, hold the position slightly higher or use a sturdy object for light touch for support.

Supported deep squats

“This exercise trains both strength and mobility in the hips and knees,” says Dr. Clay adds that the lower body strength you build while squatting “is important for maintaining balance and mobility as we age.”

  1. Stand in front of a closed door that doesn’t swing toward you. Feet should be slightly wider than hip-distance apart and toes pointed slightly outward.
  2. Grasp the doorknob for leverage as you bend both knees to slowly move into a squat, taking five seconds to get there.
  3. Pause at the bottom for a second.
  4. Slowly push the soles of the feet back to standing, taking five seconds to get there.

Exercise Note: Keep tension on the doorknob to work the upper body, helping to maintain a straight back throughout the movement.

Sitting wall with raised heel

This exercise trains the soles and Achilles tendons to maintain elasticity and absorb impact in the hips, knees, and ankles,” says Dr.

  1. Stand with your back to the wall. Press your head, upper back, and butt into the wall as you step your feet away from the wall and begin to slide into a seated position, with your knees and hips bent at 90 degrees.
  2. Lift your heels up without moving anything else. Try to hold for 60 seconds.

Progression: After you can hold the wall at heel height for one minute, try holding for as long as possible on one foot, then the next.

bat wings

“This exercise works the muscles in the upper back to maintain the ability to stand upright,” says Dr. “These are your gravity-defying muscles to limit the negative effects of gliding and slipping.”

  1. Start standing with your hands behind your ears, palms facing forward, and elbows outstretched.
  2. Use your lats (the big muscles in your sides and upper back) to pull your elbows down and toward your sides, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  3. Squeeze and hold for five seconds.

Form tip: Don’t fold in while bringing your elbows down to your sides. Keep your chest lifted. The arm will mimic the letter W.


“This exercise works your shoulders, torso, thighs and most importantly, your toes,” says Dr. Chow. “It is important to maintain the ability to land with the toes to allow for push-ups during fast activities such as running or brisk walking, in addition it also controls stress on the big toe joint, which can prevent the development of big toe swelling.”

  1. Start in a position with your hands and knees on a tabletop, with your toes closed.
  2. Use the core to lift the knee off the ground in the hover state.
  3. From here, crawl slowly forward, backward, and side to side with the goal of maintaining the motion and raising the knee for 30 seconds.

Exercise tip: Try to keep your back flat and hips parallel to the ground.


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