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Strength training for women over 50

 

While everyone regardless of age or gender can reap the benefits of strength training, it is especially important for women over 50 to strength train in order to maintain a strong, healthy body. Women lose up to 5% of their lean muscle tissue per decade, starting in their 30s, increasing even more after 65, and sedentary adults between the ages of 30 and 80 can experience as much as 30 to 40 percent loss of muscular strength from reduced levels of muscle mass.1 Strength training exercises can therefore provide the body with many benefits that keep you feeling younger, stronger and more energetic.

Strength Training Benefits:

1. Builds Muscle Mass

Building muscle mass doesn’t mean becoming a bodybuilder. It simply means you more able to stay independent and strong for life’s daily activities such as carrying groceries or lifting grandchildren.

2. Builds Bone Density

Strength training helps decrease the chances of broken bones for elderly people by increasing bone mineral density, strengthening the muscle and connective tissue that surrounds bones, and making you stronger overall to prevent future falls in the first place.

3. Decreases Body Fat

Too much body fat isn’t good for you at any age, especially when you get older, making it harder to move and increasing your risk of diseases.

4. Lowers the Risk of Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Diabetes, Obesity, Back Pain, Depression.

5. Improves Mental Health

Strength training has been proven to improve your general self-efficacy and can help lessen the incidence of depression.

Essential Strength Training Moves for Women Over 50

10 Essential Strength Training Moves

The following essential strength training moves workout will give you 10 exercises that women over 50 can focus on during their workouts. All you'll need is a chair, hand weights, and a mat.

1. Squat

This is a number one move for bone health, with the potential to reduce age-related falls and bone fractures in the pelvis.

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart. You can hold dumbbells to make it harder.
  2. Bend your knees as if you are going to sit back into a chair.
  3. Make sure that you keep your knees behind your toes.
  4. Rise back up and repeat.
  5. Complete 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

2. Shoulder Overhead Press

One of the weakest movements for all women of all ages is pressing upward overhead. This move increases lean muscle mass around your shoulders, reducing your risk for neck, shoulder, and lower back injuries when pressing something heavy overhead.

  1. Sitting down, with your back straight, hold 5- to 8-pound dumbbells at shoulder level, ensuring that your elbows are below your wrists.
  2. Press upward so that your elbows are in front of your body, and not out to the sides.
  3. End with the dumbbells directly over your head, palms forward, with elbows fully extended, but not locked.
  4. Slowly release down following the same pattern of movement, ending at the start position.
  5. Complete 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

3. Plank

The plank is simply one of the best exercises for core conditioning as it improves posture, supports a healthy back, enhances overall movement and coordination and tones your midsection.

  1. Begin lying on the floor with your forearms flat on the floor, making sure that your elbows are aligned directly under your shoulders.
  2. Engage your core and raise your body up off the floor, keeping your forearms on the floor and your body in a straight line from head to feet.
  3. Keep your abdominals engaged and try not to let your hips rise or drop.
  4. Complete 3 sets, holding each for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

4. Modified Push Up

Women have particularly weak and underdeveloped chest muscles. Increase the mass in this muscle group to add a substantial percentage of lean mass towards your overall health.

  1. Begin in a kneeling position on a mat with hands below shoulders and knees behind hips so back is angled and long.
  2. Tuck toes under, tighten abdominals, and bend elbows to lower chest toward the floor.
  3. Press chest back up to the start position.
  4. Complete 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

5. Sit Up

This move makes your ab muscles stronger and tighter.

  1. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent so that there's a 90-degree angle at the back of your knees.
  2. Place your hands on your thighs.
  3. Roll your chin towards your chest and lift up until your shoulders lift off the floor. Your hands will slide upward toward your knees.
  4. Continue lifting up until your shoulders are completely off the floor or your fingertips reach your knees.
  5. Pause at the top for 2 seconds, then slowly lower back down to the starting position.
  6. Complete 3 sets of 20 to 30 reps.

6. Superman

Physical therapists often use this move for back health, as it strengthens your posterior chain muscles that guide nearly every move you make.

  1. Kneel on the mat on all fours.
  2. Reach one arm long, draw in the abdominals, and extend the opposite leg long behind you.
  3. Complete 3 sets of 8-12 reps for each side.

7. Reverse Lunge

This move strengthens the movement patterns that govern walking, stair climbing, and the transition from sitting to standing to keep you active.

  1. Stand next to a chair or sturdy object to use for balance.
  2. Hold a 5 to 10 pound dumbbell in your right hand and place your left hand on the chair.
  3. Focus your effort on your left leg and take a large step backward with your right leg.
  4. Use the strength of your left leg to lower down until your right knee nearly touches the floor.
  5. Press into your left heel to push upward, and step forward to return to the starting position.
  6. Complete 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps on each side.

8. Standing Calf Raise

This move improves the stability and mobility of your feet and lower legs, giving you control and power over your body.

  1. Place both your hands on a chair or sturdy object for balance.
  2. Stand up straight with a long, tall spine.
  3. Press upwards into the ball of your feet so that you move upwards onto your toes.
  4. Press upward as high as possible, then slowly lower back to the starting position.
  5. Complete 3 sets of 15 reps.

9. Bent Over Row

This move strengthens all of your back muscles to improve bone density and keep your posture upright.

  1. Hold 8- to 15-pound dumbbells in each hand.
  2. Place your feet under your hips and fold your upper body forward.
  3. Keep your knees slightly bent and your neck relaxed.
  4. Begin with your palms facing each other directly under your shoulders. Bend your elbows and pull the dumbbells towards you until your palms are next to your ribs.
  5. Draw the shoulder blades together at the top. Pause for two seconds, then slowly release back to the starting position.
  6. Complete 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

10. Biceps Hammer Curl

Keep your biceps muscles strong with this move so you can carry objects safely and easily.

  1. Stand with your feet under your hips and hold 8- to 10-pound dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing inward.
  2. Stand with a long, tall spine.
  3. Bend your elbows and bring the dumbbells upward toward your chest, keeping your palms facing each other.
  4. Pull the dumbbells up until they touch the front of your shoulders.
  5. Pause here for 2 seconds and contract the muscles in your upper arms. Slowly lower back down to the starting position.
  6. Complete 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

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Sources:

  1. Verywellfit, Must-Do Strength Training Moves for Women Over 50 & Prevention, 10 Best Strength-Training Moves For Women Over 50

 

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