Feeling tired and out of shape? Feel like you’re losing your touch with your body? It doesn’t have to be this way. It can be changed with some simple additions to your daily routine.
Weight training for seniors is a great way to stay in shape. Moderate but regular exercise can drastically lower your chances of age-related diseases. Weight lifting helps you regain muscle mass loss due to atrophy. Exercise can also prevent bone loss, high blood pressure and more. And you’ll feel much livelier too!
Learn more about dumbbell exercises for seniors in this article! Some exercises include links to demonstration videos.
Before You Start…
If you are a beginner, you can read about the basic weightlifting terminology and types of training programs here. Also, take some safety precautions. Weight lifting for seniors isn’t dangerous, but it is advised to check with your doctor. And remember: drink water, start slowly and stop if something hurts.
Why Choose Dumbbells?
There are multiple exercise methods out there. Dumbbells offer flexibility and convenience. You can use a full set, but a range of at least three different weights would suffice. They are small and easy to store in your home.
If you truly do not want to buy dumbbells, you can try using a full water bottle or something of similar weight and size. Those can work well as an alternative, but dumbbells are still the best option.
Choose a set that is easy and comfortable to grip. Then read on!
Build Your Core: Abdomen
Target muscles: abdominal muscles and lower back
Exercise: pelvic tilts
Repetition: 8-12 times each set
One dumbbell in each hand
This exercise can be done either sitting in a chair or lying on the ground.
Sit at the edge of the chair and keep your feet flat on the ground. Draw in your abdominal muscles by sucking in. This engages your abdominal muscles during the exercise.
Raise your arms overhead. Then bring the dumbbells down and forward until they are about shoulder-height. Hold them there for one count before lowering to complete one repetition.
Continue with pelvic tilts if you can lie on the floor. This further strengthens your abs and also targets your lower back muscles.
Hold the weights by the side of your body. Keep your knees bent and feet firmly planted. Perform pelvic tilts by slowly moving your hips up and down.
This exercise tightens your entire core.
Strengthen Your Upper Back
Target muscles: upper back, shoulders, neck
Exercise: shoulder shrugs
Repetition: 8-12 each set
One dumbbell in each hand
Stand and hold a dumbbell in each hand for this exercise. Raise both shoulders as high as possible. Roll them down in a backwards motion. Reverse by beginning with shoulders retracted in the back to complete on repetition.
This dumbbell workout for men over 50 is recommended by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. However, many people make grave mistakes while performing this. Please view the video and follow directions carefully.
While your abdominals make up your core, your legs are what support you. Strengthen several major leg muscle groups with this workout.
Begin by standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell with one hand and hold onto something for support with the other. Ease into a shallow squat, and then rise to the original standing position. Try to keep your back straight and do not arch it while squatting. Change the dumbbell to the other side every repetition.
If you can perform this without holding onto something for support, it’ll be even better. Hold a dumbbell with both hands to spread the weight and stress evenly across your body. You can also increase the intensity by squatting until your legs are a 90 degreeangle.
Target muscles: gastrocnemius (calf) muscles
Exercise: calf raises
Repetition: 15-20 each set
Calf raises are an easy way to work out your calf muscles. Standing and going onto your toes is the typical way to perform calf raises.
However, there is also a seated alternative. This is recommended for seniors who need to go easy on the knees. Simply sit straight on a chair and place one dumbbell on each knee. Lift your heels up and go onto your toes as high as possible. One up and down motion counts as one repetition. There are actually specific machines designed for this.
Aquatics: Water Dumbbells
Your local pool is a great place to perform dumbbell exercises for seniors. This is especially true if you have joint problems. If you cannot comfortably perform the exercises above, workouts in the water are the solution for you.
Water’s buoyancy can support up to 90 percent of your weight. This will greatly relieve stress on your joints. Choose water dumbbells for an alternative workout routine.
Any of the standing exercises mentioned above can be performed in the water. You can try the abdominal muscle workout first.
Simply raise your weights out of the water and over your head. Lower them to shoulder-height and end a repetition by pushing the dumbbells back into the water. The water will also increase the intensity by giving resistance when you push or pull the weights from the water. Remember to always draw in your ab muscles to engage them.
Dumbbell exercises for seniors are characterized by their accessibility. You do not need fancy equipment to perform any of the above routines. Many can be done while sitting. You can adjust the level of intensity as needed.
A stronger and more youthful body is not the only benefit from these dumbbell exercises for seniors.
Weekly strength training can increase coordination and cognitive thinking. You can also try some light cardio activity, such as walking and swimming.
The workouts can bring back your energy and give you the strength needed to enjoy other activities. Take advantage of this to revisit some favorite pastimes that you might have given up.