#ad I was recently commissioned by Bathing Solutions to talk about some of the easy ways to keep active at 50 and beyond. I could quite happily bore for Ireland on this one, since I do like to keep active and I haven’t let turning 50 make any difference to that.
The earlier you start exercising, the better it is for long term health and mobility. Your body today is the sum total of your experiences and decisions over the last decade. But ultimately, all we really have is today. When it comes to taking care of yourself, whatever age you are, it’s never too late to start.
I have written before about how most of my activity is weights-based these days. Bone density, muscle tone and metabolism all decrease with age, but you can improve all three of those at once by working out with weights. This is why weights are recommended so regularly as an essential tool to help you keep active once you’re over 40.
But what if you don’t have any access to weights? No problem. Here are three bodyweight exercises anybody can do at home. You don’t need special equipment. You don’t need to join a gym. You’ll need a little bit of floor space, but not much. You can do them all in front of the telly.
Bodyweight exercises, very simply, are those that only use your own body mass. If you are over 50 and have never exercised before then please talk to your doctor before doing so. It’s not that scary though. You might enjoy it more than you think.
Do think about your posture and in particular your back. Watch lots of YouTube videos or talk to a personal trainer to help improve your technique. Jog on the spot to warm up and do plenty of stretching afterwards to maintain flexibility.
Beginner’s guide to bodyweight exercises
- Push ups
The good thing about press ups is that there are many variations depending on your strength level. This video takes you through 5 of them, starting with push ups against a wall. You could start with a few against the bathroom wall.
I tried unsuccessfully to do full push ups for years. When I turned 50 and still couldn’t do them, I assumed that that was it, and my push up days were behind me (not that they had ever been in front of me). Then a trainer at the gym showed me a very simple variation to try. Instead of starting from the floor and heaving myself up, she told me to start with my arms raised and lower myself into a push up from there. The difference was astonishing – all of a sudden I could do full press ups. I nearly cried.
All a squat really is, is sitting back into an invisible chair. That’s all there is to it. Plant your bum backwards into that invisible chair, however low that feels comfortable to you. Watch out for your knees bending forwards – if your knees start bending over your toes, it’s not good news. But if you concentrate on aiming your rear end backwards into that invisible seat, your knees should stay straight up in line with your ankles. Clench your glutes as you rise up, then go back down again. Easy.
If you’re feeling energetic you could go for a jump squat. This involves imagining that there is a hedgehog on your invisible chair, and his spikes are causing you to jump up on the air. Land back down and repeat until you feel daft.
This is a Pilates exercise that’s great for the core. Lie face down with your forearms on the floor. Extend the legs behind the body and rise up on the toes. Stay flat and make like a plank. Tighten your tummy and hold the position for as long as you can manage – start at 10 seconds and work up from there. A 30 day plank challenge like this one will help to build up your stamina.
Whatever your age, how do you stay active? If you do bodyweight exercises at home, what do you do? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.
*This post is an advert although all thoughts and words are my own.