The 5 longevity exercises recommended by a physical therapist to keep you strong and pain-free as you ageNo equipment required

Noewton was onto something (beyond pure physics) with the whole thing of a moving body staying in motion. Longevity experts are clear: If you’re hoping to limit aches and pains as you age, staying active now is key.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean putting your body through grueling workout after grueling workout—in fact, it’s far simpler and less brutal than that.

How to train for healthy ageing

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

Think about the function first

Different workouts can address different aspects of aging, such as how high-impact workouts benefit bone strength. But nothing is as beneficial to healthy aging as functional fitness. This fitness buzzword essentially means working out in a way that offers strength you can use in the movements you make in your everyday life. And it doesn’t matter if it’s cardio or weight lifting.

If an exercise produces an adaptation that helps someone become more capable of doing what they need to, then it’s functional, explains Ryan Chow, DPT, founder of Reload, a physical therapy and fitness practice, where he often works with aging and elderly populations.

Function is defined as purposeful, useful things like bending, twisting, lifting, loading, pushing, pulling, squatting and carrying, adds Ingrid Clay, CPT, a trainer on Centr, a personalized coaching app. 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 are designed to help you, for example, get out of a car or walk down stairs safely, real-life movements we need to do to stay independent as we age.

Do this often enough

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

Growing evidence suggests this can reduce all-cause mortality by 40 percent, says Dr. Chow. Perhaps more importantly, achieving these guidelines is also giving you [greater] life quality.

Vary your workouts

For best results as you age, avoid repeating the same type of exercise over and over again. Instead, mix things up. Even if what you love most is walking, push yourself to try a yoga class or hop on a bike every once in a while. This ensures that you move your body in all planes of motion and maintain a strong heart, lungs and muscles. Doing both resistance training and cardiovascular training can keep your metabolic and cardiovascular systems healthy, maintaining the health and function of your muscles and joints so you can be proficient as you get older, says Dr. Chow.

Five strength exercises you can do at home for healthy aging

Whether you’re 25 or 75, these functional exercises recommended by Dr. Chow will help prepare you for safe and comfortable movement for life. Add them to your weekly routine, along with regular bouts of aerobic exercise for a regimen focused on longevity.

Isometric squats

This exercise is related to balance and getting up and down off the ground, says Dr. Chow.

  1. With one foot in front and the other behind you, bend both knees and come to a 90-degree bend with both legs.
  2. Hold as long as possible, aiming to work up to two minutes.

Edit: If 90 degrees is too deep to bend and maintain comfort, hold the position a little higher or use a sturdy object that you lightly touch for support.

Split squat isometric grip

Deep squat supported

This exercise trains both strength and range of motion in the hips and knees, says Dr. Chow. Clay adds that the lower-body strength you build with squats is important for maintaining balance and mobility as we age.

  1. Stand in front of a closed door that doesn’t open towards you. Your feet should be slightly wider than hip distance apart and your toes pointing slightly outward.
  2. Grab the doorknob for leverage to pull on as you bend both knees to slowly go into a squat, taking five seconds to get there.
  3. Pause at the bottom for a second.
  4. Slowly push through the soles of your feet to get back to standing, taking five seconds to get there.

Form note: Keep tension on the doorknob to engage your upper body, which helps keep your back straight throughout the movement.

Wall sit with heel lift

This exercise trains the soleus and Achilles tendon to maintain the ability to spring and absorb impact in the hips, knees and ankles, says Dr. Chow.

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

Progression: Once you’re able to hold the wall off your heel for a minute, try holding as long as possible on one leg, then the next.

Bat wing

This exercise trains the upper back muscles to maintain the ability to stand, says Dr. Chow. These are your anti-gravity muscles to limit the negative effects of slouching and slumping.

  1. Start standing with your hands behind your ears, palms facing forward, and elbows wide open.
  2. Engage your lats (the large muscles on your sides and upper back) to pull your elbows down and to your sides, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  3. Squeeze and hold for five seconds.

Form tip: Don’t crunch inward as you lower your elbows to the sides. Keep your chest up. The arms will mimic the letter W.

The beast crawls

This move works out your shoulders, core, thighs and, most importantly, your toes, says Dr. Chow. Maintaining the ability to land on your toes to allow for propulsion during fast-paced activities such as running or brisk walking is important, and it also controls the stress on the big toe joint, which can prevent bunions from developing.

  1. Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees, with your toes tucked under.
  2. Engage your core to lift your knees off the ground in a hover.
  3. From here, slowly crawl forward, backward and side to side aiming to stay moving and knees lifted for 30 seconds.

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

#longevity #exercises #recommended #physical #therapist #strong #painfree #ageNo #equipment #required
Image Source :

Leave a Comment