Strength Training Safely At 50 & Beyond

leg lift

Have you ever heard of Jack LaLanne? He was the original godfather of fitness. Every year, after the age of 40, he vowed to push himself to be bigger, stronger and faster than the prior year.  For example, in 1954 (at age 40) he swam the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge. He did it again in 1975 (at age 61) while dragging a 1,000 lb boat. Although he did it for publicity, Mr. LaLanne also knew that he would lose strength unless he continued to challenge himself.

As we get older, we also need to challenge ourselves with strength training exercises. Results from a 2014 study from the Muscles, Ligament and Tendons Journal found that the aging process leads to distinct muscle mass and strength loss. They found out that people who are 40 years and older can lose anywhere from 16.6% and 40.9% of muscle mass.

The good news is that a consistent exercise program that includes two to three days of strength training can help reduce the amount of strength lost each year. Here are some great beginner strength exercises for the entire body that do not require any fitness equipment!

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Wall Push Up

wall press

Wall push ups are a great exercise to build up strength not just in the chest (pectoral muscles) but also in the biceps, triceps and core (abdominal exercise).

    1. While facing a wall, place your hands at the height of your shoulders and walk yourself away from the wall until you have a soft bend in the elbows.
    2. Walk your legs to hip distance apart and have a soft bend in the knees.
    3. While keeping everything else still, bend your elbows and lean toward the wall until the point you can touch your nose onto the wall.
    4. Press away from the wall and return to the starting positions.
    5. Repeat 12 times.