(Lynda at home during quarantine, May 7, 2020 & Lynda's parents on their November 16, 2019 43rd anniversary)
I’m shocked. This lockdown stuff has me feeling sluggish and fat-ish! So, when I took pics today—thought for sure, I’d see some cringeworthy evidence.
While I still have a long way to go, I was relieved, happy even, to see I’m maintaining at least some of my muscle mass. For this, I’m incredibly grateful.
Muscle is so important to our overall health—especially as we get older.
Here are some solid reasons for us to build some muscle.
1/Reduce Aches & Pains- I’m a testament to this. I have chronic back pain. Weight lifting has helped me to manage my pain better. Like, get this--there have been times when I’m having a bad back pain day. But after weights—especially squats (several variations) & weighted walking lunges—I’m feeling better—less pain. It’s nothing short of amazing to me! Grateful.
2/Improve Balance-This means better walking & fewer falls. About six years ago, my Mom fell and broke her shoulder. She was cutting her toe nails while standing with one foot on top of the bath tub. Mother!! Anyway, if Mom had more muscle mass chances are she might have been able to keep her balance. But she healed well, thankfully. Otherwise, Mom is in really good shape—and on no meds at all. Excellent for a hot 87-year-old!
3/Fight Osteoporosis-We lose bone density as we age—especially women. But weight-bearing workouts causes the bones to work harder and as a result, strengthens the muscle around the bones.
4/Fight Arthritis-This causes stiffness, pain and loss of mobility in joints. But exercising with weights can help. Especially when combined with a focus on range of motion, flexibility and endurance training.
5/Overall Feel Good-Strength training also gives us an overall sense of well-being and confidence. The stronger our muscles, the stronger we are in many ways.
Exercises to Build Muscle
So, here are some really good exercises you can do. And don’t ignore this—I’m talking to you! You see, whether you’re 40, 60 or 80—you’re never too old. You CAN start building muscle, no matter your age! Yay!
1/Chair Squats- Sit down & stand up but do so with good form and posture. Put arms out in front of you, sit down on the edge of the seat, then stand up. Try 3 sets of 8-10. Tip: Do a pelvic tilt and you’ll feel this more in your booty. Make sure to concentrate on using your legs, not momentum, to get you up.
2/Sumo Squats-Stand with feet as wide apart as possible and squat down leaving upper body straight. Doing a pelvic tilt will help you to feel this on the inside of your legs. With or without weights in each hand. 3 sets of 8-10
3/Side Leg Lifts-Using back of chair, stand side ways holding back with left arm. Move right leg out to side keeping hips forward. 3 sets of 8-10, then switch sides. Use an exercise band to add more difficulty. Tip: Make sure you hold your abs in and stand straight.
4/Bicep Curls-Using a lighter weight (3-5 lbs.) or a water bottle in one hand, curl the weight up to your shoulder and go back down. Use control and keep elbow at hip. 3 sets of 8-10
5/Shoulder Press- Sit down on the floor with legs crossed. Using light weights raise both (or one) straight out in front of you at shoulder level then bend at the elbow toward you & out again. 3 sets of 8-10. Try shoulder raises too. In this exercise, with a weight in each hand put your arms out to the side with elbows bent in (palms will face toward the front). Then raise the weights, keeping your elbows high when coming back to start position. Click here for an illustration of really good shoulder exercises.
6/Abs-Try some ab work. Strong abs are important--it helps with posture. Lay down on your back and put your hands behind your head and try to “sit up”. But don’t sit all the way up. This is a crunch. Tip: Make sure you do a pelvic tilt to keep your back on the floor. Do as many as you can. Rest and start again.
7/Cardio-Try and get cardio in at least 3-4 times a week for a half hour or more. This can be a brisk walk, biking, running, swimming or dancing—anything that gets your heart rate up.
8/Yoga-Yoga is a great complete work out. You’ll get strength training, balancing practice and excellent stretching for mobility. Click here for some good Yoga poses you can do at home.
Please let me know if you try these exercises. Or if you have any questions or comments—I would love to hear from you. Comment below.
Stay fit & healthy and go and build that muscle!
Make it a great day!
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