Oh, the beauty of old age. As you grow, you not only lose lean muscle mass, but your body also experiences changes in strength, coordination, speed, and stamina, according to Harvard Health Publishing. If you lose lean muscle mass and do nothing to rebuild it, it becomes more difficult to do so on your own. Research shows that fitness levels begin to gradually decline after the 20s, and the decline accelerates in the 70s, according to WebMD. To keep you strong, independent, and healthy overall, we’ve rounded up the most recommended exercises to increase your stamina as you age.
One of the biggest concerns among older clients is maintaining their fitness level. Considering the fact that we lose strength and endurance with age, it is important to maintain a solid strength training regimen, along with doing aerobic and anaerobic conditioning exercises. Keep challenging yourself. By doing so, you will hang on to your lean muscle supply and maintain your basic fitness level.
Don’t make the mistake of switching to lower intensity or lower intensity exercises. Sure, lower-intensity cardio such as zone 2 training has its place, but you’ll want to continue to do challenging strength training that targets your back and legs, and push your body with higher-intensity cardio activities to improve stamina, strength, and endurance ( as long as your health allows you to do so). It’s always a smart idea to check with your healthcare provider or certified fitness professional before you start.
Now, let’s move on to the most recommended exercises to increase stamina as you age. Add these movements to your routine to stay fit and maintain a high quality of life.
Dumbbell Goblet Squats start by holding the dumbbell up to mid-heart, making sure your elbows are holding the weight. Hinge the hips back, and squat down to the floor, all while keeping the core tight. When you press parallel, push back up through the heels, flexing the glutes to finish the movement. Complete 12 to 15 reps.
Dumbbell Walking Lunges start by holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bring one leg forward, and place that foot on the floor. Then, lower the body into a lunge, while using control, until the back knee lightly graces the floor. Then, step forward with the other leg, and repeat. Complete 12 to 15 repetitions for each leg.
Next, let’s walk through the Bodyweight Rows. Work with whatever equipment is most convenient and available to you, whether it’s TRX/suspension ropes, bars, or rings. If you choose to strap, place your hands in a neutral grip with your palms facing each other. If you’re working with a bar, use a pronated (overhand) or supinated (underhand) grip.
Bring both legs forward, and lean slightly to at least 45 degrees. Keep your hips high and your core muscles activated as you pull yourself up. Do it by driving your elbows into your hips. Squeeze your upper back and lats to complete the movement, then straighten your arms so they’re tight around your shoulders. Complete 15 to 20 repetitions.
If you want to improve your stamina, Rower Intervals are a great exercise to add to your fitness routine. If you are a beginner when it comes to interval training, start with shorter sprints. This will be five sets of 200 meters, then rest twice as long as you need to finish in between. Try to maintain the same pace for each set. If you are more fit, you can complete four sets of 250 meters or five sets of 300 meters.
If you have access to a sled at the gym, start by loading light weights (one 45-pound weight if there is only one slot or two 25-pound weights if there are two slots). If you are new to the Sled Push, you will hold the sled high on the handle, keeping your hands full. Then, push the sled 20 to 40 yards one way, then push again, with the body at a 45-degree angle to the bar at all times. Keep your eyes on the ground as you push the sled. Rest for two to five minutes before doing another set, aiming for three to five sets of 20 to 40 yards each.
Tim Liu, CSCS
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim