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Anyone interested in longevity already knows the importance of exercise to a healthy lifestyle, both for your current and future health. However, not all exercises are equal when it comes to promoting longevity.
What Role Does Strength Training Play in Longevity?
According to the Harvard article, the average 30-year-old will lose about 25% of their muscle strength by age 70, and 50% of their muscle strength by age 90. The more muscle strength you lose, the less mobile and functional you can be.
Your independence and overall health become threatened as you become weaker and weaker as you age, no matter how many miles you ran on the treadmill in your youth.
While strength training is crucial to preventing this occurrence once you reach middle age, strength training when you’re younger can help set you up for success in advance.
Strength training varies and doesn’t necessarily need to include dumbbells or bar weights, if that’s not your preference. Strength training also includes exercises that use your body’s weight against it, such as pilates.
The Harvard article recommends beginners approach strength training at a fairly unintimidating pace, with just regular, 20-minute workouts.
But once you actually start those workouts, what are the best strength training exercises for longevity?
1. Exercises That Increase Stability: Lateral Band Walk
Strength training helps you to build muscle strength, but it also helps to increase your stability — something that becomes increasingly important as you age.
A lack of stability can severely impact your quality of life, leading to severe injury and fatalities in older adults (1).
To increase your hip and knee stability, try lateral band walks, which target your hip abductors and gluteus medius.
These exercises are extremely easy for just about anyone of any skill level or fitness level to do, and only require a resistance band — no free weights needed.
2. Exercises That Improve Coordination: Suspension Trainer Rows
Similarly, coordination becomes more important as you age. It’s incredibly common for older adults to experience deterioration of their sensory systems, musculoskeletal systems and cognitive systems. Coordination exercises can help to alleviate some of the issues associated with this deterioration (2).
Start working on increased coordination and better shoulder and low back strength and stability with the suspension trainer row. While this exercise does require some extra equipment, it’s an overall easy strength training exercise that uses the weight of your own body to strengthen your muscles.
3. Exercises That Strengthen Your Legs and Core: Bulgarian Squats and Ab Planking
Developing a strong core comes with so many benefits that will increase your quality of living both now and later in life — balance, overall strength and improved functional performance among them (3).
Strengthen your core, as well as your legs and hips, with a set of Bulgarian squats, also sometimes called a split squat. All you need is a sturdy piece of furniture for support and you’re ready to go.
Ab planking is another core-strengthening exercise to try and is an exercise that can be easily modified to suit your current fitness level. You can start with a full, high plank for greater stability, or planking on your knees until you build up your strength.
4. Exercises That Improve Your Mood: The Seated Dumbbell Press
Strength training — particularly lifting weights — can have a great impact on your mental health, both building motivation and confidence (4) and helping you to better manage negative emotions, such as stress and anxiety (5).
A popular strength training exercise for those interested in lifting is the seated dumbbell press. This exercise works your upper body, helping to develop stronger lateral and anterior deltoids, and is suitable for beginners.
5. Exercises That Improve Your Posture: Bent-Knee Dumbbell Deadlifts
Posture is another indicator of senior health, with studies showing that spinal posture and alignment can indicate future dependence in daily living (6).
Luckily, bent-knee dumbbell deadlifts can help not only improve posture and shoulder, spine and hip alignment, but they can also help improve core stability and strength. This is another exercise that’s easy for beginners to do and only requires dumbbells.
Start Incorporating the Best Strength Training Exercises for Longevity into Your Routine Today
Of course, this is just a small selection of the strength training exercises that you can begin incorporating into your routine in order to tap into strength training’s longevity benefits.
However, as long as you focus on exercises that help to improve core strength, coordination and stability, you should be able to see a difference.