Want to know some of the best exercises to stay young?
I recently wrote about five less common health measures that can help you live a long and independent life. This post will focus on exercises that I use to target each of those five domains and keep you aging gracefully.
I incorporate a variation of these exercises for all of my clients (whether they know it or not!) Along with the listed benefits, there are many other ways that these exercises improve your fitness. They will also challenge your breathing and bracing, and core strength.
In case you missed our recent blog post, here are the five measures I outlined: lean muscle mass, leg strength, VO2 max, grip strength, and foot speed.
Benefits: Lean Muscle Mass, Grip Strength, Leg Strength
The hip hinge is a friendlier term than deadlift, which sounds little intimidating for some, but it’s the same movement. The deadlift gets its name from essentially lifting a dead weight from the ground. This simple move helps to build hip muscles (glutes), the core and overall leg strength.
If done with a barbell or weight, it can also target your grip strength. This exercise has many benefits and has direct benefits to everyday life. For example, lifting up a suitcase or bag of groceries from the floor.
Sled Pushes / Pulls
Benefits: Lean Muscle Mass, VO2 Max, Leg Strength, Grip Strength
Have you ever gone to Costco or Home Depot and loaded up on goods only to have this heavy cart to push around? If I have any extra time in my sessions, you can almost bet that I’ll have you do some variation of a sled push or pull. I really like this exercise and it’s practicality when it comes to everyday activities; it can even mimic pushing a walker for those in a rehab setting.
One thing I really like about sled work is that it requires very little thought to perform. It’s easy to teach, simple to do and gives amazing benefits for the hips, core, low back, and cardiovascular system. You can be an exercise novice or an advanced trainee and it will provide excellent benefits.
Even more benefits can be had if performing a rope pull with the sled. The rope pull will target the legs, back, core, forearms, and grip all at once.
That’s what makes the sled one of my absolute favorites!
Benefits: Leg Strength, Grip Strength, VO2 Max
Similar to the sled, farmer carries are just as practical and useful in many daily activities. Once you’ve picked up your grocery bags, you’ll need to walk into the house. Farmer carries are simply carrying weights and going for a walk. If these are heavy enough or you walk far enough, you’ll definitely get the cardio pumping!
Performing a carry with weight in both hands (or just one hand) are very practical for everyone. Great for building up the core, single-leg strength, hips, and shoulder stability you can’t go wrong with these in your program!
Sit To Stand
Benefits: Leg Strength, Lean Muscle Max, VO2 Max
Also known as a squat, these highly scalable for everyone! You literally perform squats every day you get out of bed, sit on the toilet or get up from dinner. It is literally one of the most important functions you will perform daily!
There are a LOT of squat variations and progressions for every level of fitness. Your trainer can help guide you as to the best variation for you.
Even at slower speeds and unweighted, you will feel the benefits of squatting!
Benefits: Foot Speed
This is such a great tool and completely underutilized in my opinion. In the rehab and training work that I provide, this tool is great to address peripheral vision, coordination, trip recovery, and for internal awareness of your feet.
Most of my clients do not use the agility ladder to improve foot speed for sport. Instead, I find it’s the perfect training tool for walking forward without looking at the ground right in front of your feet. As an aid for coordination, it’s remarkable as well; placing feet inside of the squares takes some control!