Snap Back into Shape: 8 Resistance Band Exercises for Seniors
While muscle mass can begin to decline in your early 40s, by your 80s, it’s not uncommon to have lost 50 percent of your muscle mass. “Even in conditions of ‘healthy’ aging, there is a progressive decline in skeletal muscle quality as described by various changes in structure, mechanics and function,” a National Library of Medicine study reports.
Does this mean you have to head to the nearest gym, sign up for a membership, and start lifting weights? Not necessarily! In fact, there are better ways to improve your muscle mass than lifting heavy, cumbersome weights that could cause injury. You only need a resistance band to get your muscles back in shape and enjoy a full-body workout.
8 resistance band exercises anyone can do
As you age, your body needs strength workouts to maintain muscle mass. Here are eight resistance band exercises that anyone can do in their homes to strengthen their muscles and live happier and stronger.
Resistance bands can come in different sizes and lengths, which correspond to how difficult the workout is going to be. The thicker the band, or closer together the grips are placed on the band itself, the harder they will be to pull against and use during exercises. It is important that you choose a resistance level appropriate for your fitness level and strength. Start with ten reps and work toward more as you gain more strength.
- 1. Seated row with resistance band
This exercise is one of the simplest resistance band exercises. To begin, sit with your legs stretched out and wrap the band around the soles of your feet. Sit up and hold the resistance band in each hand. Next, bend your elbows and pull the bands toward you, squeezing your shoulder blades. Return to the starting position.
- 2. Resistance band chest punch
Hold the resistance band in both hands and position it around the middle of your upper back. Next, place your feet in a split stance. Staggering one foot in front of the other helps you keep your balance while doing this exercise.
Push both arms out in front of you, no higher than shoulder height. Finish the exercise by returning your arms back to the starting point. Keep your elbows slightly bent to prevent them from locking and alternate your stance with each rep.
- 3. Band side step
You want to start by positioning the band around your upper thighs, above your knees. With your feet slightly apart, bend your knees. Next, step sideways until you feel resistance. You might need to retie the band to get the correct resistance. Next, slide your foot back to the starting position.
- 4. Bicep curls
Stand in place and slide the resistance band under your feet. Grasp the resistance band in each hand, palms facing up. With your arms tight to your sides, bend your elbows and bring your palms toward your body. Hold for one second at the top of the movement and then slowly release. This action completes one rep.
- 5. Band pull-apart
With feet hip-width apart, extend your arms straight out while holding the resistance band in both hands. You want to make sure your hands are far enough apart that the band is taut, but there’s no need for it to be stretched very tight. Next, bring your shoulder blades together and slide your hands apart on the band until they can go no further. For more resistance, slow the movement down.
- 6. Overhead side bend
Staying flexible is an essential part of healthy aging. For this exercise, stand with your feet hip-width apart, in each hand hold an end of the resistance band, and then raise the band up and above your head. Lean to the right as far as it feels good, hold for 3-5 seconds, and return to the starting point. Repeat ten times on each side.
- 7. Shoulder press
To begin, slide the resistance band under your feet, bend your knees, and get in a squat position. Once in position, raise your arms and bring the resistance band up toward the sky. Hold at the top and slowly release.
- 8. Tricep extensions
Stand with your feet hip-width apart or with one foot in front of the other, whichever position is most comfortable. Take the resistance band in each of your hands, and with your palms facing backward, push the band. You should feel your triceps tighten when doing this exercise. Slowly return to the starting position. This is one rep.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for an effective way to stay active and maintain muscle mass then resistance band exercises may be just what you need! Just make sure to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program. With the right tools, form, and technique, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
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