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As you age, your body needs a strong foundation to continue moving properly. This strong foundation comes from the legs and hips. Standing up from a chair, taking the stairs and preventing falls all rely on your lower body to function.
The workout below from SilverSneakers is a great addition to your weekly routine and will help establish movement patterns that will benefit you beyond just gaining muscle.
For this workout, it is more important to focus on the quality of your repetitions rather than the quantity. Do not go to complete exhaustion, but rather stop when you feel like you cannot do more than a few more repetitions. Once you start to feel like you could do three more repetitions with good form, add more resistance to each exercise. You can add resistance by holding onto light weights, objects like a gallon of water or incorporating resistance bands.
Complete each set before starting the next, and rest for 30 to 60 seconds in between sets.
- Hip Hinge | three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and hands on your hips. Tighten your core and, without changing the position of your knees, bend at the hips until you are almost parallel to the floor. Remember, if you cannot bend that low, just bend as far as comfortably possible without rounding you back.
Pause once parallel and then lift your chest back up to the starting position. The more your squeeze your glutes and push your hips forward to lift your chest back to the starting position, the better the exercise. This will ensure that you engage your hip muscles instead of relying on your back.
The above directions include one repetition. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions resting 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
- Squat | three sets of 8 to 10 repetitions
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder level and tighten your core. This will be your starting position.
Push your hips back and bend at the knees to lower your body into a squat. Remember to not let your knees cave in as you lower yourself. Pause at the bottom and then return to your starting position. Push through your heels as you go up.
That is one repetition. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions resting 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
3. Stationary Lunge | three sets of 6 to 8 repetitions per side
While standing with your arms at your sides, step back with your right foot and place your toes on the ground, keeping the heel lifted. This is referred to as a staggered stance.
From here, bend your front (left) knee and slowly lower your body. While you are lowering your body, allow your back knee to bend until it hovers a few inches above the ground. Make sure your weight is focused on your front heel.
Pause at the bottom, place your hands on your hips and tighten your core before moving back to the starting position (staggered stance). You will want to press up through your front foot as you move upwards.
That is one repetition. Perform 6 to 8 repetitions and then switch sides and repeat. Once both sides are done, you completed a full set. Complete three sets resting 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
- Glute Bridge | three sets of 8 to 10 repetitions
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Your feet should be a few inches away from your buttocks. Press your arms into the floor at your side for support and squeeze your core and arch your lower back.
Push through your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up until your body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Pause at the top and slowly lower your hips to the starting position.
That is one repetition. Complete three sets of 8 to 10 repetitions resting 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
- Seated Band Abduction | three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions
Sit in a chair with your feet shoulder-width apart and an exercise band tied just above your knees so that the band is taunt, but not stretched. Keeping your body still, push your knees apart against the band as far as you can go. Pause and then release by bringing them back together slowly.
That is one repetition. Complete three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions resting 30 to 60 seconds between sets.