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How to maintain your muscles with home exercises

Older man working out

As we get older, keeping fit and healthy is increasingly important if we want to get the best out of life. Just because you aren’t as spry as you used to be, or perhaps now utilise a UK stairlift, doesn’t mean you can’t keep on top of your fitness, even at times when visiting a gym isn’t an option. That’s right, there are many wonderful workouts and exercises you can do at home, keeping your muscles and body strong. So, for those unable to attend a gym at the moment, or those who just want to get in shape, in this article, we look at how you can maintain your muscles at home and also present a selection of simple but effective exercises.

Utilise resistance bands

Hannah from the health and fitness blog Hannah & Fitness, spoke to us about her advice for older people exercising at home: “My advice for maintaining muscle for the older generation would be to purchase some resistance bands (a collection from easy to hard) that you can do either sitting down or standing up in the comfort of your living room. If you can, for inspiration, grab some free resistance band workouts from YouTube. Resistance bands are great for engaging your muscles and keeping them strong without the use of weights. Plus, they're pretty cheap and easy to store away!”

Watch workout videos

Julia, a personal trainer from fitandhappy in Edinburgh, spoke to us about her tips for maintaining muscles at home and her first suggestion is to use exercise videos for encouragement and instruction: “Staying strong and healthy at home can be a challenge for many of us. The most obvious choice is following a workout video. There are some great options online that you can do seated and without equipment.”

Add movement breaks into your day

Julia’s next piece of advice is to try and add moments throughout each day where you are getting up and about: “Sometimes a long workout just seems too much. Don’t worry, there are lots of ways you can add little movement breaks into your day.

“If you are sitting a lot, try to get up once an hour. If that’s not possible move your arms and legs for a few minutes.

“Stand up and sit down a few times using a stable chair. Try not to use your arms to help you up. Do this a few times a day, maybe before each mealtime?

“If you are able to walk outdoors that’s great. Another option is to walk from room to room if you are steady on your feet. Why not challenge yourself and see if you can get faster over time. Make sure to wear shoes that fit well and offer comfort and support.

“Grab a couple of cans of beans as weights to do simple arm exercises like bicep curls or arm circles.

“It’s important to work not just on strength but balance, too. Stand on your tiptoes and return back to normal a few times, whilst holding on to the back of a chair or a worktop. You could do this whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.”

Exercises for maintaining muscles at home

Bicep curls

Bicep curls are a fantastic home exercise as you can do them while standing up or sitting down. All you need for bicep curls is a light set of dumbbells and if you would prefer to sit, a suitable seat that will allow you to sit up straight and have unrestricted movement with your arms. Keeping your arms down by their sides, gripping the weights, slowly bend your arms at the elbows and raise the weights upwards to your shoulders. Then slowly lower your arms in a controlled manner back to the starting position. Start out with a small number of reps on each arm, have a rest and then repeat. Don’t overdo it, however, especially if you are only just starting your fitness journey. By regularly including bicep curls into your home routine, the muscles in your arms will certainly benefit, maintaining and improving their strength into the future.

Leg extensions

For improving balance, flexibility, and maintaining leg strength, including some leg extensions into your home workout routine would be a great idea. Standing behind a chair, holding on to the back, all that is required is for you to simply move your left leg backwards while keeping it straight and not bending the knee. By going back as far as you feel comfortable and keeping a straight back, you should start to feel the effects in your upper thigh. Hold your leg in position for five seconds and then return it the starting position. You can then repeat the exercise with the other leg. Start off slowly and try doing five repetitions on each leg, building from there once you improve.

Chair squats

For really improving your lower body strength at home and maintaining all those important muscles, squats are incredibly effective. You don’t need fancy gym equipment or an Olympic bar, you can either do them freestanding or by standing in front of a sturdy chair. To pull off an effective chair squat, stand in front of the chair with your feet hip-width apart and then lower yourself towards the chair until sitting. Try to keep your knees positioned over your ankles and place your weight in your heels. You can also stretch out your arms to aid with balance and stability. Then slowly rise to your starting position to finish the squat. Try 8-10 reps to start with.

Shoulder raises

Another exercise you can do while sitting down is shoulder raises. Sitting (or standing if you prefer), with flat feet on the floor, hold a weight in each hand down by your thighs (around 5 – 10 pounds will be sufficient to begin with), and slowly raise each weight upwards with your arms out in front (either simultaneously or one at a time) until they are parallel with your shoulders. Keep a slight bend in your elbows to avoid strain on your joints. When your arms are horizontal with the floor, pause for a moment and then slowly lower your arms to the starting position. Make sure that you don’t use weights that are too heavy, avoid rocking back and forth, and use a controlled motion when raising and lowering the weights. Another tip is to keep your back straight and to brace your abdominals.  

Wall press-ups

The classic press-up is one of the best exercises to utilise in your routine, requiring just your bodyweight and no gym equipment. The press-up targets your chest, arms, back and shoulders. If you are struggling with press-ups to begin with, try wall press-ups instead. Stand a couple of feet from the wall with your arms straight out in front of you, your hands flat against the wall at shoulder height and shoulder-width apart. Try standing closer if you are stretching out too far. Then bend your elbows like you would a regular press up, leaning your body towards to wall. Stop just before your nose touches the wall. Make sure to keep your back straight and your hips in line with the rest of your body. Then push back to your starting position. That’s one rep. Try doing a few to start with to gauge your current strength. Then progress to four sets of 20 reps once you feel comfortable.

Exercises for older people to maintain muscles at home

  • Leg extensions
  • Bicep curls
  • Squats
  • Shoulder raises
  • Wall press-ups

As you can see there are some great and simple home exercises that can help you to maintain your muscles. So, for those who are looking for ways to stay fit and healthy at home, consider some of the above and keep your body in great shape long into later life.

SEE ALSO: Why over 60s should join a virtual fitness class

For more tips and advice, make sure to visit our news page.


This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.