In a shelter-in-place existence, figuring out ways to exercise, especially in small spaces, has been important.
Just about a year ago, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal titled “The Best Exercises for Your 50s, 60s, 70s—and Beyond”. I held onto it for a few months and then began to add its recommendations (for people in their 50s) into my workout routine.
The exercises they recommend added a new element—some high-intensity exercises—to my workouts and I was pleased to have adopted them. Little did I know how helpful those exercises would end up being now that we would be spending so much time at home this year.
These exercises, which I do every other morning, don’t take long, don’t require a lot of space, and don’t require special equipment (one uses dumbbells—you can use cans of food if you don’t have dumbbells):
- Jump squats
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on the back of your head or straight in front of you. Lower your body into a squat, ideally until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your chest upright and make sure your knees are directly above your feet. Pause. Jump. As you land, start the next squat. Repetitions: Start with 3 sets of 5 and work up to 3 sets of 15.
- Single leg and side planks
Get into a push-up position with your weight on your hands or your forearms. Keep your body in a straight line from your feet to your head. Lift your right leg 8-10 inches from the floor. Hold the pose for 15 to 30 seconds and work up, over time, to 1 minute. Switch and do the same with your left leg. For a side plank, assume a plank position on your left side, propped on your left hand or forearm. Raise your hips and keep your body in a straight line from feet to head. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and work up, over time, to 1 minute. Switch to your right side.
- Jumping lunges
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Place your right leg forward in a lunge position with your right knee bent in a 90-degree angle and your right foot directly beneath the knee. Bend your left elbow and touch it to your right knee. Your left leg should be bent behind you and hover above the floor. Jump and switch your legs midair so you land in a lunge position with your left leg in front. Repetitions: Start with 3 sets of 3 and work up to 3 sets of 10.
- Burpees with push-ups
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Squat. Place your hands on the floor in front of you. Jump your feet back so you are in a push-up position. Do a push-up. Jump your feet back into a squat. Rise to standing. Repetitions: Start with 3 sets of 5 and work up to 3 sets of 10.
- Overhead push presses with squats
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a pair of dumbbells in front of you, with your palms facing each other. Squat and touch the weights to the floor in front of you, keeping your back straight. As you rise from the squat to a standing position, raise your arms with the weights over your head. Bring the weights back to the floor and squat. Repetitions: Start with 3 sets of 5 and work up to 3 sets of 10.
Stay well — and strong!