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Happy Friday my friends! Starting this Sunday, September 24th is Active Aging Week and it runs until September 30th. There is also Women’s Health and Fitness Day on 9/27 and Family Fitness Day on 9/24. It isn’t just about fitness, it’s about healthy lifestyle habits including eating right, exercise, sleep, stress and overall health. (All of which we discuss each week in my 52 Healthy Habits group)
What is Active Aging Week?
Active Aging Week is a week where people (late mid-life to senior) are encouraged to pick up healthy lifestyle habits. Some habits could be taking a daily walk, eating at home instead of McDonalds, learning yoga, or starting a simple strength training routine. Strength training is so important as we age because we start losing 5% of our muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 35. Progressive strength training – increasing weights, sets and reps as you get stronger – is the best way to keep your muscle mass and prevent losing it.
Your diet also plays a role in building and maintaining muscle mass which is why it’s important to make sure you are eating plenty of protein which is full of amino acids. Amino acids are used by your body to build muscle. Don’t worry ladies…eating protein and lifting weights is NOT going to make you big and bulky. The more muscle mass you have on your body the more calories you burn (even at rest).
Here are 7 Simple Dumbbell Exercises to get you started:
Start off by doing 8 reps of each exercise with proper form 3 times a week. As you start to feel like your weights are too light, increase the weight 2-3 lbs. If you don’t have heavier weights on hand you can increase your reps going up to 12 reps for each exercise.
Here’s a list of exercises:
Dumbbell Biceps Curls – When you do these standing make sure you don’t lean your body back by extending your spine…stand up tall with your head on top of your shoulders, shoulders on top of your hips and hips over your ankles. Keep your elbows at your sides and curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders with palms facing you. Please watch to make sure you keep your wrists straight and not bent or “curled”. Keep your core engaged the whole time and exhale when you lift the dumbbells and inhale when you lower them. Don’t swing the weights but use controlled motions. You can also do this sitting in a chair to modify, just make sure you sit with feet flat on the floor and with proper posture. No slouching.
Bent Over Dumbbell Flys – Start standing straight up with knees slightly bent, then hinge at your hips and bend over to about 90 degrees while keeping your back flat and neck in alignment with your spine. Take the dumbbells straight down below your shoulders then using your upper back and rear delts (back of shoulders) raise the dumbbells out to the sides, imagining you are squeezing a pencil in between your shoulder blades, then lower back to the start. Keep your core engaged to protect your lower back. You can also modify this one as well by sitting in a chair instead of standing.
Overhead Triceps Extension – Take 1 dumbbell and lift it over your head with your arm directly over your shoulder, then bend at your elbow and lower the dumbbell behind your head. Feel free to use your other hand to keep your elbow pointing up towards the ceiling the whole time. Return the dumbbell straight back up fulling extending your arm. Again…you can also do this one sitting in a chair.
Dumbbell Floor Chest Press – Lay flat on the floor (or on a bench) with your feet flat to keep your back from arching up. Take your dumbbells and position them in a “goal post” formation in line with your chest. Press the dumbbells straight up over your chest and then lower back down to starting position. Exhale when you lift the dumbbells and inhale when you lower.
Triceps Kickback – Take one leg forward and the other leg slightly behind you to make like a “kickstand” to brace your body. Keep your core engaged and bring the arm up with the dumbbell so your elbow is higher than your chest. Then from this position, keeping your elbow at the same spot, extend your arm back so the dumbbell is straight behind you. Then slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position, still keeping the elbow pointing up towards the ceiling. To modify this you can lean your hand on a bench or sturdy chair, still keeping your back straight and core engaged.
Overhead Dumbbell Press – Sit or stand tall with core engaged and bring both dumbbells up to your shoulders and slowly press them straight up overhead, then slowly return to starting position. Make sure not to lean back or arch your back when the dumbbells go overhead. Exhale when you press them up and inhale on the way down.
Lateral Dumbbell Raise – Sit or stand tall with core engaged and arms hanging at your sides with dumbbells in each hand. Inhale, then exhale and slowly raise the dumbbells straight out from your shoulders and slowly lower them back down. If doing both arms at the same time is too hard you can alternate by doing one arm at a time, just make sure you do the same amount of reps on each arm.
The neoprene dumbbells are easy to grip, fit perfectly in your hands and come in nice light weights to get you started. If you have never lifted weights before I recommend starting off with 1 or 2 lb weights then when you get stronger you can move up to 3 and 5 lb dumbbells.
If you need a good pair of neoprene dumbbells you can grab some at ProSource Fitness and receive 20% off with coupon code: AAGWK20 (coupon valid 9/24 – 9/30)
Stay Healthy (and Active) my Friends!
Carrie A Groff