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Get active and fit

Simple weight training at any age (video)

Forget the dumbbells and the complicated weight training routine. Regardless of your age or fitness level, these simple weight-training moves can be done anytime, anywhere – even right now!

Weight training is not a new idea. More than 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates, considered the father of medicine, said, “That which is used develops, and that which is not used wastes away.” In other words: use it or lose it! Weight training will increase your strength and help replace the muscle mass you lose naturally as you age. Anybody can weight train at some level and still experience the benefits.

Just remember…it’s always a good idea to speak to your healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.

Dumbbells not required – get started now!

So how do you get started? It’s as easy as using light weights or your own body weight to work your muscles. Even better is that dumbbells are not required and you may have items sitting around your home that will work. You can use:

  • Cans of soup or beans
  • An empty container filled with sand
  • A book or two
  • Rubber tubing or bands that add resistance

Whatever you choose, make sure you can grip it well enough so that you don’t drop it.

Do try this at home

Still think weight training is not for you? Think again. These three basic moves will give you a taste of what simple moves can do for you. For each exercise, do as much or as little as you can to get a good feel for the move and the muscles you’re working.

See and learn how to perform these exercises correctly. 

Arm curl

Target: Your biceps 

What you’ll need: Anything you can hold comfortably in your hand that adds weight or resistance

How it’s done:

  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart
  • Make sure your knees are slightly bent
  • Hold the weight in one hand with your palm facing upward
  • While keeping your elbow and upper arm close to your body and your wrist stiff, bend your elbow and slowly lift the weight to your shoulder
  • Slowly lower the weight to the starting position
  • Repeat

Things to remember:

  • Keep your elbow and upper arm close to your body
  • Keep your wrist stiff
  • Keep your abdomen tight
  • Keep your back straight
  • Do the same number of repetitions with each arm

Strong biceps make it easier to carry grocery bags from the car to your kitchen

Calf raise

Target: Your calf muscles

What you’ll need: Nothing

How it’s done:

  • Stand straight with your feet slightly apart
  • Arms can hang loosely at your sides or place your hands on your hips. If needed, hold onto the back of a chair or a wall for balance
  • Slowly lift your heels off the floor as high as you can without losing your balance
  • Pause for a few seconds
  • Return to starting position

Things to remember:

  • Keep your abdomen tight
  • Keep your back straight
  • For balance, rest one or both hands against a wall or the back of a sturdy chair

Work your calf muscles and feel stronger the next time you go out for a walk

Squats

Targets: Quadriceps (front of your thighs) and gluteus muscles (your buttocks)

What you’ll need: Nothing, but you can hold weights for a more difficult exercise

How it’s done:

  • Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart
  • Point your toes straight ahead
  • Rest your hands on your hips or use a wall or a chair for balance
  • Lower your body by slowly bending your hips, knees and ankles. It should feel like you’re sitting down on an invisible chair
  • Lower your body as much as you can but stop when your knees are bent at 90 degrees (you should not go any lower than that)
  • Return to starting position
  • Repeat

Things to remember:

  • Resist the urge to bend forward – rather keep your head up and pretend you’re about to sit in a chair
  • Your knees should not extend beyond your toes
  • You can hold weights at your sides to make this move more challenging

Squats will make sitting down and standing up easier

QUICK TIPS

Turn your “wait time” into “weight time”:

  • Waiting for the bus/train/subway – try some calf raises
  • Waiting for the kettle to boil – grab some soup cans and try some arm curls
  • Waiting for your TV show to start (or the commercials to stop) – get off the couch and do some squats
Simple weight training at any age
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