Brand SpotlightYour Healthy Family


Your Healthy Family: 5 Must-do exercises for people over 50

Posted at 9:12 AM, May 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-05 08:34:05-04

NAPLES, Fla. — As we age, the exercises we need to do to stay fit can change. Fox 4 is showing you the five must-do exercises for people over the age of 50.

1. Pelvic & core exercises

Coach Nino Magaddino, the Owner of Max Flex Fitness in Naples, said pelvic and core exercises have a lot of benefits.

One exercise he mentioned was pelvic squeezes.

“So I want you to bring your feet towards your butt," he said. "Your pelvis is at neutral, so your head goes back and you place your hands your side."

Once in that position, Magaddino said to tuck and round out your pelvis.

“I'm squeezing everything in. So hold {for 2 seconds} and even squeeze the glutes and then release," he said. "It's not a big movement. But you want to focus on the muscles that attach to your pelvis that run all the way down."

He said this particular exercise helps people who have urinary or bladder issues.

Another pelvic and floor exercise Magaddino recommends is bridging. You start in the same position as the pelvic squeezes.

“So now hands your sides, I want you to now raise your hips up high. Squeeze the glutes and then go down nice and slow. So breathe in, and breathe out as you come up," he said.

He said this exercise is good for people with lower back issues.

"That's why it's important that I get him to engage his glute muscles and really stretch out his erectors, which are underneath. And these are exercises you could do at home as well," he said. “A lot of people as they go into retirement, they're less active. And as we slow down, we're sitting more. So as we sit, we don't activate our glute muscles as much, we're kind of hunched and rounded a little bit. So that's why I get him to activate his glute muscles.”

A third pelvic floor exercise you can try right at home: cat cows. These are a simple yoga move in which you switch between rounding and arching your spine.

“Really working on stretching the muscles in through the upper back, but also lengthening the spine, in through the lumbar region. And then as you round through there, you're working on his pelvic floor muscles, as well," he said. "Anybody who has lower back issues, this is one of the best exercises you can do.”

He also recommends doing bird dogs.

“Holding up opposite arm, opposite leg," he said.

He said this exercise activates your core and glutes, and helps with coordination and balance.

2. Single-leg balance

"A lot of times when I tell people to work on the balance, I'll say when you're home brushing your teeth, do it on one leg," Magaddino said.

He said you can step it up a notch by using an unstable surface like a foam balance pad.

"I want you to go ahead and pick up one leg, I want you to hold and squeeze," he said.

Magaddino said to hold up each leg for 5-10 seconds. As we age, he said we can lose what's called proprioception: awareness of our body that helps us stabilize as we move through space. When we make sudden movements, it helps us catch ourselves from falling.

“Another important part of this is ankle stability as well,” he said. “And it's okay to wobble. We want to be able to wobble, and you want to be able to catch yourself.”

3. Wall glides

Magaddino said a lot of times, when we try to put our backs up against a wall, they arch and don't fully touch.

"By me taking my arms overhead. If you notice, I kind of took my pelvis out a little bit. So that tells me I'm tighter in through my lat muscles into my lower back muscles," he said.

That's why he said wall glides are important.

“Not just getting you to keep your core nice and tight. We're gonna get a stretch in the lat, but then also lower back flexibility as well," he said.

He said to start by putting your arms up over your head against the wall in a 'Y' position. Then you bend your arms at your elbows to slide them down the wall.

"Your tempo is going to be nice and slow here," he said. "Breathe in as you go down, then breathe out."

Magaddino said wall glides are good for shoulder mobility.

“If you ever notice people who have rounded shoulders, this is an important exercise to get everything stretched out. When you round out the shoulders, everything tightens up. So that's why it's important to take it all the way up," he said.

He said this movement can help prevent injuries as we age.

“We want to keep these everybody out of the doctor's office. Exercise is medicine," he said.

4. Chair squats

“These are important because, obviously, I've noticed people who have a tough time getting up and down," Magaddino said. "You can take your arms out if you want. I'm just going to go ahead and sit back down nice and slow. And then up.”

He said you start with your feet shoulder-width apart. You can also add a resistance band around your legs for an extra challenge.

“The reason why I put the band here, I really want you to pull your knees apart as you go down in that squat. We have a muscle called the glute medius which is in the outside of the glute. As we age, that muscle atrophies, the glute medius. So that's why it's important. Putting the bands on here will keep the glutes engaged," Magaddino said.

He said doing exercises like chair squats will help prevent issues with moving later in life.

5. Upper body weights

Magaddino said there are a lot of benefits to weightlifting.

“Very important for not just building the strength in the muscles, the bones, but also, as we age, we have things called Osteoporosis, Osteopenia. Our posture,” he said.

He said using light weight to increase bone density and muscle mass can help prevent falling, or prevent serious injury in the chance you do fall. It also helps with mental health and memory.

“Ding these exercises will decrease atrophy, the rate of aging. Another important part of exercise: if you exercise in groups, you have the social aspect of it which I think is a really important part of it," Magaddino said.

He said you don't have to do a lot of work to see improvements as you age.

“It could be these simple five exercises that you could do every day," he said.

Max Flex Fitness works with the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health, a Your Healthy Family partner, to help its patients with exercise.