Resistance Band Exercises for Seniors
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Resistance Band Exercises for Seniors

           While it is true that muscle mass begin to decline once we reach our early forties, and that by our eighties it’s not uncommon to have lost fifty percent or more of our muscle mass, there are steps that can be taken to prevent this. Even under the circumstances of “healthy aging”, there is still a progressive decline in skeletal muscle quality.

            You may think this means that you have to head to your local gym, get a membership and start lifting weights like a bodybuilder, but the truth is far easier. There are a number of better ways for senior citizens to improve their muscle mass than by lifting heavy, cumbersome weights. In fact, you only need a simple resistance band to strengthen your body and get your muscles back in shape.

            As you age, your body needs strength workouts to maintain muscle mass. Resistance bands come in different sizes and lengths, which correspond to how much resistance they have and how difficult the workouts will be. The thicker the band, or the closer together you place your hands when gripping it, the harder they will be to pull against and use during exercises. It is important to select a resistance level that you are comfortable with and is appropriate for your level of fitness, and then slowly build up with more resistance as you improve.

            One of the simplest resistance band exercises you can do is the seated row. To begin, sit with your legs stretched out and wrap the band under the soles of your feet. Sit up, and hold the resistance band with both hands. Then simply bend your elbows and pull the bands towards yourself, squeezing your shoulder blades at the top of the movement. Return to the starting position, and do as many reps as you can, up to ten.

            Another exercise is the resistance band chest punch. Hold the band in both hands and loop it around your upper back. Next, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, with one slightly in front of the other. This will help you to keep your balance during the exercise. Push your arms out in front of you, no higher than shoulder height. Finish the exercise by returning your arms to the starting point. Keep your elbows slightly bent and avoid locking them out, and with each rep alternate your stance.

            To do the band side step, position the band around your upper thighs, above your knees. With your feet slightly apart, bend your knees, and then step sideways until you feel resistance. Then slide your foot back to the starting position. Do ten reps on each leg.

            Bicep curls, the classic bodybuilder exercise, are performed by standing with the resistance band under your feet. Grasp the band with both hands, with your palms facing up. Keep your elbows tight to your sides, and bend them slowly to bring your palms up to your body. Hold it briefly at the top of the movement, and then slowly release, which constitutes one rep.