5 at-home strength exercises to help build muscle as you age

Building strength as you age

As we age, we can’t help but notice certain things, like getting up from a chair and picking up heavier objects aren’t as easy as they used to be. If you’ve been noticing these changes, you’re not alone. Muscle loss is a natural part of aging, and unfortunately less muscle may mean more weakness and less mobility, which may put you at risk of injuries or falls. Luckily, it’s almost never too late to rebuild or maintain your muscles.

Consider these five strength exercises that you can do from the comfort of your home:  

1. Calf raises

  • Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Lift up onto your toes while keeping your core tight. 
  • Hold at the top for 1-2 seconds before lowering back down to flat feet. 
  • Continue for 15 reps, and rest.  
  • Repeat cycle two to three times.

2. Plank

  • Lower yourself to the ground to lay on your stomach. 
  • Place forearms on floor with elbows under your shoulders. 
  • Stretch your legs out with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Curl your toes underneath towards your shins.
  • Push your body up until you are hovering over the ground. 
  • Tighten your core while keeping your body as straight as possible. 
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds, then rest. 
  • Repeat two to three times. 

3. Squat into chair

  • Stand in front of a chair, facing forward.
  • Take a half step forward away from the chair.
  • Squat down until you nearly touch the chair. 
  • As you lower, push your arms out. As you stand, pull your arms in. 
  • Continue for 10-15 reps, then rest. 
  • Repeat the cycle two to three times. 
  • To modify, sit down in the chair for 1-2 seconds before standing back up. 

4. Elevated pushup

  • Place your palms on the wall, with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Lower yourself to the wall like a pushup. 
  • Continue for 10-15 reps, and rest. 
  • Repeat the cycle two to three times. 
  • The further you stand from the wall, the more challenging it will be. 

5. Wall angels

  • With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand with your back against the wall. 
  • Press your hips, shoulders, elbows and the back of your hands against the wall.
  • Push your arms up the wall into a “Y”. 
  • Slide your arms back down along the wall. 
  • Continue this for 10-15 reps, and rest. 
  • Repeat the cycle two to three times. 

After you’ve finished your workout, remember that nutrition is also an essential component to repairing and building muscle. Protein-rich foods are key, but a well-rounded diet filled with vegetables, fruits and whole grains is also important to make sure your body gets the vitamins and nutrients it needs. 

Talk with your doctor about healthy ways to incorporate fitness into your routine. For individuals recovering from an injury, consider seeking advice from a physical therapist who may identify areas requiring special focus.

What’s more, if you are a UnitedHealthcare Medicare member with Renew Active®– the gold standard in Medicare fitness programs for body and mind – you also have resources available to you that can help keep you on track with your health. These include:

  • Access to over 26,000 gyms and fitness locations – or, if you prefer to work out at home, access to thousands of on-demand workout videos and live-streaming fitness classes
  • Customized online workouts from Age Bold to help prevent falls
  • Membership costs paid for online or in-person social clubs as part of Element3™ Health

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