The easier the exercise, the happier I am, and the more likely I am to stick with it! I also prefer exercise that doesn’t require a gym, special equipment or particular clothing.
Easy exercise at any age, is good. Remaining active, fit and healthy over age 50, is my personal goal.
I am always on a mission to make exercise a part of every day and hopefully, several times each day. Read more for easy ways to increase your activity level at any age.
My main standards for easy exercises are those that require no equipment and don’t take too much time. I am also not looking for a heavy duty workout, just a great way to stay fit in my fifties. My top 4 easy exercises are walking, squats, planks, and stair climbing or hill climbing.
These basic exercises fit my criteria of easy to do, no equipment or special clothing needed and they don’t need to take too much time. Most of my workouts I do at home and much of my walking and hill climbing are right in my own neighborhood. This saves me both time and money on my fitness routine, two more favorite goals.
Walking is for everyone! As far as exercise, we are talking real walking at an increased pace and distance. Add more walking to your day by increasing your speed, walking for longer periods and adding more walking throughout your day, every day. If you have not been active and are planning to begin adding some workouts, walking is a great place to start.
Why do it?
Walking is good for every part of your body! You get a physical workout plus some cardio as well. If you walk outside the fresh air is an added benefit and can often improve your mood and reduce depression. Walking regularly can also reduce the risk of health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes or even heart disease. Walking can have mental health benefits like lessening anxiety and boosting self esteem.
Where to do it:
Most of my walking is in my neighborhood, which happens to have several good hills. Other good walking spots include: your nearby park, hiking trails, a track at local school or the local mall, especially in bad weather. For a list of ideas of how to add more walking and exercise to your day, read this post.
Tips & Tricks:
Wear the right socks and shoes, you don’t want blisters or injuries. Wear headphones to keep a good pace and keep you motivated. Make walking dates with a friend if that makes you more committed and accountable. Remember sunscreen and a tissue in your pocket, for allergies or a runny nose from chilly weather.
If you are already a walker and want to increase the intensity of your exercise, read this post.
Adding just one minute of squats to your morning routine can help motivate you to exercise more often. Squats are a do anywhere, anytime exercise with lots of leg and lower body benefits.
Why do it? Squats are good for your thighs, calves, abdominals, buttocks, and hips too! For some great squat motivation, read this post!
Where to do it: Squats are easy to do anywhere and anytime! You can do a good squat workout in your pajamas in between cups of coffee (this happens almost daily for me). Squats also make your pants fit better, that’s why I love them!
How to do it: Stand with your feet apart, directly under your hips, and place your hands on your hips or straight out in front of you. Shoulders should be back and abs should be tight. Pretend there is a chair behind you and lower yourself as if you were going to sit. Avoid your knees going past your toes.
Tips & Tricks Vary your squats so you don’t get bored. I had no idea there were so many variations until I poked around a bit. Some of my favorites besides a body weight squat are, jump squats, plié squats, curtsy squats, single leg squats and more. For a great list with descriptions and photos – try Greatist. Pinterest is a great place to find some 30-day squat challenges which I highly recommend trying.
Added Bonus: It is easy to read, check the weather, text or scan email while you are doing a squat workout!
Adding some planks to your exercise routine will give you a full body workout. Planks will work your core muscles and strengthen your back which helps avoid injury. When you add plank exercises on a daily basis, you will improve your balance and posture.
Why do it? Planks are fabulous for keeping your core strong. Planks are good for your back, legs, arms, abs and everywhere else!
Where to do it: Planks can be done on any floor, inside or out. Planks can also be done inclined using the arm or back of a couch or chair or even on a low step in your house. Planks are very versatile and can work just about anywhere.
How to do it: Put your hands on the mat or floor directly under and slightly wider than your shoulders. Your feet are out behind you and you are balanced on your toes. You will be in a push-up like position. You will hold your body straight and stiff like a board or plank. Hold this plank position for 15 – 30 seconds at first. As you get stronger, hold the position for longer and try different variations.
Tips & Tricks: Once again there are many variations for planks to keep you from getting bored. The first time I tried a side plank it seemed ridiculously difficult to hold. Now that my core is strong, I feel like a pro. You can hold your planks on your hands or on your forearms. Try different types until you find your favorites.
Exercise Bonus: having a strong core and back helps prevent strain or injury when doing simple tasks like lifting grocery bags.
Stair Climbing or Hill Climbing
Aside from working all your leg muscles, glutes, hips and abs, stair climbing has added benefits. Climbing stairs or hills is more work than walking so there is more cardio involved. In addition, stair climbing will also help work your core and improve your strength and balance. For some added motivation, try using a fitness tracker to make your workouts fun. To learn more about using a tracker, read this.
Why do it? Climbing stairs or hills works slightly different muscles than regular walking. Climbing is more effort for your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, hips and buttocks, so more muscle benefit goes with it.
Where to do it: Home or outdoors, you can find good steps in many places. In my neighborhood there are a few good hills that I can incorporate into my walk. If you don’t already go up and down your stairs at home many times a day, try it! Try 5 sets both up and down. If you don’t feel anything try 5 more!
On vacation, you can often find terrific steps to climb near museums, government buildings, hotels, libraries and other public places. Think of the steps from the Rocky movie – I did them when I was in Philly. It was a fabulous workout!
Tips & Tricks: When I stay in a hotel, I take full advantage of the stairs whenever possible. Recently when it was too icy to walk outside, I took advantage of my hotel’s very long hallways. I walked down one flight, across to the other side and down the next stairwell. Next, I did a full 12 flights zig-zagging my way down and then back up again! I had been worried that I wouldn’t get much exercise, instead I got an intense leg workout on that trip.
Don’t wait for the New Year to decide to workout and get in better shape. Right now is a great time to start some new fitness habits. With these 4 easy exercises, you have four great reasons to give them a try!
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