Skip the Gym: How to Exercise at Home

As you age, your body tends to wear down; the immune system weakens, metabolism decreases, and bones become brittle. Age-related muscle loss, or sarcopenia, comes naturally when your body ages. According to Harvard Health Publishing, “after age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3 percent to 5 percent per decade,” making exercise essential to preserving your health.

To get you moving, we’ve provided five ways you can exercise at home without gym equipment:

  1. Squatting. Squats strengthen your lower body and core. They help ease taking stairs, picking things up off the floor, and getting out of chairs without struggling. Stand in front of a chair and move yourself to a sitting position without touching the chair.
  2. Knee Lifts. This exercise can be performed on a chair. It strengthens your calf and shin muscles. Slowly lift your right knee toward your chest, then lower your foot back to the floor. Repeat with your left leg. Perform 10 repetitions per leg, for a total of 20 reps.
  3. Knee Extensions. Like knee lifts, this exercise is performed on a chair to improve your balance and strengthen your legs. Sit on a chair with your knees bent and your back straight, and slowly extend your leg in front of you, hold for a few seconds, and return to your sitting position. Repeat with the opposite leg, and do 10 repetitions with each leg.
  4. Lifting. Lifting items around the house—such as cans of soup and bottles of laundry detergent—can be a great alternative to weights. Strengthen your biceps by bending your elbows and curling the cans toward your shoulders. Maintain straight posture and keep your palms out throughout the activity. To determine the weight you’re using, search for the number of ounces of the contents you are lifting; 32 ounces are equal to two pounds.
  5. Climbing stairs. Use stairs to build muscle in your legs and improve hip, knee, and ankle joint rotation. The Centers for Disease Control advises that generally healthy adults older than 65 should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise every week.