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Best Workout: 10 Exercises You Should Do For The Rest Of Your Life

young woman doing push up...
young woman doing push up...

You don't have to stop working out just because your engine starts running out of fuel.

If you've been slacking off with your workouts, don't blame your age. It's time to hit your body's restart button.

"There is really no age that a person should stop doing activities. Sure they may need to slow down or not go as hard at it, but to stop is not necessary," says Barry Duncan, owner and operator of Momentum Fitness located in Kitsilano, B.C. "I have a 90-year-old client that trains with me twice a week and still plays tennis and golfs regularly."

It's no surprise that regular exercise has long-term benefits. Last year, one study showed people who performed regular activity were more likely to live longer than people who were inactive. The study also found that black women benefited from regular exercise the most.

As you age, you may not be able to run marathons like you used to, but Duncan says some exercises are more efficient than others.

"This involves doing multiple muscle group exercises, like a squat and press, in a sequential order and repeating for four or five repetitions," he says.

And yes, we get it, trying to a do a crunch or a pull-up at age 90 can be daunting, but Duncan says that as we age, slowing down and understanding what our bodies can and can't do anymore is key to fitting in some type of activity every day.

Here are 10 exercises you should be doing for the rest of your life:

10 Exercises You Should Do For Life

Squat To Shoulder Press:

Start with your feet hip-width apart and hold your weights at shoulder height with your arms bent and hands close to the body, says Barry Duncan, owner and operator of Momentum Fitness, located in Kitsilano, B.C. Next, lower yourself into a seated position keeping your knees over your feet and chest high (pictured here). As you exhale, contract your glutes, push through and stand and press your weights above your head. Breathe in and lower your weights and move back into your squat. Repeat.

Three Way Plank:

Start in a middle plank position by holding your body off the floor, resting on your elbows and toes and keeping your hands apart. Next, hold this plank for 30 to 45 seconds and then rotate up onto your right elbow and right side of the foot keeping your hips off the floor and your body perpendicular to the floor.

Hold this position for the same amount of time and then return to the middle plank. Repeat on your left side, and remember to breathe throughout this routine. You can also modify this exercise by going on your knees or working off a bench.

Bent Over Rows:

Bending at the hip to about a 45 degree angle, keep your weights over the middle of the foot and back straight. Start with your arms straight out and then breathe out as pull your elbow back towards your hips. Inhale as you lower back into your starting position and repeat until fatigued. Again, you can modify this exercise by switching to a one-arm row by placing your free hand on a bench, or you can lie down on an incline bench once you can no longer hold yourself in a bent-over position.

Uneven Push-Ups:

"I like to use a medicine ball that I can then roll from one hand to the other but you can also use a yoga block or low step," Duncan says. Place one hand on the elevated object and the other flat on the floor and keep your hands wider than shoulder-width and your arms straight. As you breathe in, slowly lower your chest to the floor moving your hips in unison and remember not to keep your butt in the air. You can always modify this position at the knees.

Reverse Lunge With BOSU:

Start with your right foot in the middle of a BOSU ball (a training device shown in the photo). Next, raise your left arm and bend your elbow to a 90-degree angle, keeping your right arm at your side at 90 degrees as well. Breathe out as you stand on the right foot and switch your arm positions into a lunge. Stepping back down, lower your left knee as close to the floor as possible (without touching the ground) and switch arm positions again. Modify this move by not using a BOSU or not raising the knee.

Russian Twist:

"Again I would use a BOSU in my younger years to add that instability that makes the exercise harder," Duncan says. Seated on the top of the BOSU ball (or floor), lean back to a 45-degree angle and lift your feet off the ground. Hold the medicine ball out from your body and rotate your shoulders to your right. As you twist your body, lower the medicine ball down towards the floor. Return to starting position and rotate to the left, do as many as you can and breathe during the entire movement.

Stability Ball Hamstring Curls:

Lie on a mat with your feet on the ball, keeping your legs in a straight position and a small bend at the knees. Lift your hips in the air forming a straight line from your shoulder through the hip joint to the ankle joint. Breathe out and pull your feet towards your bum. You can modify this move by using a larger ball or supporting your hips with your hands.

Three Way Abdominal Crunch:

Start with a middle crunch and add a crunch on the left and right side. Breathe out with each crunch, and remember, this is not a race. Slowing down will build more strength. To modify this exercise, you can take breaks in between crunches.

Pull-Ups Or Chin-Ups:

"For pull-ups you have three main grips and each changes the difficulty and the amount of work for the muscles involved," Duncan says. "For our purposes we will start with a wide grip pull-up which is also the harder of the three main grips." Start by griping your bar with your hands spread out like you are making the letter Y. Keeping your knees bent, breathe out and lift your chest towards the bar. To modify this move, switch the grip to an underhand grip, hook your knee in a thick band, or have a friend assist you.

Hip Hinge:

"The hip hinge is a fundamental exercise for proper squats, deadlifts, kettle bell exercise and any lifting technique," Duncan says. For the deadlift, using a barbell, start with the bar over top of the center of your foot, this may require two stable platforms for the bar to rest on. Next, flexing at the hip by bending forward and keeping the back straight, keep a small bend in the knee and reach down to grip the bar. Breathe out and lift from your hips by contracting your glutes and make sure the bar is around mid-thigh before you start to lower. To modify, switch to dumbbells or no weights at all.

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