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A strong upper back can help seniors maintain good posture and prevent injuries.
If you're over age 60, you can benefit from strength training using dumbbells. Weight-bearing exercise, including strength training, is good for your bones, muscles and overall strength. You don't have to pump iron every day or spend money at a gym to improve your upper back strength. Exercise with an inexpensive set of dumbbells 20 minutes a day, three non-consecutive days each week, to improve bone health and muscle strength.
If you can shrug your shoulders, you can do dumbbell shrugs. The dumbbell shrug exercise strengthens your shoulders, neck and upper back. You can do dumbbell shrugs sitting in a chair or standing. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Start with a light weight, about 2 to 3 pounds. Lift only your shoulders up toward your ears, hold for one to two seconds and then relax. Try to do five to eight repetitions.
Upright rows with dumbbells strengthen your upper back, as well as your upper arms and shoulders. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your body. Lift your arms by bending your elbows and simultaneously raising the dumbbells to the middle of your chest. Hold for two to four seconds and then relax. Do 10 repetitions of this exercise if you can.
One-arm rows work your upper and middle back and shoulders. Your arms will also get a good workout. You can perform a one-arm row by holding a dumbbell at your side with your arm extended. Put one foot in front of the other, lean on a bench or a sturdy chair and bend your knees slightly. Lift the dumbbell by bending your elbow and bringing it up above the level of your back. Do eight to 10 repetitions.
Benefits of Strength Training
Seniors can benefit from strength training by increasing muscle strength and bone health. Lifting weights regularly can help reduce your risk of developing chronic illness and alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, osteoporosis and back pain. Improving your strength will also help to reduce your risk of injury from falls because your balance will improve. People over 60 who are physically active are also less likely to have depression.
Talk with your doctor before you begin any exercise program. Your doctor and a fitness professional can help you to develop an exercise routine that can help you meet your fitness goals while taking your physical condition into consideration. Don't hold your breath when you lift weights, because straining while holding your breath can cause your blood pressure to increase. Always use proper form when lifting weights to avoid muscle strain and joint sprains. Warm up before you lift weights by doing some light aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking. Cool down afterward and stretch your muscles to help reduce muscle soreness.