Do you want to feel forever young? For centuries, we’ve been trying to turn back the hands of time by lathering up on lotions, lasering away fine lines, and injecting face-freezing serums. And although these products may provide a temporary fix, they are only skin deep.

If you want to look younger, you must first practice healthy habits that help you feel youthful. By engaging in specific exercises that focus on functional movement patterns, flexibility, balance, and skeletal strengthening, you can reverse prominent signs of aging such as poor posture and a frail physique.

Boost the quality and quantity of years by implementing the following activities into your weekly workout:

Planks. This isometric exercise strengthens the core muscles responsible for supporting and stabilizing the spine and hips. If you’re in the habit of hunching or need a posture pick-me-up, planks are an ideal strength training move for you.

  • Start in a table top position with your shoulders stacked above elbows. Step your feet back one at a time, maintaining a straight line from head to heels. Keep your neck in a neutral position.
  • Squeeze your core and glutes as you hold this pose. For beginners, aim for a 20 second hold. You can also hold a plank from your knees, if needed.
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates a plank in this 2017 file photo.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates a plank in this 2017 file photo.

Progression: Add time to the duration of your plank, or work your core muscles harder by lifting your limbs, one at a time. For example, lift your left arm for a count, then lower, followed by raising your right leg then returning to the start position. Avoid rocking at your hips.

Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates a plank progression in this 2017 file photo.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates a plank progression in this 2017 file photo.

Wall angels. By pressing our back against a wall, you can distinguish any postural imbalances, such as a craned neck, overly arched back, or winged shoulder blades. If your upper back, butt, shoulders, and head do not rest flush against the wall, this is an area worth fixing.

  • Stand with your back lightly pressed against a sturdy wall. Notice which posterior parts of your body are not in contact with the wall. While holding here, your ears should be directly over your collarbone and shoulders blades retracted back and down. Your shoulders are stacked over hips, hips over knees, and knees over ankles. Alignment is key.
  • Elevate your arms to shoulder-height with your elbows forming a 90-degree angle. Keep your arms against the wall as you push them up, bringing your hands toward each other, then lower back to the starting stance. Repeat 20 times.

Progression: Once you’ve perfected your posture, increase the challenge by performing the movement with a set of light free weights.

Sit-to-stand. Knowing how to stand from a seated position sounds easy, but it may surprise you to learn that there is a right and a wrong way to do it. Many of us will use our upper body for momentum, rather than pushing through our leg muscles. Over time, this seemingly harmless habit can cause imbalances throughout your body.

  • Sit at the edge of a seat with legs parallel and toes forward-facing.
  • Hold your arms at chest-height extending out in front of your body, as you push through your heels to stand. Take a moment to notice how this feels much different than leaning on a hand or armrest to lift your body.
  • Use only your lower body to return to a seated position. Repeat 10 times.
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates a sit-to-stand exercise in this 2017 file photo.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates a sit-to-stand exercise in this 2017 file photo.

Progression: To increase the challenge, try it from a lower seated chair.

Single-leg stand. Once you have conquered the sit-to-stand exercise, try it with one leg. By shifting your center of gravity, your weight-bearing leg has an opportunity to grow stronger. This is ideal for powering up for everyday activities such as walking and stair climbing that require single leg strength, as well as improving balance. It also helps to identify any muscular imbalances that have developed from favoring one side over the other.

  • Sit at the edge of a sturdy chair.
  • Lift your right leg slightly off the floor and let it hover. Press your body weight into your left heel to stand. To protect your knee, it’s important that your weight remains in your planted heel throughout the entire exercise.
  • Hold for a count at the top. Lower the right foot to regain your balance then sit back down. Continue eight times, then repeat on the opposite leg.
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates a sit-to-stand progression in this 2019 file photo.
Ashley Greenblatt
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates a sit-to-stand progression in this 2019 file photo.

Progression: Rather than lowering the leg at the top of the exercise, keep it elevated as you hinge back at the hips to sit back down.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach in South Jersey. To learn more about her virtual training program, go to ashleyblakefitness.com.