Would you like to stop the signs of aging? When it comes to fighting the physical effects of Father Time, you need an arsenal of age-defying ammunition. Yet many will concentrate only on the superficial aspects of aging, such as trying to ward off fine lines with wrinkle-reducing serums and skin-tightening tonics. To make a greater impact, you need to focus on one of the most overlooked facets of fitness: strength training.

Strength training is an activity that everyone needs to incorporate into their weekly workout. The health benefits of strength training are so powerful that they can improve your chances of living a longer, more independent life.

As the body matures, it’s more susceptible to dangerous conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, arthritis, osteoporosis, and depression. Strength training works to combat these ailments by reducing heart-harming fat, fortifying frail bones, correcting postural deviations, easing the aches and pains associated with joint inflammation, and boosting feel-good hormones in the brain. This, in conjunction with cardiovascular exercise and eating well, can reduce the risk of early mortality.

Do a cannonball into the fountain of youth with these age-erasing, strength training exercises. (For best results, practice three times a week. For more of a challenge, incorporate free weights.)

Planks. Posture can reveal your age faster than candles on your birthday cake. A hunched upper body not only looks bad, it’s also bad for you. When the spine curves forward, it compromises the quality of your breathing, the strength of your chest and back muscles, and your ability to balance your body. Here’s how to plank yourself to perfect posture:

  • Begin in a forearm dominant plank with your shoulders stacked above your elbow, spine straight, and neck neutral. For beginners, hold for 30 seconds. For more advanced plankers, remain here for 60 seconds.
Plank
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Plank

Squats. We don’t give much thought to our everyday movements until we get injured and can’t do them any longer. Moving from a sit to stand position requires powerful lower body and core muscles. And one of the best ways to bolster this area is through squats.

  • Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, shoulders back, and core muscles engaged.
  • Keep your body weight in your heels as you hinge back at your hips and lower your body into a squat. Your thighs should be parallel, or slightly lower, to the ground.
  • Push through your heels to return to the starting stance. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
Squat
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Squat

Lunges. Single-sided, weight-bearing exercises such as lunges build bone density, improve muscle mass, and sharpen the stabilizer muscles located throughout the legs and core. Balance work is always a good idea for preventing falls and fall-related injuries.

  • Take a step back with your right foot.
  • Lower your body into a lunge. Your front knee shouldn’t extend past your toes, while your back knee should stay under your hips. Ideally, your legs should form a 90-degree angle at your knees.
  • Hold for a count, or until you feel balanced, then step through your left heel, bringing your body back to a standing position. Continue on this side for 10 to 12 repetitions, then practice on the opposite side.
Reverse lunge with leg lift.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Reverse lunge with leg lift.

Strength training is your secret weapon for turning back the hands of time and feeling younger.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt, ACE-CPT, is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more about her virtual training program, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.