Building cardio and strength is important as we age so that we can maintain balance and prevent injury. There are many ways to build strength while also improving cardiovascular strength, one of which is through circuit training – a form of exercise that utilizes high-intensity movements in stations. There is little rest in a circuit; as you finish one station, you immediately move on to the next.
Here is a great circuit workout that you can complete at home, with minimal to no equipment. For an optimal workout, I recommend completing three rounds of this circuit with a minute of rest between each round.
Cardio & Strength Circuit
Exercise 1- Chair Stands
Good for: Strengthening core, glutes, and quadriceps. Improve balance and helps reduce the risk of falling. Chair Stands also strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine, resulting in a stronger back.
Starting Position: Sit at the edge of a chair with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Your heels should be in line with your knees. Make sure to keep your back straight.
- Begin by crossing your arms with your hands on your chest.
- Exhale as you begin to stand up. Push your heels into the floor and shift your hips forward.
- Inhale as you return to the seated position. Let your hips shift back and slowly lower back into the chair.
- Repeat the exercise 10-15 times.
Jayson’s Tips: Keep your back straight for the whole duration of the exercise. You can use the arms of your chair to assist you but focus on driving up with your legs and feet.
Exercise 2- Flutter Kicks
Good for: Strengthening hip flexors, core, and quadriceps.
Starting Position: Sit at the edge of a chair. Lean back in the chair with your legs straight out in front of you. Try to keep your legs straight for the whole exercise. Hold on to the arms of your chair to help brace yourself.
- Begin by slowly kicking your right leg up in the air while keeping your left leg still.
- Once your leg is at around hip height, perpendicular with your body, slowly bring it down to starting position and kick your left leg up, repeating the same process.
- Do the exercise for 30 seconds.
Jayson’s Tips: Focus on your core bring your legs up. Make sure you are keeping your core tight the entirety of the exercise to help engage those muscles more. It is easy to hold your breath while exercising your core, remember to breath at a normal steady rate.
Exercise 3- Wall Push-Ups
Good for: Strengthening chest, triceps, shoulders, back and core muscles.
Starting Position: Stand about 2 feet away from a wall. Lean into the wall with your back straight and hands shoulder height on the wall.
- Inhale as you bend your arms and lean closer into the wall.
- Exhale as you push your body off the wall back into starting position.
- Complete 10-15 repetitions.
Jayson’s Tips: Keep your body in a straight line for the whole exercise. This will keep your core and back muscles engaged. Have your elbows at a 45-degree angle with your body when you are at the bottom position. Try not to flare your elbows out to the side as this can put unwanted strain on your shoulders.
Exercise 4- High Knees
Good for: Strengthening the entire lower body, core, and increasing stamina.
Starting Position: Stand with correct posture (shoulders back, standing straight and tall, head level) with feet hip-width apart.
- Start by bringing your right knee up to your belly button, while simultaneously raising the opposite arm.
- Bring your right foot back down to the ground. Once your foot hits the ground, raise your left knee and right arm up in the same fashion.
- Repeat for 30 seconds.
Jayson’s Tip: This exercise is similar to running in place. Exaggerate bringing your knee up. Remember to go at your own pace.
Exercise 5- Bent Over Row
Good for: Back and bicep strength.
Starting Position: Sit at the edge of a chair with your feet below your knees. Lean your torso over your knees, while keeping your back straight. Have your arms hanging down on your sides and your shoulders back.
- Begin by pulling the weights up and bringing your elbows back behind you.
- As you are pulling the weights up, try to squeeze your shoulder blades together keeping your neck in a neutral position so your spine remains straight.
- Slowly bring the weights back down to the starting position.
- Complete 10-15 repetitions.
Jayson’s Tip: Focus on pulling the weights up with the muscles in your back. Thinking about squeezing your shoulder blades together will help initiate the mind-muscle connection. If you don’t own weights, try using bags of rice or cans of soup instead.
Three rounds of this circuit is a great way to complete a full-body workout in a short amount of time, but make sure to take time to stretch before and after!The fitness & wellness center at Twin Lakes, The Connection, is where you’ll find an expertly trained team who creates workout routines and exercises that are specifically designed for those aged 50+. The Aquatic Center includes a 75-foot heated pool, aquatic bikes, and a whirlpool. The Connection is in Cincinnati, Ohio and is open to the community and memberships are available. For more information contact us online or give us a call at 513-247-1300.