Two 55+ adults work out with dumbbells as part of their fitness center exercise routine

Staying active is very important for keeping us healthy as we age.

People of all ages enjoy being active and living a healthy lifestyle. But that can become more difficult after retiring and turning 55. This is especially true when being active becomes less convenient or if other people are no longer around to keep you motivated to work out.

Staying active and maintaining muscle mass are incredibly important for keeping us healthy as we age. Here are some reasons why and a list of fitness center exercises that can help 55+ adults stay fit.

The Importance of Maintaining Muscle

Senior men and women doing yoga near an outdoor swimming pool in their 55+ community

By maintaining muscle, you can help maintain your strength and balance.

When most people think of muscles, they immediately think of bodybuilders in the gym trying to build huge muscles. For most people, muscles simply help us carry out activities of daily living like lifting, cleaning, and more.

These aren't the only reasons why it's important to maintain muscle mass, especially after turning 55. Other important reasons to maintain muscle include:

Balance

As we age, one of the biggest concerns for our health and fitness is balance. We all know someone who lost their balance in their home and suffered terrible injuries as a result. Unfortunately, many people who fall after the age of 55 struggle to fully recover.

By maintaining muscle and engaging in a fitness routine regularly, you can help maintain your strength and balance. As a result, your body is prepared to live a full and healthy life for years to come.  

Bone Density

Bone density is important for keeping your body resilient if you do happen to fall or get injured. As we age, our bones begin to lose their initial density. This leaves them more vulnerable to breaks and fractures. Because muscles are attached to bones, increasing or maintaining muscle mass can help our bones maintain their density.

Bone density is often a bigger concern for women, but men should also be aware of the potential risks of osteoporosis. 

Reduced Body Fat

It's no secret that having too much body fat can increase your risk for many chronic diseases, including heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even some cancers. Fortunately, building and maintaining muscle mass not only helps you lose some body fat but can also enhance your metabolism to help you burn more calories even at rest.

Exercise is important for maintaining health for many reasons. And helping you get to or stay at a healthy body fat percentage is definitely one of them.

Best Fitness Center Exercises for Building and Maintaining Muscle

A group of mature women squatting and stretching arms forwards during a workout in a fitness center

Here are four fitness center exercises that are ideal for 55+ adults.

It's not easy to maintain your strength when you don't have access to a fitness center that offers numerous weight machines, free weights, and resistance bands. When you do have access to a facility of that kind, you can perform all kinds of strength exercises to keep your whole body and mind healthy.

Here are four fitness center exercises that are ideal for 55+ adults.

Shoulder Overhead Press

The shoulder overhead press works numerous muscles in your upper body. But it especially targets your shoulders. Take a relatively light dumbbell in each of your hands, and hold your arms out at 90-degree angles, like a goal post. Now, lift your arms until they are completely straight above you. Return to the starting position slowly.

Rowing Weight Machine

Most fitness centers have a rowing weight machine. This fitness center exercise involves sitting on a cushion facing toward the machine and placing your hands on the grips in front of you. Then you will slowly pull the grips toward you, until your arms are all the way to your chest before releasing them to their original position with control.

This machine targets your upper back, biceps, triceps, and shoulders. It's one of many fitness center exercises that help maintain your upper body strength. 

Dumbbell Deadlifts

Deadlifts are an important exercise to help you maintain strength in your core and lower body. You can do deadlifts without additional weights to start. But you should add dumbbells or resistance bands of some kind once you need a bit more of a challenge.

To add dumbbell deadlifts to your routine of fitness center exercises, start by holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of your hips. Next, use your lower body strength to lower your arms toward the ground in a slow, controlled manner. Finally, use your lower body to lift back up to your original position.

Glute Bridges

Although glute bridges certainly target your gluteal muscles, they can also help you maintain your core strength. Core strength is vital for balance and posture, and glute bridges are a relatively gentle way to strengthen those core muscles.

Start by lying on an exercise mat, face up. Then, bring your knees up with your feet still on the floor. Once you're in this position, slowly take your bottom up off the floor, while you keep your upper back and feet on the mat. You can either hold this position for a sustained period, or you can bring your bottom up and down until you feel the burn in your core. 

Warm-Up and Cool-Down

A mature woman stretching before a workout beside a lake in her 55+ community

Stretching will prevent sore muscles and maintain your body's flexibility.

You should always do some light cardio before engaging in strength training to get the blood flowing first. You can walk outside or on the treadmill, use a stationary bike, or use an elliptical for five or ten minutes to get your body ready for strength training. After your workout, it's also helpful to cool down by doing some more light cardio and stretching. Concluding your fitness center exercises this way will prevent sore muscles and maintain your body's flexibility. 

Most workout instructors for group classes will include a warm-up and cool-down in the class. So you won't have to worry about doing that before and after.

Find the Best 55+ Communities with a Fitness Center Near You!

A fit woman exercising and walking outside in her 55+ community

Having the convenience and social aspect of exercise in a 55+ community is absolutely invaluable.

If you or your loved one wants to build or maintain muscle, one of the best moves you can make is to look into 55+ communities that offer a fitness center. 55+ community centers often have an expansive fitness facility on-site that includes numerous weight and cardio machines, group exercise classes, and maybe even group sports like tennis or pickleball.

It can be hard to maintain a fitness routine. But having the convenience and social aspect of exercise in a 55+ community is absolutely invaluable. 

To see which 55+ communities have a fitness center near you, visit 55places today!