What single exercise has made the most difference for you?

I am 70, and most of my exercise regimen is drawn from Physical Therapy, designed basically to keep all my joints pain free (or at least have less pain). This works pretty well for me (I also walk 3 to 4 miles per day). Generally speaking, I have ignored my “core” and wasn’t really sure my “core” existed. I haven’t done crunches for many years and when I did do them, I hated them.

Recently I decided to give planks a try. When I started I did a 15 second plank, then lowered my knees to the ground for another 15 seconds. Within three days I could feel a difference. It was as if my body had a pair of suspenders and a belt that I had never used because I had not cinched them up. So that’s my f****** core! Two months later and I am up to two one minute planks. They are the hardest exercise I do but I never blow them off because the results make me feel so much better.

Do you have an exercise whose results surprised you?

The core isn’t particularly flashy but it’s important. Hip thrusts are great for the the back. They strengthen the hamstrings, glutes and lower abdominals. If you put the weight on the lower abdominals, it will strengthen the upper abdominals instead. Working those muscles helps improve posture. It’s possible to start slow. Maybe an elastic band could be used instead of a barbell.

Aesthetically, I’m not sure what it’s called: I lift dumbbells above the head then slowly extend and lower the arms until I get into Jesus position and resist as long as I can. Generally, eccentric overload does a great job of creating microtears. Maybe something one wants to go into very gently at 70, though.

These two physical therapists will probably have a lot of exercises you may find interesting: https://www.youtube.com/user/physicaltherapyvideo/videos

Walking. When I gave up dieting and binging in favor of eating only when hungry and eating whatever I felt like, my sister told me I needed something else to focus on. So I started walking outside at least an hour every day. Decades later, I still do. My sister sent me a book when the author says about his daily walk: What began as exercise quickly became a devotional.

As I tell people: If you walk outside every day for a month, you will do it the rest of your life.

Two things have made the biggest difference to me:

Walking - for keeping me fit and trim (ish). It’s something I can do every day without having to force myself to go the gym, so it’s the easiest thing to keep up. I walk too and from work, about 30 minutes each way.

Yoga - you mentioned your core. Yoga is amazing for core strength, plus arms, legs as well as improved flexibility. I think everyone should do yoga.

Could you go on about the devotional part? It does seem to do something beyond just physical exercise.

Are there yoga poses you think are good to start with? I’ve tried it a few times but it didn’t click but maybe I was unlucky.

I’m devoted to daily walking. It’s nice to have something you have to do every day. It gets me out of the house and into the world. I have time to think and reflect while walking. It keeps me in tune with nature. I’ve had some great little interactions with people while walking, including a man who told me one fine spring morning in May : Miss, I just wanted to stop and thank you. All my life I’ve been overweight and nothing has helped. I noticed you out walking every day and one day I thought “She goes out walking every day and she’s so slim. If she can do it, so can I.” So I started on January 1ar and I’ve lost 40 pounds."

And yes, it is good exercise. No special clothes, no going to the gym, no expense. All for one hour a day. It’s worth it.

A class is best, because yoga isn’t about picking a couple of poses, it’s about a whole routine which strengthens and stretches everywhere - a whole body routine. If you can’t bear classes, then I’d suggest watching a few videos (I don’t do videos so don’t have any to recommend).

I’ve been swimming regularly for almost 9 years now.

By mixing up strokes I improved my overall fitness quite a bit. Even got rid of my rotator cuff problem.

And it’s fun!

Walking has been the thing I have stuck with the longest (because I have dogs that NEED exercise), and is just an all-over good thing.

Swimming has been the thing I have stuck with second longest. It’s cardio and strength all in one package, with no sweat (I have a skin condition that causes a lot of problems when I sweat). Unfortunately it’s the thing that gets cut first when my schedule gets busy.

Tai Chi has been the most surprising thing for me. I’ve been doing it just under 2 years. Its roots are in yoga so it’s got that going for it, and working on your balance is working on your core. I’m in no way a tai chi master and I’m not doing a super intense class, but it always leaves me feeling GOOD and ready to do more.

Planks are an excellent exercise. Thanks for the reminder to do them more. Core strength is crucial to avoiding back pain and somehow with all this extra weight on me, back pain is the only pain I’ve got.

Body Pump. It’s an hour-long weightlifting class and it’s been great. It covers all the major muscle groups, including core. Plus I get to hang out with like-minded people who complain about the instructors (in a good way) and we order matching workout tees.

Planks/hovers are way harder than they look. Congrats on getting up to two minutes!!

For all the people who mentioned walking, I am all in. I have two resurfaced hips and before the first was done, walking caused me considerable pain. When I could walk pain free it made me so happy that you could not wipe the grin off my face.

Walking is the only exercise I do–about 4 miles/day.

The single thing that made the most difference to me was getting a reliable lifting partner.

Push-ups, I have a certain amount I do at certain intervals, along with going till I reach muscle failure.

You can do them anywhere, if I’m in pain from something else, they seem to make my pain more bearable.

They give me a nice pump for a few days, and I feel like I have improved coordination and proprioception afterwards as well.

They definitely have improved my grip strength and improved strength and muscle tone in my forearms, and I feel like I have greater control over the muscles groups that they work.

For me, it’s walking. Up until about a month ago I had a nice four-legged personal trainer who insisted I walk at least 45 minutes a day. I actually haven’t walked much since his sad, early demise, and I’m suffering for it.

I get this Silver Sneakers email every week or two, recommending exercises, and one they ALWAYS recommend is the squat. Along with links to videos on how to do them, how to make them easier, etc. I gather that’s an important exercise, but every time I do them I feel them in my knees–which is supposed to be one of the things they help–so apparently I’m doing them wrong.

Whatever you do, make sure you’re doing it right.

Pushing yourself into discomfort and even pain can result in lifter’s high which is pretty nice. You’re effectively giving yourself a dose of pot and opioids. I’ve heard that exercise can reduce stress levels for about 12 hours. So, it might suck for 5-10 minutes but the rest of the day feels better. I’ve noticed that as I’ve continually pushed myself into that pain zone/muscle failure, my body has gotten much better at responding with lifter’s high. I’d be really careful about going until muscle failure at the age of 70, though.

I’ve noticed that too. I think it’s called the “mind-body connection” although I’m not sure. I can feel muscles whose existence I used to be unaware of. The body feels more solid, for lack of a better term.

This is probably not applicable to the 70 year old OP, but the weightlifting exercise that uses the most muscles is the deadlift. So if you had to pick just one, that’d be it.

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For me, it’s walking. Up until about a month ago I had a nice four-legged personal trainer who insisted I walk at least 45 minutes a day. I actually haven’t walked much since his sad, early demise, and I’m suffering for it.

I get this Silver Sneakers email every week or two, recommending exercises, and one they ALWAYS recommend is the squat. Along with links to videos on how to do them, how to make them easier, etc. I gather that’s an important exercise, but every time I do them I feel them in my knees–which is supposed to be one of the things they help–so apparently I’m doing them wrong

Make sure you are warmed up. Walk for 15 minutes before attempting squats. Try bending only 90 degrees (quads parallel to the ground)

No, that’d be the squat.

Looks like i was wrong. But just barely. :wink: