Fitness doesn't stop as you age. Sure, you might have to make adjustments to your plan and goals as you get older—and spend less time swinging from the monkey bars—but foundational fitness movements are there to stay.
Not sure which exercises are good for life? Don't fret, we've got you covered. Unless you're suffering from a specific injury or health problem, these five exercises deserve a lifetime spot in your workout routine. These are the gym gems that will benefit you no matter your age.
The squat is often called the King of Exercises, and for good reason! You can do this multijoint movement anywhere, it's one of the best lower-body exercises in the book, and it has massive carryover to your daily life. Squats hit all your big leg muscles, front to back—quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
Start with bodyweight squats, and work yourself up to adding plates on the bar.
The deadlift is a two-for-one compound movement that targets both the upper and lower body. It works several muscle groups, including your back, glutes, and legs. Deadlifts are, however, one of the most misused moves, so make sure you learn proper deadlift form before adding weight.
As you're learning the deadlift, it's a good idea to take video of your exercise execution, and if possible, have a trainer give you feedback. Oh, and if you don't have a barbell, don't worry! Deadlifts can also be done with dumbbells.
Planking regularly will give you tight core muscles that not only look good, but also prevent backaches and promote good posture. Plus, it's easy to plank! Facing the floor, rise up onto your toes with your arms bent. Rest your upper body on your lower arms.
Lift your body completely off the floor, keeping your core tight. Hold the position for 30 seconds or more, depending on your strength. If that's too easy, try lifting one leg in the air.
4. Farmer's Walk
This functional movement will do you loads of good both in and out of the gym. You can think of it as carrying heavy shopping bags; just lift two heavy weights (like dumbbells) and hold them at either side of your body, arms extended. Take small, deliberate steps for time or distance, and then lower the weights slowly to the ground. Just walk and carry, baby! This will improve your stamina and make errands easier, too!
5. Turkish Get-Up
This strength-building move is harder than it looks! Even though they require some technique, Turkish get-ups target your whole body, especially your core. This involves gradually rising from a lying-down position, one limb at a time, until you're standing. You'll also need to hold a weight (barbell, kettlebell or a bottle of water if you're not strong yet). The hand holding the weight must remain above you at all times.
Each of these moves can easily be incorporated into your workout. For inspiration, try this workout that will make you better at nearly everything, or grab a kettlebell and check out Grace Kavadlo's strength-training routine!