The upper body
Why it’s important: As women age, we lose the most muscle in our lower limbs, including thighs, hamstrings and calves, but we typically notice functional problems in our upper bodies first. “We walk around all day carrying our body weight, which works out our legs,” explains kinesiologist and personal trainer Rick Kaselj. “But as we get older, we don’t push or lift things as much.” Strong trapezius, deltoid, biceps and triceps muscles could someday make a difference doing basic tasks such as carrying groceries or your grandkids. And the weaker they are, the more prone you are to neck strain, says Kaselj. “Our arm, shoulder and neck muscles are all interconnected.”
Exercises that work: To maintain upper body strength, the push-up is the best all-round upper body exercise. Kaselj recommends both wall push-ups (the farther away your feet are from the wall, the tougher the push-up) and floor push-ups (on your knees is fine, though toes are better). Do 10 on the wall and 10 on the floor daily.