Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
CLOSE ×

Search

Leaving AARP.org Website

You are now leaving AARP.org and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

5 Moves to Keep You Strong When You Skip the Gym

Everyday actions can work your stomach muscles, glutes and more, even without exercise

spinner image a man walking down the stairs in his house
Getty Images

spinner image illustration of a woman cleaning windows
Illustrations by Tara Jacoby

For a fit body and mind in your 50s, regular exercise is key. Still, there are days when you just can’t face the treadmill. We asked personal trainer Kirk Charles, proprietor of the online training program Fit Beyond 40, for his favorite ways to stay strong and limber when the gym is off the table.

spinner image illustration of a man clipping hedges

1. Pull your stomach in

spinner image illustration of a woman doing arm circles holding food cans

To increase abdominal power without crunches, suck in your stomach. Stand straight, exhale, pull in your belly, and hold for 20 to 30 seconds (or as long as you can). Do 3 to 5 reps.

spinner image an illustration of a man driving with back support

 

spinner image an illustration of a woman walking up the stairs

                     

 

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership

Join AARP for $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal. Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine

Join Now

2. Clench those glutes

You can build a stronger, less saggy butt by clenching those butt cheeks. This move works the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus — a twerking trifecta. Stand, clench as tight as possible, and hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Start with 3 to 5 reps, gradually increasing the number over time. (If you clench your abs simultaneously, you’ll strengthen your lower back; your glutes and abs help pull your pelvis into a powerful position.)

3. Circle your arms

For shoulder power, extend your arms out, each to its respective side, and make 10 small forward circles. Then make 10 small backward circles. You’ll probably feel a slight muscle burn after that amount. Next, try doing 3 to 5 reps forward and backward. This will work your deltoids and rotator cuff muscles. Add in larger circles to increase your range of motion.

4. Sit up straight

If you slump when you sit, this can lead to postural problems. Focus on sitting upright to strengthen your back and neck. 

5. Use the stairs

If you live or work in a building with a staircase, take advantage of it. You may not feel like hiking or jogging, but your quads still need to be worked. Even walking up just a couple of flights of stairs on a regular basis can help you develop power and stamina over the long run.​

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?

spinner image membership-card-w-shadow-192x134

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.