Sylvester Stallone, at 74, has spent a lifetime looking good. As the star of action franchises such as Rambo, Rocky and the Expendables, Sly has been in some form of movie-star shape for the past forty years. Most action heroes come and go, but Stallone is still here.
There's no getting away from the fact Stallone has Hollywood personal trainers, physiotherapists and chefs at his beck and call, and has the money to maintain his physique. But just like Rocky, who trained by lifting logs and punching meat in an abattoir, Stallone has gone back to basics to stay in shape in his old age, using a set of the best resistance bands instead of weights.
In an Instagram post, Stallone speaks to his 12 million followers on how he's transformed his workouts:
"I used to work out a lot with weights, and the check comes due on that – your joints start to hurt, discs, back, knees, it just happens... for me, at my age, I found the newest, hardest, most productive way is training with bands, stretching bands. You can get an entire workout in 20 minutes that is life-changing. Aerobics, physical, you don't get bored... Getting bored during a workout is a buzzkill."
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Although the best adjustable dumbbells are great for resistance-based home workouts, Stallone found that bands are better for him as he gets older. As opposed to banging and crashing with heavy weights, bands start off light and create tension in the muscle when stretched, allowing you to slowly increase the pressure and slowly decrease it. This creates a safer, more controlled workout, which you'll see in our best chest workouts with resistance bands.
A study published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation (opens in new tab) looked at the effect of resistance band workouts on seniors, particularly examining flexibility and balance, two very important factors for seniors maintaining quality of life. The study found "resistance exercise using elastic bands is effective for improving the flexibility and balance of the elderly people living in the community."
Mobility and strength are incredibly important as we age. As we get older, our muscles get weaker and shorter, limiting our range of motion and making us frail. Continuing to build muscular strength and flexibility with resistance bands fights against the aging process, keeping us strong and limber. You'll be able to walk farther, exercise more and even be prone to falling less in your advancing years.
More tips for staying fit over 70:
Another study from a group of international physicians (opens in new tab) suggest to maintain muscle growth and prevent yourself from getting weaker as you age, older people should be eating 1-1.2g of protein per kilo of body weight. If that's proving tricky to get through diet, the best protein powder for weight loss and best protein powder for women guides contain a list of the best supplements which can help make up this shortfall.
In addition, bones and joints are a factor all older people should consider when exercising. As Sly says, any jerky movement while carrying heavy weights can be dangerous and hard on the joints. Luckily, our guide to the best supplements for joints can stop your knees, ankles and hips from creaking.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and News Editor at Fit&Well, covering all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.