Maintaining mobility is crucial as you age, as it helps to preserve your independence and overall quality of life. Functional strength exercises focus on movements that mimic activities of daily living, helping to enhance your mobility, stability, and coordination. In this article, I’m recommending 10 of the very best functional strength exercises to improve mobility as you age.

These productive exercises will help keep you moving with ease as you grow older. Remember to start with lighter weights or modifications if needed, and gradually increase the intensity as you become stronger and more comfortable with each exercise. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program—especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions or concerns.

Keep reading to learn the best functional strength exercises for mobility as you age. And when you’re finished, don’t miss The #1 Best Type of Exercise for Weight Loss.

Squats

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Squats are a functional movement that targets the lower body muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. By strengthening these muscles, squats help improve mobility in everyday activities such as standing up from a chair or bending down to pick something up.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body by bending your knees and pushing your hips back. Keep your chest up and your weight in your heels. Return to the starting position by pushing through your heels. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Lunges

lunges exercise
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Lunges target the muscles of the lower body while also improving balance and coordination, making them an excellent exercise for boosting mobility.

Stand with your feet together. Take a step forward with one foot, lowering your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your front knee aligned with your ankle and your back knee hovering just above the ground. Push through your front heel to return to the starting position. Perform three sets of eight to 10 reps on each leg.

Hip Hinges

illustration of dumbbell deadlift
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Hip hinges target the muscles of the posterior chain, including the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. This exercise helps improve hip mobility and strengthen the muscles needed for bending and lifting.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand. Keep your back straight, hinge at the hips, and lower the weights toward the ground. Lower the weights until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, then return to the starting position by squeezing your glutes. Perform three sets of eight to 12 reps.

Planks

plank pose
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Planks are a core-strengthening exercise that also engages the muscles of the shoulders, chest, and back. By improving core strength and stability, planks help support proper posture and enhance overall mobility.

Start in a pushup position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Engage your core, and keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute, or as long as you can maintain good form. Perform three sets, holding each plank for 30 to 60 seconds.

Step-ups

illustration of step-ups
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Step-ups target the muscles of the lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, while also improving balance and coordination.

Stand in front of a step or platform with your feet hip-width apart. Step up onto the platform with one foot, driving through your heel. Fully extend your hip and knee before stepping back down to the starting position. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps on each leg.

Seated Leg Raises

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Seated leg raises target the muscles of the lower abdomen and hip flexors, improving hip mobility and stability.

Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground and your hands resting on the sides of the chair for support. Lift one leg straight out in front of you, keeping your knee straight. Lower your leg back down to the starting position with control. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps on each leg.

Shoulder Presses

illustration of dumbbell shoulder press
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Shoulder presses target the muscles of the shoulders and upper back, improving upper-body mobility and strength.

Sit or stand with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward. Lift the dumbbells to shoulder height, elbows bent and palms facing forward. Press the dumbbells overhead until your arms are fully extended, then lower them back down to shoulder height. Perform three sets of eight to 10 reps.

Dead Bugs

illustration of dead bug exercise
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Dead bugs are a core-strengthening exercise that also improves coordination and stability, helping to support overall mobility.

Lie on your back with your arms extended toward the ceiling and your legs bent at a 90-degree angle. Lower one arm and the opposite leg toward the ground while keeping your lower back pressed into the floor. Return to the starting position, and repeat on the opposite side. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps on each side.

Glute Bridges

glute bridge
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Glute bridges target the muscles of the glutes and lower back, improving hip mobility and stability.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips toward the ceiling, squeezing your glutes at the top. Lower your hips back down to the starting position with control. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps.

Standing Calf Raises

calf raises
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Standing calf raises target the muscles of the calves, improving ankle mobility and stability.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands resting on a wall or sturdy surface for support. Rise onto the balls of your feet, lifting your heels as high as possible. Lower your heels back down to the ground with control. Perform three sets of 15 to 20 reps.

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