The Best Core-Strengthening Exercises for Seniors
With age, many seniors often neglect strength training. Then tend to focus on simply walking and other forms of cardio. That's not enough, though, because it's crucial to maintain and build strength in order to live an active and pain-free life. Strength—most especially a strong core—is integral in the ability to perform everyday tasks without the risk of injury. So we've put together some of the most efficient core-strengthening exercises for seniors to start doing pronto.
Adding exercises like the ones we've listed below to your routine can truly be life-changing in your older years. According to the Meno Clinic, your movements, stability, and balance are really the result of solid core muscles. In addition, your core offers support and protection to your back. This is key as you grow older, considering a lack of core exercises can cause your torso to weaken, which exposes you to muscular injuries, bad posture, and pain in your lower back, the Meno Clinic explains.
Of course, as with any new exercise routine, it's crucial to check in with a personal trainer, physical therapist, or healthcare professional to see what exercises and movements are perfectly okay to perform at your age and stage of life.
If you want to build your core strength, here are a few exercises you can incorporate into your routine. Perform three to four sets of the following.
Start the dead bug on your back with your fingers pointed toward the ceiling and your knees up, forming 90-degree angels. Inhale as you fill your belly with air, and pull your ribs down so that your lower back presses into the ground. Take one of your arms and the opposite leg, and extend them just above the floor. Then, exhale while keeping tension in your core. Then, bring the arm/leg back up, and repeat with the opposite side. Perform three to four sets of five reps for each side.
For the bird dog, assume a tabletop position, keeping your knees aligned with your hips and your shoulders in line with your wrists. Brace your core as you extend one arm in front of you and the opposite leg behind you. Keep your body in a straight line. Then, bring the arm and leg back in before doing the next rep. Finish all reps on one side before switching over. Perform three to four sets of five reps for each side.
Assume a side plank by stacking your feet and keeping your shoulders aligned with your wrists. Lift your hips up and forward, and brace your abs. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds before switching sides.
If the regular side plank position is too challenging to hold, you can start off with the bent knee version instead while you build up your core strength.
Band Rotation Chop
Last but not least, it's time for some band rotation chops. To set up, tie a resistance band around a sturdy beam. Then, take a step out to the side to form tension on the band. Hold the end of the band with both hands utilizing a pronated (overhand) grip, and position your feet in a wide stance. Keeping your core tight, rotate the band across your body from your upper back (thoracic spine). Flex your obliques during the entire range of motion, then return back to the starting position. Perform three to four sets of 15 reps for each side.