Your core is made up of your abdominal muscles and back muscles, including the muscles along the spine, as well as your hips and pelvis muscles. Having a strong core is an essential part of your overall health; without a strong core, you are more at risk for injuries from falls due to poor balance and limited mobility. In fact, every movement you make is generated from your core, which means if your core is weakened, other muscles need to work harder to pick up the slack. This is a key contribution to injuries in seniors.
The Benefits of Core Strengthening Exercises for Seniors
Adding core strengthening exercises to your workout regimen is crucial for seniors. Exercise in general has been proven to slow down the aging process, and improving your core strength improves your stamina, stability, coordination, posture, and protects you from injury. Here are just a few of the main benefits of core exercises for seniors:
- Injury prevention. For seniors, preventing an injury from occurring is so important; healing from an injury is much more difficult than avoiding one altogether.
- Improving body strength. Studies found that core strengthening exercises can improve body strength of older adults by an average of 30%. Stronger muscles allows for an increased range of motion, too.
- Managing and reducing pain. Many seniors suffer from lower back pain, and core exercises help stretch and strengthen these muscles, helping to reduce pain from chronic conditions.
- Keeping you balanced and stable. Your core helps support your spine, which aids in balance and stability. You’ll have a better sense of your center of gravity, which allows for more confident movement.
- Making daily tasks easier. When you have a weak core, even just getting up out of your favorite chair can be difficult, and walking down a snowy sidewalk can be downright treacherous. A strong core provides you better reaction time and aids in ordinary activities, like climbing stairs.
Best Core Exercises to Add to Your Workout
The best part about core exercises is that you don’t even need to visit a fancy gym to complete them daily! You simply need a mat, carpeted floor or chair. No expensive equipment is required to strengthen your core.
Here are just a few of some of the best core strengthening exercises for seniors that can be completed from the comfort of your home:
- Seated side bends. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, keeping one hand behind your head and the other reaching towards the floor. Lean over as though you’re going to touch the floor, tightening the oblique muscles running along the side of your body in the process. Return to your initial position and repeat on the opposite side.
- The Bridge. Lie flat on your back, keeping your knees bent and feet flat against the ground. Tighten your core, raising your hips until a straight line is formed between your knees and chest- do not arch your back. Hold for three breaths, then lower back down.
- The Superman. This movement strengthens your lower back and improves stability. Lie face down on the floor with arms outstretched in front of you. Raise your head, right arm and left leg in tandem about two inches, then lower and repeat on the opposite side.
- Leg lifts. Work your lower abdominal muscles by lying flat on the floor with legs and feet relaxed. Contract your abs while raising one leg about 5 inches off the floor, holding for 3 counts. Repeat with the other leg.
Yoga is also a great way for seniors to improve their overall core strength, and many studios will offer classes designed specifically for older adults. Pilates is another great exercise for core strength, and many of the movements can be modified based on your ability.
For more information about New Energy Wellness at American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com/service/new-energy-wellness/.