Gradually losing muscle is a part of getting old, but lost core strength can have a serious impact on a person’s mobility. In addition to making day-to-day tasks more difficult, lost core strength can quickly translate into accident and injury. Knowing a few good core exercises for seniors can help address this problem directly, and improved mobility can have a profound impact on a person’s quality of life.
Provided with the right core strengthening exercises for seniors, it’s possible to reduce the risk of your loved ones being among the three million older adults who seek treatment for a fall each year.
Benefits of Core Strengthening for Seniors
What is the core, exactly? Ignoring our limbs, the core describes nearly every muscle in the body. For instance, it includes pelvic floor muscles, oblique muscles on the side of the torso, and even the musculature responsible for supporting the spine.
Working together, these muscles are necessary for stabilizing the body, and helping us transfer force. Everyday activities like standing up from a seat, getting out of bed, and washing the dishes all involve core strength. Because all motion is generated from our core, weakness can contribute to poor balance and impaired mobility.
Conversely, strengthening core muscles for seniors can make it easier to complete daily tasks. By supporting the spine, it can help promote better balance, thereby reducing the risk of suffering a fall. It can even reduce lower back pain. Perhaps best of all, it’s not challenging to find easy core exercises for seniors which can be done at home.
Luckily, some of the easiest core exercises for elderly adults are also some of the most effective. A great trio of exercises to learn are Wood Chops, Seated Side Bends, and the Superman. Together, they provide motions which can be performed while standing, sitting, or lying down.
Wood chops earned their name because the motion is similar to chopping wood. This exercise is able to impact nearly every muscle in the core, which makes it one of the ideal core stability exercises for elderly adults. And its intensity can always be increased by holding a small dumbbell.
Begin by standing, with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders, and holding your hands together in front of you. From this starting position, raise your arms to the right side of your head, then move your arms diagonally towards the left side of your body, as though you were chopping wood. This slashing motion should cause the body to twist from side to side. Repeat the motion five times before switching sides.
Seated Side Bends
Similar to wood chops, seated side bends target most parts of the core, which makes them great core building exercises for seniors. From the seated position, place one hand behind your head, and then lean to the opposite side of that hand, as though you were trying to pick up something from the floor. Return to the starting position, and repeat for both sides. In order to keep the stress focused on your core, don’t allow your feet to leave the floor, or allow your chest to sink forward into poor posture. Side bends can also be done from the standing position.
The Superman is a great exercise for bolstering the lower back in particular. The starting position for this exercise is supposed to resemble Superman in flight. Begin by lying with your face down, and your arms stretched in-front of you. Then simultaneously raise your head, right leg, and left arm a couple inches off the floor. You don’t have to hold the motion before lowering your limbs and switching sides, but you can hold the motion for a better workout.
Simple core exercises for elderly adults can help promote mobility, independence, and ultimately quality of life. Part of the appeal of these exercises is they’re easy to perform from the comfort of home. All are excellent at targeting core strength.