Strength training can dramatically enhance the lives of older adults by boosting their energy, increasing their range of motion and by preventing injuries. One of the most overlooked elements of strength training in all age groups is the abdominal core.
The muscles of your core run the length of the trunk and torso. Your core muscles work to stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle and create a solid base of support for your limbs. The majority of your day to day movements involve you core either directly or indirectly.
Core training is of particular importance to seniors because the muscles of the core have an affect on your balance and stability. Weak core muscles can cause or contribute to back pain, poor posture, balance deficiencies, frequent falls and herniated spinal discs. Fortunately, regular exercises that can be performed at home can help you avoid such troubles.
Try to include each of these exercises into your daily routine to build a strong core you can depend on.
Supine Abdominal Isolation
- Lie on the back with the knees bent.
- Slowly lift one knee at a time so that the knee is directly above the hip and the lower leg is perpendicular to the thigh and parallel to the ground.
- Use your abdominal muscles to press the lower back down to the floor and hold it there for five seconds.
- Then relax and repeat with the other leg. Do each side 10 times.
The Bird Dog
1. Kneel on the floor with hands firmly placed shoulder width apart.
2. Brace abdominals, point arm out straight in front and extend the opposite leg to the rear
3. Hold for 10 – 60 seconds (depending on your strength) then switch sides
Seated Abdominal Contraction
- Sit in a chair away from the back rest. Place your feet flat on the floor. Look straight ahead and place your hands below your belly button.
- Inhale and pull in your ab muscles below your palms. Imagine pulling your stomach to your spine.
- Hold for five to 10 seconds. Exhale and release. Do 10 pull-ins.
Seated Oblique twists
- Sit at the end of a flat bench or in a chair with your feet firmly on the floor.
- Place you finger tips on the back of your head (do not interlace your finger or put any pressure on your head and neck.)
- Slowly twist your torso to the left, then to the right.
- Keep your back straight and your head up, keeping your abs constantly contracted throughout the entire exercise.
- This exercise is not about speed; keep a slow, steady pace.
- Repeat 10 times