As you age, it is critical to maintain muscle mass and bone structure. Your body cannot repair itself as quickly, which leads to the breakdown of tissue, especially around the joints and the core region of your body. The best way to avoid common injuries, such as those associated with slipping and falling, is to increase your overall level of strength.
It's always best to talk with your doctor to see what level of fitness and resistance training a medical professional recommends. They can perform tests on the density of your bones to see if you're able to use weights or if it's best to use resistance bands and exercises in the water. Whatever level of resistance training your doctor recommends, it is also important to focus on core exercises for seniors.
These core exercises for seniors require little in the way of equipment, and chances are you can perform these exercises when you wake up in the morning. By spending just a few minutes a day on the exercises you're able to get your morning starting off great, get your heart rate up, and strengthen your core.
What Are Core Exercises?
Your body's core is the midsection. Typically, this term is referring to your abdominal muscles and the muscles found in your lower back, right above your waistline. These are not large muscles. In fact, core exercises will not burn much in the way of calories and you're not going to drop weight as you strengthen your abs. However, your core stabilizes your entire body.
Your core muscles wrap around your spinal cord and the lower portion of your ribs and protect your organs. These muscles also help you maintain your balance. One of the biggest reasons so many people slip, fall, and break their hips or their ribs is because they lose their balance and their core muscles cannot hold them up. By strengthening your core muscles and focusing on core exercises for seniors you'll reduce the chance of suffering these kinds of injuries.
Is There a Need for Core Exercises?
There absolutely is a need for core exercises for seniors. Even if it isn't your goal to get six-pack abs, strengthening your core will help with any kind of stability issues you are, or might, have. With strong core muscles, you'll reduce your level of back pain and improve your posture. Plus, as you improve your stability and balance you'll cut down on the possibility of an injury from balance issues. This alone is an important reason why you need to perform core exercises for seniors.
Hip, rib, arm, and knee injuries are painful. Also, these take a long time to heal. Depending on the severity of an injury to any of these, you might need to have the bone replaced, which brings different issues all together. So avoid having this kind of problem at all and improve your long term health by performing core exercises for seniors.
The Parts of Your Core
There are a few different parts of your core muscles you'll be working on. First, there is your transverse abdominis. This is found under your obliques (your side ab muscles). These muscles connect with your spine and are some of the most important with regards to stability.
Then there are your internal abdominal obliques. These are found on the external obliques, which run in the opposite direction of the transverse abdominis. Third, there are the external abdominal oblique muscles. These are the external muscles found on the side of your abdomen.
Finally, you have the rectuc abdominis muscles. These are the muscles found on the front of your body. You better know these muscles as the "six-pack" muscles. It is also important to mention the lower back muscles. These muscles are found directly above your tailbone. The muscles are the opposite muscles to your abdominal muscles (similar to the tricep muscles being the reverse of the bicep muscles). By performing your core exercises slowly you'll also target your lower back.
Core Exercises for Seniors and Beginners
These core exercises are easy to do and will not put as much strain on your body as some other ab exercises you're likely familiar with. You can always work up to these other workouts if your doctor says it is all right. Always consult with a doctor before starting any exercise regime. Should you be cleared to perform exercises, and if you find you want to continue onward with more specific core workouts, by all means continue to move forward with your workout.
This is a core exercise you can do at home and even when standing up. In fact, you'll train your body so that your body will do this on its own. This is called muscle memory. You want your core to be firm whether you're sitting, standing, or playing racquetball at the gym. Abdominal bracing is when you pull your belly button back to your spine by tightening your abs (don't suck the air in your lungs, but instead tighten your core lightly as if you're trying to flex your abdominal muscles).
Hold your abs in this position. When you first start out it will seem difficult to do. However, the more you do it the easier it will become. Eventually, your body will naturally tighten the core muscles together without you ever having to try to do it. This will improve your balance and stability while protecting your spin, all at the same time.
This is a great exercise that will work to strengthen your abdominal muscles and your lower back. With the bridge lay on the ground. If you have carpet, that's good (laying on the wood or laminate floor is uncomfortable). You can use a yoga mat or you can fold up a thin blanket to give you some extra padding if you need. You don't want it to be extra thick, but just a bit of slender padding will make it a little more comfortable.
From here, place your feet flat on the ground and your hands at your side, palms facing down. Now, lift your abdominal section up and push your belly button toward the ceiling while you squeeze your lower back. Lift up so your knees run alone a straight line down to your chest. Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower yourself back down to the ground. Perform this 10 times. You will want to make sure you breathe while you do this (and all other exercises). Never hold your breath during core workouts.
With the Superman workout you'll again target your lower back. Your lower back is one of the most underdeveloped areas of the entire body so it is important to target this area.
On your yoga mat lay on your stomach with your arms straight in front of your and your legs all the way back. Now, look to the wall in front of you and stretch your arms out over the ground. At the same time, lift your back legs off the ground as well (as if you're flying like Superman). Hold this here (you'll feel your lower back tighten). If you can't do both arms and both legs at the same time, that's okay. Lift your right arm and your left leg so you maintain balance, hold for a few moments, then switch sides.
The plank will help improve your stability by engaging your entire core section. You won't need to move or do any crunches with this move, which makes it a great to do. After the Superman remain on your chest. However, place your forearms and palms of your hands against the ground and go up on the toes of your feet. Make sure your back is straight and your stomach isn't sagging down. Tighten your abs and your lower back while you hold the muscles. Do this for a count of 10, then lower yourself back down. As you grow stronger, you'll be able to hold this longer and longer.
Core exercises for seniors do not need to be extremely difficult. It's about strengthening the muscles, not packing on muscle and size. With the help of core exercises for seniors, you'll reduce the chance of physical injury and you'll also reduce the level of discomfort you feel in your lower back. With these core exercises for seniors you won't need any additional weights or equipment. You can also do these anywhere.
So whether you do the abdominal exercises when you get up at home, or you want to do them in a hotel room as you travel, do these exercises at least three times a week (or more, if you'd like). There's nothing like getting your heart pumping early on to boost your blood and oxygen flow. Because you don't need anything else or have to go to the store to pick anything else up, now is the perfect time to begin with your core exercises.