Exercises that strengthen the core of the body help improve its stability.
A weak core is home to many problems. Not only are you more prone to injuries due to falling, but you’ll also have a poorer balance as well as very constricted mobility.
Let's explore what we can do to help our body.
What is the body’s core in terms of exercising?
Exercising for strengthening the core means training muscles around these body parts:
- Hips, and
The internal and external muscles around these body parts make up the core of your body. Other muscles need to step up when your core is weak, which in turn weakens them and makes you more prone to injuries.
What are the health benefits of core exercises for elderly people?
Core strengthening isn’t reserved for the elderly. It’s a major part of any workout routine. However, it has some clear benefits for older adults that don’t apply to younger adults.
Here’s a list of the benefits of core exercises for elderly:
- Balance: The spine is a key part of the core of your body. A strong core ensures your center of gravity is perfect. This, in turn, improves your balance and confidence.
- Pain reduction: Core exercises work on lower back pain by stretching and strengthening the core muscles. It can even help reduce pain from chronic ailments in other body parts.
- Body strength: Daily core training will be hugely beneficial for your body’s overall strength. Older adults can expect a 30% improvement in body strength on average. Improved strength also increases your range of motion.
- Preventing injuries: Prevention is better than a cure. Core training will help you prevent injuries by improving your body’s balance and strength.
Taken together, these benefits help improve your body’s stability, balance, and strength. Furthermore, core training can be great for you if you’re unable to perform daily tasks with ease.
A stronger core will improve your reaction time apart from strengthening your muscles.
Core exercises vs. yoga
Yoga is indeed a great alternative to core exercises. In many ways, some yoga poses are improved forms of typical core exercises. However, it’s not for everyone and there might be additional work involved to do a complete yoga session.
Compared to that, core exercises are much more hassle-free and straightforward. So, if you’re looking for strengthening your core, and just that, it’s better to opt for these exercises rather than yoga.
What are the best core exercises for elderly people?
With all of that out of the way, let’s see some of the very best core exercises that older adults can do, easily and painlessly.
Note that all these exercises can be done at home.
#1: Sitting side bends
Side bends improve the muscles on your sides, and over time, help improve the core body strength. You’ll need to sit on a chair for this.
- Sit on a chair and keep your feet comfortably on the floor.
- Place your left hand behind your head.
- Drop your right hand to the side, as if trying to touch the floor.
- Lean on the right side.
- Slowly and gently, drop further on the side, so that your left side muscles feel the tension.
- Slowly return to the original sitting position.
- Repeat on the left side this time.
One repetition includes both right and left movements. This exercise works by tightening, stretching, and then relaxing the side muscles.
Sitting side bends are one of the best core training exercises for the elderly.
Superman is a great exercise. Start slowly at first if you have chronic lower back pain. This exercise targets the lower back and can help relieve pain in your back while strengthening the core.
- Lie face-down on a yoga mat or bed.
- Stretch your arms out in front of you.
- Slowly raise your right arm and left leg together.
- Take them as high as possible.
- Return to the original position.
- Do the same with the left arm and right leg.
The Superman exercise is ideal for people struggling with back and specifically lower back pain. It improves your body’s stability.
X-ups are a great and fun core exercise for elderly people as they’re performed lying down comfortably.
- Lie down face-up and press your lower back in the bed.
- Push down with your lower back only. This will make your core muscles tense.
- Take your right foot off the bed.
- Bend the leg at the knee, pulling it closer to your head.
- Place your left arm to the right knee you just pulled.
- Go back to the original position and do the same with the left leg and knee, touching it with your right hand.
Doing X-ups isn’t the most forgiving exercise, but it’s truly one of the best types of core training. Your entire body needs to be balanced on the lower back only.Make it more challenging later. How? Raise your head along with the shoulder while doing X-ups. The other leg that you’re not raising shouldn’t rest comfortably, and should also stay slightly elevated. Move out of the comfort of the bed and do X-ups on a more solid surface.
The core is a very important section of the body, if not the most important, for older adults. A weak core can bring all sorts of problems with it. On the other hand, a strong core will ensure that you can do day-to-day tasks with ease, have a great balance, and as a result, be confident in your life.
However, core exercises for elderly people aren’t very easy to do, especially when compared to other types of exercises like stretching or basic balancing exercises.
Core training might be taxing, but is infinitely more rewarding than others. Start slow with a few reps and move up in the intensity and number of reps.