10 Best Core Exercises For Seniors To Improve Stability

Written by Charushila Biswas, MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist

Fitness is ageless. However, our bodies cannot escape the signs of aging that manifest as muscle weakness and reduced bone strength, affecting balance, coordination, and gait (1), (2). Core exercises for seniors can improve stability and help you stay fit.

“A strong, functional core aids in the very basics like good breathing and posture. Good seated and standing posture keeps the center of mass where it needs to be, helping to prevent falls,” says Michael Julom, ACE-CPT, CFL1 Trainer. He adds, “Everyday activities people do late into life, such as getting out of bed and putting away the dishes, depend, at least in part, on core muscles.”

In other words, you need to strengthen your core muscles to lead a healthy life. So, grab a chair, a therapy band, and a mat to do these 10 best core strengthening exercises for mature adults over 50. Let’s begin!

What Is The Core?

We often refer to the ab muscles as the core. However, the core muscles are the boundary to separate the organs between the diaphragm and pelvic area. ACE-CPT, CFL1 Trainer Michael Julom explains, “The core refers to the system of muscles that surround the midsection, both in front and back. The core contributes to the structure and strength of the torso and helps protect the abdominal organs. It has been referred to as the second spine.”

He adds, “Muscles of the core include the rectus abdominis (aka “the abs,” which make up the washboard appearance when they’re developed), the transverse abdominis, the internal and external obliques, the spinus erectors, and the multifidus and muscles deep inside the pelvis,” he says.

It is crucial to keep your core strong for many reasons. Scroll down to find out.

Why Do We Need To Strengthen The Core?

Without a strong core, performing day-to-day tasks like lifting objects, walking, and standing up is tough. This increases the risk of falls, and you may need assistance to do any of the regular tasks. Conditions like osteoporosis, muscle loss, and knee and back pain may worsen it further. That is why it is best to do a few exercises every day to keep your core strong.

Below, you will find 10 low-impact core exercises designed for mature adults. You can do them at home with or without assistance.
Note: Talk to your doctor before exercising and do a 10-minute warm-up.

10 Core Exercises For Seniors (With Pictures)

1. Marching In Place

How To Do

  • Lie down on a mat or a flat surface.
  • Flex your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Rest the hands by your side or on your upper belly and look at the ceiling.
  • This is the starting position.
  • Lift your right leg off the floor. Flex the knee so that your lower leg and thigh are at 90° to each other.
  • Bring your knee right above your pelvis.
  • Place your foot back on the mat.
  • Repeat with the left foot.
  • Do this 10-15 times.

2. March With Leg Extension

How To Do

  • Lie down on a mat or a flat surface.
  • Flex your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Rest the hands by your side or on your upper belly and look at the ceiling.
  • This is the starting position.
  • Lift your right leg off the floor and flex the knee so that your lower leg and thigh are at 90° to each other.
  • Bring your knee right above your pelvis and extend the leg.
  • Pause for a moment.
  • Bring your leg back to the flexed position and put your foot back on the mat.
  • Repeat with the left foot.
  • Do this 10-15 times.

3. Isometric Core Strengthening

How To Do

  • Lie down on the mat, flex your knees, and keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift your right leg off the floor and bring the knee right above your pelvis.
  • Place your right palm on the right thigh.
  • Press your palm and push your thigh against your palm.
  • Hold for 3 seconds and release.
  • Put your foot down on the floor.
  • Repeat with the left foot.
  • Do this 10 times.

4. Resistance Band Leg Kicks

How To Do

  • Grab a resistance band and tie a loop at one end.
  • Hold the other end with your right hand, wrap the loop around the right leg, and get on all fours.
  • Keep your elbows right below your shoulder and tighten the abs and glutes.
  • Lift your right leg off the floor and extend it, with the toe touching the floor. This is the starting position.
  • Raise your right foot off the floor until your leg and spine are in the same line.
  • Lower your foot down.
  • Just before it touches the floor, lift it again.
  • Do this 10 times before switching legs.

5. Sitting Oblique Twists

How To Do

  • Sit on a chair with the spine straight. Roll the shoulders back, rest the hands on your thighs, and look ahead.
  • Bring your hands together in front of your chest, keeping the elbows out. This is the starting position.
  • Look straight and turn your upper body to the right and then to the left.
  • Do this 10-15 times.

6. Seated Side Bends

How To Do

  • Sit on a chair, keep the feet shoulder-width apart, and hands open to the side. Straighten the spine and look ahead. This is the starting position.
  • Bend to the right and try to touch the floor with your right hand.
  • Get back up and bend to the left.
  • Do this 12 times.

7. Seated Forward Bends

How To Do

  • Sit on a chair, keep your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, and the spine straight. Rest the palms on the knees, roll the shoulders back, and look straight. This is the starting position.
  • Hinge from the waist, bend forward, and try to touch the floor with your hands.
  • Hold the position for 5 seconds and get up.
  • Do this 10 times.

8. Bird Dog

How To Do

  • Get on all fours on a mat. Engage your core, and keep your spine, neck, and head aligned.
  • First, lift your left leg off the floor and stretch it behind.
  • Lift your right hand off the floor and extend it.
  • Hold this position for 5-10 seconds.
  • Get back to the starting position.
  • Lift your right leg and stretch it behind you.
  • Lift your left hand off the floor and extend it.
  • Hold this position for 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat this set 3 times.

9. Lying Ankle Taps

How To Do

  • Lie down on a mat, flex your knees, and keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Rest your hands by your sides and lift your neck slightly off the floor.
  • Bend to your right and try to touch the right ankle with your right hand.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Bend to the left and try to touch the left ankle with the left hand.
  • Do this 12 times.

10. Plank

How To Do

  • Get on all fours. Flex your elbows and place them on the floor.
  • Stretch both the legs behind, one at a time, with the toes touching the floor.
  • Support your body on your elbows and toes.
  • Engage the core and glutes.
  • Keep breathing and hold this position for 10-30 seconds.
  • Relax for 30 seconds and repeat two more times.

These core strengthening exercises can improve trunk stabilization and balance. However, aging may cause a host of other problems and restrict your movements. Exercising could be tough in such cases, and your doctor may advise avoiding certain movements. Back pain is a common aging problem, and you have to be careful while doing core strengthening exercises. Scroll down to get a better idea.

Can I Do Core Exercises With Back Pain?

Yes, you can do core exercises with back pain. However, do seated or lying exercises and avoid planks and leg back kicks unless you have a personal trainer to help you with your posture. You must also avoid lifting heavy weights or objects.

Apart from protecting your back, you must follow other precautions while doing core stability exercises. Here’s what to keep in mind.

Precautions To Take

  • Avoid fast and jerky movements and exercises.
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects.
  • Practice good sitting and standing postures.
  • Make sure the chair is stable and sturdy.
  • Follow a balanced diet.
  • Add protein to every meal.
  • Consume nuts and seeds.
  • Include calcium-fortified foods in your diet.
  • Consult your doctor to know which supplements to take.

The Takeaway

Keeping yourself fit and going has nothing to do with age. Staying active helps you feel and look better than ever – and core strengthening exercises can help you achieve that goal and stay fit after 50. The exercises mentioned here are low-impact and activate the core muscles without aggravating an underlying condition or a past injury. Do these for 15-20 minutes every day, and you will start to notice a difference in your gait, posture, agility, flexibility, and energy levels. However, ensure to consult a doctor, take assistance (if required), and follow all precautions to prevent accidental injuries.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Muscle weakness in the elderly: role of sarcopenia dynapenia and possibilities for rehabilitation
    https://eurapa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1007/s11556-012-0102-8
  2. Aging and bone loss: new insights for the clinician
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22870496/
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