As you age, you may experience more frequent aches and pains throughout the body. However, there are steps you can take which can help to improve core strength and keep you independent for many years to come (1).
Above all else, incorporating the right exercises into your routine can contribute to your physical health later in life (2).
In this post, I’ll show you my 3 favorite core exercises that older adults should strongly consider making a part of their weekly routine.
The Best 3 Core Exercises for Seniors
These exercises can help significantly with spinal stability and core strength. In order to get the most out of these moves, you should perform them in a circuit fashion.
This means performing one exercise after the other, in quick succession. You’ll complete five rounds of each exercise, for the reps and parameters described below, 3-4 times per week.
This is all you need to get a great, strong core! Now, let’s take a look at the moves in question!
1. Flowing Bird Dogs
Bird dogs are phenomenal for improving strength throughout the back and core. This movement engages the multifidi, the glutes, and various other muscles throughout the body. By performing them in a flowing manner, you can also improve balance and proprioception significantly.
How to Perform:
- Start on your hands and knees, with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees right under your hips.
- Next, reach your right arm straight out in front of you as you simultaneously kick your left leg behind you.
- In this position, you should be able to trace a line from your left heel to your right fingertips.
- Hold this pose for 3 seconds, then bring your right elbow to your left knee, near your chest.
- Hold this position for 3 seconds then return to the position described in step number 2.
- Continue to repeat in this manner for 3 sets of 10 reps per session. Be sure to perform this movement on both sides.
2. Side Planks
The obliques are an oft-neglected muscle group. Most people prioritize the six-pack muscles, known as the rectus abdominis. While the rectus is an important muscle, the obliques are equally vital for good health.
This move uses isometric contractions in order to build endurance and strength throughout the core.
How to Perform:
- Start by lying on your left side.
- Tuck your left forearm underneath you.
- At the same time, stack your right foot on top of your left.
- Rise up onto your left forearm and left foot.
- Be sure that your body is in a straight line from the top of your head down to your feet.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, and repeat 4 times on each side per session.
Last but not least, we have the bridge.
This move is commonly used during yoga classes, as it tends to be very comfortable for anyone, of any ability level. Furthermore, it activates the glutes to a high degree, which can help with posture and stability throughout the hips and low back.
How to Perform:
- Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Push your feet into the floor as you raise your hips toward the ceiling.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds, then return to the ground with control.
- Repeat for 3 sets of 10 reps per session.
Core stability is incredibly important for us all, but it’s absolutely vital for those over 60. By completing these three, simple exercises regularly, you’ll be well on your way to building a stable core!
- Psatha, M., Wu, Z., Gammie, F., Ratkevicius, A., Wackerhage, H., Redpath, T. W., Gilbert, F. J., Meakin, J. R., & Aspden, R. M. (2017). Age-related changes in the effects of strength training on lower leg muscles in healthy individuals measured using MRI. BMJ open sport & exercise medicine, 3(1), e000249. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsem-2017-000249
- Keller, K., & Engelhardt, M. (2014). Strength and muscle mass loss with the aging process. Age and strength loss. Muscles, ligaments and tendons journal, 3(4), 346–350.