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7 Core Exercises for Seniors

Healthcare | March 16, 2023

A man doing some core exercises for seniors.

Regular exercise doesn’t get any less important as you get older. The CDC recommends that people age 65 and older get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week – and some of that time should be spent on core exercises.

Your core muscles, located throughout much of the torso, are at the center of all you do: supporting your lower back, maintaining your balance and stability, as well as standing, lifting and bending. Incorporating core exercises into your fitness routine is a great way to strengthen core muscles while helping to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Ready to keep a strong core throughout your golden years? Keep reading to learn more about seven core exercises for older adults.

Seated Core Exercises for Seniors

Whether you choose to do one or all of these exercises, these seated core exercises for seniors are perfect for your core. Each of these exercises are quick, easy, and can be done at home without any need for workout equipment – all that’s needed is a sturdy chair. Let’s break down each exercise and how it helps you address strengthening your core muscles.

Seated side bends

Seated side bends are a great exercise that help engage your abdominal muscles, as well as internal and external oblique muscles.

How to do them: Start by sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. While staying seated, place the palm of your right hand on the back of your head, extending your right arm and elbow out so both are aligned with your right ear. Your left arm should stay at your side, aligned with the left side of your body.

Take a deep breath. As you exhale, lean to your left side, bringing your left arm down closer to the floor. While leaning, pull back your right elbow. This will cause you to feel a stretch on that side. Breathe in again and come back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times on each side.

Leg lifts

Leg lifts work both your abs and oblique muscles simultaneously, making this the perfect two in one seated core exercise for seniors.

How to do them: Start by sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Lift one leg as high as you can while engaging your core, making sure to keep your back straight. Do not overextend your leg – keep the leg lift at a level that is attainable for you. Hold this position for three seconds, then return your leg to the original position and repeat with the other leg. Alternate legs for 10 repetitions, increasing repetitions as you feel comfortable.

Knee lifts

Knee lifts are similar to leg lifts. Knee lifts engage the abdominal muscles and is an easy beginner seated core exercise for seniors.

How to do them: Start by sitting on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Be sure to sit up straight, with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Lift one leg a few inches off the floor, keeping your knees bent. Hold it for five seconds, then return your leg to the original position and repeat with the other leg. Alternate legs for 10 repetitions, increasing repetitions as you feel comfortable.

Tip: Hold on to the side of the chair with your hands if you need extra balance or support.

Standing Core Exercises for Seniors

Standing core exercises for seniors are perfect for engaging your core muscles. Each of these exercises are quick, easy, and can be done at home without any need for workout equipment. Let’s break down each exercise and how it helps you address strengthening your core muscles.

The twist

Twists are one the of simplest standing core exercises – and can be a great warmup as well.

How to do them: Start by standing with both feet hip length apart on even flooring with knees slightly bent. Keeping your feet in place, slightly twist your torso to the right and then to the left, making a twisting motion. Repeat as many times as you feel comfortable.

Standing crunch

While crunches are traditionally done on the floor, there’s no need to get on the floor with this version!

How to do them: Start by standing up as straight as possible with both feet slightly apart on even flooring. With your arms resting at the sides of your body, make small fists with each hand. Bend your elbows to bring your fists even with your shoulders. Then, engage your core muscles to gently curl your torso forward, hold for a count or two, then return to standing. Repeat eight to 10 times, increasing repetitions as you feel comfortable.

Wall pushup

Much like their traditional counterpart, wall pushups are a great standing core exercise for seniors.

How to do them: Start by standing with both feet hip length apart on even flooring while facing a wall. Your body should be about an arm’s length distance from the wall. Lean forward until you touch the wall, placing your hands at shoulder height and keeping your arms straight. Then, with feet still planted on the ground, slowly bring your body forward towards the wall, bending your arms. Hold for a beat, then slowly push yourself back so that your arms are no longer bent, but hands are still touching the wall. Repeat 10 times, increasing repetitions as you feel comfortable.

Tip: This exercise works many core muscles, so start slow to build up your endurance over time.

Marches

Marches are one of the most functional standing core exercises for seniors because it mimics every day movements, like standing up from a seated position.

How to do them: Start by standing with both feet hip length apart on even flooring. Lift your right leg up towards your chest, forming a 90-degree angle with your leg. At the same time, lift your left arm above your head. Hold for a beat, then lower both your right leg and left arm. Repeat on the opposite side with your left leg and right arm. Repeat 10 times, increasing repetitions as you feel comfortable.

Take Steps to Enjoy Your Golden Years

A good exercise program is important for older adults, but it’s important to work at your own pace. Don’t be afraid to start slow and work your way up to a comfortable workout routine. Even small steps are better than none when it comes to improving your quality of life.

Whether it’s completing exercises to strengthen your knees or dealing with senior housing, it’s important to do what you can to make sure you enjoy your senior years. Trying to figure out the best senior housing option for your personal lifestyle and needs? Find out which senior living options are in your area or give us a call at 844-465-6063 to talk to one of our friendly staff members today.

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