October 24, 2014

Core Muscle Exercises for Seniors

Developing a strong core can help seniors maintain flexibility for longer and protect the back from injury and alleviate pain. The core muscles consist of the abdominal and back muscles, the back and the pelvis. Exercises that strengthen the core muscles will help stabilise the back and make every day activities much easier to tolerate.

Extensions

Core extensions are performed while lying on your stomach and extending the arms and legs. Stretch and strengthen the core muscles by lifting the right arm and left leg at the same time. Hold for a count of 6, relax and repeat on the opposite sides. The exercise needs to be performed about six times on each side to get the maximum benefits. 

Raised Knees

While still on your back, stretch the core muscles by raising the knees to work your lower back. Keep your knees bent, pressing your back into the mat. Raise your knees toward your chest and grab them with your hands, pulling them closer to your chest for additional resistance. The raised knee exercise not only stretches and loosens up the lower back, it also compresses the abdominals and works the arm muscles. Hold on to the knees for a count of 6 and lower your feet, repeat the move six times.

Dead Bug

Once on the floor, you can roll over onto your back to perform the dead bug


exercise that will work on the abdominal muscles. Dead bugs are much easier to do than crunches that can strain the back and often are difficult for seniors with other medical disabilities. Once on the back, bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Extend your arms straight up. You should tighten your abdomen as your begin to scissor your arms in the air for about 30 seconds. Take a break and then raise your knees so they form a 90-degree angle. Repeat the arm-scissoring motion with knees raised.

The Cobra

The cobra is a standard core exercise for people of all ages. It is particularly useful for aging seniors who often get stiff in the back and pelvis areas. You need to roll back over onto your stomach to do the cobra. Get in position by placing your hands beneath your shoulders. Raise the front part of your body by extending your arms to full extension. Arch the back to feel the pull along the front of your abdominal region and in the front of your hips. Lean your head back slightly to add additional resistance to the exercise, careful not to strain the neck muscles. Slowly reverse the position by lowering the head first and then the arms. Rest for a couple seconds and repeat two or three times.