As we age, maintaining good physical health becomes increasingly important for staying independent and active. Staying active also contributes to our overall well-being and quality of life. For older adults, in particular, having a strong core can be vital for everyday tasks such as getting in and out of bed, walking up stairs, or carrying groceries.
Some traditional core exercises can be difficult for older adults and may even lead to injury. That’s why it can be important to find standing core exercises and other forms of support specifically designed for seniors.
The standing core exercises we recommend for seniors include:
- Standing abdominal twists
- Side bends
- Modified mountain climbers
- Standing wall planks
Whether you are a senior looking to maintain your independence or someone helping an older loved one stay healthy and mobile, these exercises can make a positive impact on your daily life.
Core Strength for Seniors & How It Affects Daily Life
As we age, our bodies can naturally begin to lose muscle mass and strength. This can be especially true for our core muscles, which include the abdominals, back, and pelvic floor muscles. These muscles play a crucial role in maintaining balance and stability in everyday activities such as walking, standing up from a chair, and getting out of bed.
A strong core also helps with posture and can alleviate common issues like back pain. However, many seniors neglect to work on their core strength, which can lead to a decline in overall physical function.
That’s why it’s crucial for seniors to incorporate exercises that specifically target core muscles into their daily routines. Core exercises can improve physical health and mobility—and may even also boost confidence and independence.
Safety Tips & Precautions for Standing Core Exercises
Safety is always the most important part of any exercise. You should consider speaking with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
- Support Your Balance: It is important to have a stable and supportive surface when performing standing core exercises. Make sure to stand on a non-slip mat and wear shoes with good traction to prevent any falls or injuries.
- Watch Your Posture: Proper posture is crucial when performing standing core exercises. Keep your spine in a neutral position, engage your core muscles, and avoid leaning too far forward or back.
- Start Slowly: As with any exercise routine, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase intensity. This allows you to learn proper form and helps reduce the risk of injury.
- Listen to Your Body: If you experience any pain or discomfort while performing standing core exercises, stop immediately. Consult a healthcare professional if necessary.
Recommended Standing Core Exercises for Seniors
The following exercises are just a few core exercises that can help build strength. Before starting any new exercise, it can be helpful to speak with a personal trainer or physical therapist to get help learning proper form and safe exercise techniques.
Standing Abdominal Twists Using a Chair
Here are the steps for abdominal twists:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, facing a chair or stable surface.
- Hold on to the back of the chair or surface for support.
- Engage your core and slowly twist your upper body to one side, keeping your hips facing forward.
- Twist back to center and repeat on the other side.
- Perform 10–12 reps on each side.
Side Bends with Light Weights
Here are the steps for side bends:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a light weight.
- Place your other hand on your hip for balance.
- Engage your core and slowly bend sideways toward your weighted hand, keeping the weight or resistance band close to your body. The weight should be just above your knee at the end of the bend.
- Slowly return to center.
- Perform 10–12 reps on each side.
Modified Mountain Climbers
Here are the steps for modified mountain climbers:
- Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides.
- Bring your right knee up to waist level and extend your left arm over your head.
- Return to the starting position and then repeat with the opposite side.
- Keep alternating sides until the set is complete.
Standing Wall Planks
Here are the steps for a standing wall plank:
- Stand at arm’s length from a wall.
- Raise your arms and lean forward so that your forearms rest flat against the wall.
- Tuck your bottom, keep your back straight, and engage your core by pulling your belly button into your spine.
- Hold for 2 or more seconds.
Listen to your body. If you are up for more of a challenge, try to hold this exercise for 30 seconds to a minute and then repeat 2 more times.
Benefits of Standing Core Exercises over Traditional Floor-Based Exercises
For some people, traditional floor-based core exercises can be challenging or even impossible due to mobility issues. This is where standing core exercises come in. These types of exercises allow older adults to work on their core without having to get down on the floor.
Here are some benefits of standing core exercises over traditional floor-based exercises:
- Injury Prevention: As mentioned previously, many seniors struggle with getting up and down from the floor. Standing core exercises can reduce the risk of accidental injuries and can also help with daily injury prevention in other areas of life.
- Improved Balance and Stability: Standing core exercises engage multiple muscle groups that contribute to balance and stability, giving them a lot of potential for improving overall functional movement.
- Variety: With standing core exercises, a wide variety of movements and exercises can be performed. Variety can allow for a more diverse workout routine and help prevent boredom or burnout.
- Less Strain on Joints: Some floor-based core exercises, such as crunches and sit-ups, can put strain on the neck, back, and hips. Standing core exercises utilize different muscle groups and can reduce the risk of strain on these areas.
- Convenience: Standing core exercises can often be done anywhere with simple equipment or none at all. This can make it easier for seniors to add these activities to their daily routine and maintain a consistent exercise schedule.
A Stronger & Healthier You
There is no time like the present to exercise. Adding standing core exercises to your fitness routine can help improve balance, stability, and overall strength. They can also help reduce the risk of falls and improve your posture.
It is important to consult a doctor or physical therapist before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have pre-existing conditions or injuries. They can help customize a plan that is safe and effective for your individual needs.
At Luna Senior Living, we’re committed to providing a wide range of activities and support for your well-being. Book a tour now and come see the services and experiences we offer.