In this post I’m going to talk about the importance of core exercises for Seniors and exactly how to do them.
The core exercises in this article have been tested by over 1000 Seniors during our free live online workouts we do with Fitaneers.
In this post you’ll learn:
- Part 1 - Why core exercises are so important for Seniors
- Part 2 - The simple trick to engage your core muscles
- Part 3 - Five highly effective core exercises you can do without equipment (downloadable PDF included).
Why core strength is important
Cambridge dictionary defines the word “core” as the most basic and important part of something.
This is a great definition of how important core exercises are for Seniors. It’s a common misconception that core exercises are only for looking good - you might be surprised but having a strong core helps:
- Reduce the risk of falling
- Increase full-body strength
- Improves balance, coordination and mobility
Essentially it’s one of the keys to maintaining independence in performing activities in daily life.
The simple trick to engage your core muscles
If you have looked at other resources about core exercises and attempted to engage your core but have been left confused about whether you’re “doing it right” don’t worry - a lot of people feel that way.
It’s a lot easier than you think and I’m going to show you how.
I use a simple analogy in my live online Seniors workouts (you can join for free) to help activate their core muscles - it takes about 10 seconds to learn.
You can easily try this one at home now.
Stand up and pretend I’m standing next to you. Now imagine I have my hands on your shoulders and I gently trying to push you.
What would your reaction be? (Apart from telling me nicely to stop).
You would brace all of your muscles, you would make your body stiff to resist me pushing you.
That braced feeling is your core muscles being engaged - it’s that simple.
This isn’t something you should only do while exercising - you should brace your core muscles:
- While walking
- Taking stairs
- Moving objects in your house
- Picking things off the floor
It makes you stronger, decreases the chance of injury and reduces your risk of falling.
Five highly effective core exercises for Seniors
Want this as a PDF? Click here to download for free
1. Knee to chest
Stand an arm’s length away from a chair or wall - this will be your support during the exercise.
While holding onto the support, take the knee (leg closest to chair) and lift it towards your chest. Go to the point of a stretch - at this point squeeze your core and the supporting leg (it will be burning). Then slowly lower the leg back to the ground. Repeat.
👉 Recommendation: x2 sets of x5-8 repetitions (each leg)
2. Chair squats
Start sitting on the chair, feet shoulder-width apart. Your hands can be on the chair or out in front of your body.
Before you commence the movement brace your core - maintain this throughout the movement.
Lean forward slightly then, use your legs to push yourself up. The movement finishes in a tall standing position - at the top continue to focus on activating your core, legs and glutes (bum muscles).
Complete the downward part of the movement by pushing your hips back towards the chair, take 2 seconds to lower yourself back to the chair. Lightly touch the chair before starting the movement again.
Side note: This exercise is part of the 10min exercise routine that Seniors should be doing every day - Click here to see it.
👉 Recommendation: x2 sets of x5-10 repetitions
3. Heel raises
Start standing an arms-length from a chair or wall, feet shoulder-width apart.
Push all of your weight onto your toes - your goal is to make your heels come off the ground as much as possible. Once you get as high as possible pause for 1 second before lowering yourself back to the ground. On the last repetition pause at the top for 5 seconds.
Try to complete the movement with the least amount of support as possible.
👉 Recommendation: x2 sets of x10-15 repetitions
4. Bird Dog
Start on the floor, on all fours.
Shoulders over your hands, and hips over knees - you may want a towel for your knees.
Beginners option - Extend one leg as far as you can while keeping your trunk still, pause for 1 second before returning to the start position. Now do the same thing with the opposite arm.
Advanced option - Extend leg and opposite arm simultaneously, pause for 1 second before returning to the start position. Now alternate sides.
Remember to brace your core muscles before you start.
👉 Recommendation: x2 sets of x45-60 seconds
Lie on your back with knees bent and heels on the floor. Your feet should be half a shoe length from your bum.
The goal of the movement is to push your heels into the floor and drive your hips towards the ceiling - at the top of the movement pause for 2 seconds and emphasize the muscle contraction of your core and glutes.
To get the best results from this movement push your knees outwards at the top of the movement.
👉 Recommendation: x2 sets of x10-15 repetitions
To get the best results you should do these exercises x3 per week - If you’re feeling ambitious you can do these exercises every day.
Summary and conclusion
I hope you enjoyed this article and start to implement the exercises into your daily routine.
As I mentioned core exercises are one of the keys to maintaining independence in performing activities in daily life.
Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:
- What was your #1 takeaway from this article?
- Or maybe you have a question about something you read.
Either way - I’d like to hear from you, so click here to email me directly