The advantages of exercise throughout life and at any age are often praised. But, the question every senior ask is whether it is safe for him or her to exercise if he or she is older than 65 years? Are there core exercises for seniors? Definitely. It’s a fact that all seniors can benefit from adding exercise to their daily routine according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (¹).
As you age, your body takes a longer time to repair any damaged tissues. The great solution for this is a frequent activity, which is absolutely fantastic for all people at any age no matter what is their physical level. Moreover, the advantages of your senior parents exercising frequently greatly outweigh any risks.
Even if you think that having a chronic condition can be an obstacle, it’s not. When you exercise as a senior, you’re doing your body a huge favor and improving any condition you have such as; diabetes (If you are a diabetic, I recommend you read more about diabetes diet to easily control your blood sugar level), obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, dementia & colon cancer.
Today, we are going to cover the following questions:
- Why should I exercise as a senior?
- What type of exercise can I do?
- Why should I add core exercises to my daily routine?
- What are some core exercises for seniors?
Now, let’s get you active and motivated for this!
Why Should I Exercise As A Senior?
General exercise for seniors promotes the following:
- Cardio-Respiratory and Cardiovascular Function.
- Gastrointestinal Function
- Bone Density and Risk of Osteoporosis
- Immune Function
- Chronic Conditions and Cancer.
1. Cardio-Respiratory and Cardiovascular Function:
When seniors do regular physical activity, it reduces the risk of any heart disease and having a high blood pressure over time. If a senior already have hypertension, then exercise will definitely help lower their blood pressure effectively.
2. Gastrointestinal Function:
Consistent exercise helps seniors boost their metabolism, promotes the effective removal of any waste in their bodies, and encourages their digestive health.
3. Bone Density and Risk of Osteoporosis:
Exercise protects seniors from any loss in bone mass. In other words, exercising makes your bone density better and, in return; this will reduce the risk of suffering from osteoporosis, prevent broken bones and reduce the risk of falling.
Post-menopausal seniors can lose as much as 2% of bone mass every year. But, that doesn’t mean that men won’t lose bone mass as they age, in fact, men seniors will also lose bone density but as much as women.
A study done at Tufts University reveals that strength training (including core exercises or seniors) can amazingly reduce bone density loss, help repair bones, and add to better overall balance and fewer bone fractures.
4. Immune Function:
When a senior is healthy and has a strong body, his or her body can fight off infection and illness more efficiently and faster. Rather than draining your energy stores completely, recovery from any illness will take your body less time and energy if you exercise regularly as a senior.
5. Chronic Conditions and Cancer:
Physical activity and regular exercise as a senior lower risk of severe conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and colon cancer, to mention a few. It also assists in the control of high cholesterol in your blood and any arthritis pain.
Now, that you know why exercising is important for seniors, it’s time to know what types of exercises can you do.
What Type Of Exercise Can I Do?
There’s no losing hope if you’re a senior and you want to have that strong, disease-fighting body. There are many exercises that you can do, no matter what is the disease you have. They are all safe and you can always refer to your doctor to make sure that these exercises are safe for seniors and your condition or not.
The perfect senior exercise regimen is made up of three main things:
- Stretching and Flexibility Exercises
- Strength Training
- Aerobic and Endurance Exercises
Why do you need all three components in your exercise as a senior? Here are the details.
1. Stretching and Flexibility Exercises:
The first thing to know is that Stretching is important to any exercise regimen and for seniors. This helps your muscles warm up and cool down slowly, safely. Moreover, as a senior, it improves and maintains your flexibility, prevents any post-workout injuries, and reduces muscle stiffness and soreness.
2. Strenght Training:
The second thing you need to know is that strength training (like core exercises) uses and builds your muscles with repeated motion exercises. As a senior, you can do strength exercises such as training with some lightweights, Nautilus machines, resistance bands, or using the wall, the furniture, and the floor for resistance.
3. Aerobic and Endurance Exercises:
The ultimate amount of exercise you should get as a senior and that physicians recommend is 30 minutes of cardiorespiratory endurance exercise every day.
In simpler words, your senior mom or dad needs to increase their heart rates and breathe a little bit faster by walking, cycling, jogging or swimming. All these exercises are perfect for seniors.
But why should seniors consider adding core exercises in their daily routine?
Reasons To Add Core Exercises For Seniors:
Adding core-strengthening exercises to your workout routine is important for seniors. Here are simply the main advantages of core exercises for seniors:
- Performing daily tasks easier.
- Keeping you well-balanced and stable.
- Injury prevention.
- Controlling and reducing pain.
- Promoting body strength.
Finally, here are some core exercises you can do as a senior.
Best Core Exercises For Seniors:
The greatest part about these core exercises for seniors is that you don’t even require to join a fancy gym to do them every day! You just need an exercise mat, a chair or a carpeted floor for good support. There is no expensive equipment is needed to strengthen your core at home, it is really this simple and inexpensive.
Here are merely a few of some of the best core strengthening exercises I found to be safe for seniors and can be efficiently completed from the convenience of your own home:
- The bridge.
- Leg lifts.
- The superman.
- Seated side bends.
1. The Bridge:
It’s simple, all you need to do is lie flat on your back on a carpeted floor or mat, keep your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Tighten your core (pull your belly button in towards your spine), raise your hips until your form a straight line between your chest and knees (Note: do not arch your back). Hold for 3 breaths (3 seconds), then lower back down flat on the floor.
2. Leg Lifts:
This is a good exercise for your lower abs muscles and easy for seniors. So, you can do it by lying flat on the floor with your legs and relax your feet. Pull your belly button toward your spine as you raise one leg nearly 5 inches off the ground. Now, be strong and hold your leg up for 3 counts. Then, you can repeat leg lifts with your other leg following the same steps.
3. The Superman:
When seniors do the Superman exercise, it promotes stability and strengthens your lower back. You can simply lie on the floor or mat with your face down and your arms outstretched in front of your head (like superman when he flies).
Then, raise your right arm, your head, and left leg altogether only two inches off the floor. Now, you need to lower your head, arm, and leg, and repeat on the opposite side.
4. Seated side bends:
This is one of my favorite exercises for seniors and you can do it by sitting in a chair and putting your feet flat on the floor. Then, keep one of your hands behind your head while the other is reaching towards the floor (you can bend over as far as you feel comfortable). Bend over to your side as if you’re going to touch the ground.
This exercise will tighten the oblique muscles as a senior ( these are muscles found along the side of your body). Next, you should get back to your original position and repeat on your opposite side.
Moreover, adding some yoga to your daily exercises can greatly improve your overall core strength as seniors. Whenever you ask about studios or gyms for seniors, you’ll always find that yoga is included in senior classes. You can easily modify any yoga move to fir your physical level.
This is a basic guide for core exercises for seniors. We’ve discussed the amazing importance of exercising and what exercises to include in your daily routine safely.
To sum up, core exercises for seniors is of crucial importance to keep your body strong to face any conditions you have or the risks of having any illness. As you age, you need to take more care of your body, so do some exercises to lead a happy healthy life as a senior.