7 Core Exercises for Seniors to Improve Strength and Balance
Exercise can work wonders for mental health. Active seniors are less likely to suffer from depression as they age.
The best workout plans for seniors help improve physical resilience to reduce slip and falls. Check out these 7 core exercises for seniors that are sure to improve your overall strength and balance.
1. Chair Squats
Improve strength in your lower body by doing chair squats. Chair squats require no equipment and can be done from anywhere.
To begin, stand in front of a chair with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your back straight and shoulders back, lower your body down slowly until you are seated in the chair.
Use your hamstrings to push your body back up slowly into a standing position again. Repeat for three reps of 10.
This is a great way to practice your balance while building your hamstring muscles. If you feel discomfort during this exercise, you might need to lower the number of reps you do until your body builds up strength.
2. Tightrope Walk
A simple way to improve your balance is through the tightrope walk exercise. This exercise requires a hallway to complete.
Stand at one end of the hallway with your hand gently rested against the wall. Walk forward slowly moving your feet one in front of the other as if you were walking on a tightrope.
Using an actual rope works well for this exercise so you can focus on your balance instead of your feet. The goal is to look directly ahead and not down.
As your balance improves, you’ll no longer need to use the wall as a guide keeping you in line. Advance this exercise by walking further along the ‘tightrope’ by finding a longer hallway or walkway than you started with.
3. Wall Pushups
Getting up and down from the floor when doing traditional pushups is an unnecessary strain for seniors. Core exercises for seniors should be easy to transition into and out of to avoid injury.
Wall pushups increase your core strength along with your chest and arms. To do a proper wall pushup, stand in front of a wall about 1 to 2 feet away.
The farther you stand from the wall, the more challenging the pushup will be. Place both hands against the wall directly in front of your shoulders.
Keeping your feet firmly planted and your body straight, bend your elbows into a ‘pushup’ against the wall.
Lower yourself as close as you can without making your arms wobble. As you continue this exercise over time, you’ll gain the strength to lean closer and closer to the wall.
4. Single Foot Stand
The single foot stand is an easy exercise to try anywhere. It’s best when combined with a short walk or cycling to improve your balance.
To do this exercise, choose a sturdy chair that won’t move when you lean on it. Hold the back of the chair while you lift up one foot and balance on the other.
Hold the position for 60 seconds then carefully lower your leg back to the ground. Switch feet and repeat these steps on the opposite foot.
The goal is to repeat this exercise daily until you no longer need the chair to hold you up.
5. Seated Bicycle Crunches
Lying and seated bicycle crunches are both great core exercises for seniors. Seated bicycle crunches are better because they don’t require you to get up and down from the floor.
Use a firm chair with armrests for your bicycle crunches. Start by sitting on the chair with your feet firmly planted on the floor.
Place both hands behind your head with your elbows pointed out. Lift one knee toward the opposite elbow as you twist your body around toward your knee.
Your opposite elbow and knee won’t touch right away. As your core strength and flexibility improves, the knee and elbow will get closer.
Repeat the elbow knee ‘touch’ on the opposite side cycling your legs between each transition.
6. Seated Leg Lifts
Work your lower abs with seated leg lifts. Start with two reps of 15 to 20 if you are a beginner.
To do this exercise, find a comfortable chair that supports your posture. Begin by sitting up with your back straight and feet firmly planted on the floor.
Contract the core muscles in your abs as you lift one leg at a time. For a challenge, lift your legs together without leaning on the chair for support.
You can modify this exercise by straightening out each leg in front of you and raising it halfway. This modification still works your ab muscles but provides more intensity when you lift both legs at the same time.
7. Side Leg Raise
The standing side leg raise is one of the core exercises for seniors that also improves your balance. Depending on how well you balance, use a chair for support during this exercise.
If you plan to use a chair, stand behind the chair with your feet hip-width apart. Lift one leg slowly up to your side keeping your back straight.
Lower the leg back down in a slow, controlled movement. Look ahead during each leg raise pointing both toes forward.
Repeat for 10 reps before switching to the opposite leg. Increase the height of your leg raise to make the workout more challenging.
The Best Core Exercises for Seniors
The best core exercises for seniors are those that don’t require fancy gym equipment. These are exercises that anyone can roll out of bed and do without the need to stretch first or change clothes.
Start with a mix of balance and strength training each morning to increase your endurance and improve your mood throughout the day. For more fitness information and tips, check our blog for updates.