Good core strength is key to good health and healthy aging. Whether you are riding a bike, carrying grocery bags, or simply standing straight, a strong core is what keeps your torso steady.
It’s also what holds up your spine, mobilizes your full body, and brings balance and stability.
If you are an older adult, strengthening your core is one of the best ways to maintain balance and prevent falls and injuries.
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Importance of your core strength
The core is located in the center of our body.
It’s made up of muscles in your abdomen, pelvis, back, and hips.
All movements whether it’s standing, twisting, or bending either originate or pass through the core.
In the golden years, having a strong core enables you in daily activities and allows independence.
The core also stabilizes the spine and spares it from excessive load. Without core strength, your body becomes prone to poor posture, backaches, and imbalances.
That’s why you need core strengthening exercises in your regular workout regimens.
If you are a senior looking to improve your core strength for better balance, posture, and movements, here are the 3 best core moves you need.
The Best Core Exercises Over 50
These exercises are beginner friendly and provide a good place to start building your core strength. Strengthening your core with these exercises will also lead to better balance and stability.
1. Bird Dog
This exercise is one of the best balance exercises that have you on your hands and knees.
As you extend your arm and the opposite leg, you are recruiting multiple muscles in your core and glutes to sustain the balance and support your body. It’s more demanding than it appears, yet gentle on the back and joints, making it a safer choice for seniors and beginners.
How to perform the bird dog:
- Start with your hands and knees on the floor with your hands shoulder-width apart and knees hip-width apart.
- Keeping your back neutral and abs engaged, lift your right arm until it’s at shoulder level. With control, lift your left leg a few inches off the ground at first.
- Use your core to do your best to balance on one knee and hand while bringing your left leg up until it’s in line with the right arm, shoulders, and hips.
- Hold this position for a few seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
2. Glute Bridge
The glute bridge effectively works your glutes, hips, hamstrings, and core. It’s an exercise anyone can do to start building a stronger core and a more stable lower body.
By pressing the glutes up, you engage your leg and glute muscles. Holding the neutral back and rigid posture on top preps your core to brace and hold. It’s a multi-purpose exercise that’s safe and effective for seniors.
How to perform the glute bridge:
- Lie down on your back on the floor with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your feet flat and position them about hip-width apart. Rest your hands at your sides.
- Contract your abs and lift your hips off the floor by pressing the pelvis up until your knees, glutes, and shoulders are in a straight line. Squeeze your glutes while pressing up and don’t over-extend your back.
- Hold your bridge position for 1-2 seconds before returning to the start position. Repeat 8-10 repetitions.
3. Knee Plank
Plank is a popular ab and core exercise that engages all the muscles from your arms and shoulders to your legs.
Yet, the standard plank may require basic strength to execute and hold the proper posture. A better place to start is this modified knee plank.
Instead of being on your toes, you’ll be on your knees with this knee plank, giving more support to your body and its alignment.
How to perform the knee plank:
- Place your forearms and knees on the floor and adjust so they are about shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your arms and position your elbows directly under your shoulders.
- Make sure to keep your body in alignment from your head to your knees.
- Contract your core and hold the posture for at least 15 -30 seconds, or as long as you can hold the correct form.