"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Best Core Exercises for Older Adults

Strengthening your core will restore your balance and stability.

After a protracted winter with numerous isolation and maybe little or no physical activity, it might be time to present your core muscles more attention.

These muscles, situated throughout most of your trunk, are key to supporting your lower back and helping you stand, get out of a chair, bend, lift, and maintain your balance. So regular maintenance and tune-up of the core muscles is essential.

What muscles make up the core?

Typically, the core starts on the lower rib cage and extends to the hips.

The core abdominal muscles include the rectus abdominis anterior longus muscle. external and internal diagonals of the edges; and a broad, flat girdle in front called the transversus abdominis.

A bunch of muscles in your back called the erector spinae helps you stand tall. The gluteal muscles within the hips provide help to extend your leg, push off from a starting position, walk, and climb stairs.

And within the pelvic area, the iliacus and psoas muscles enable you to lift your legs and stay stable while standing. And the quadratus lumborum, a protracted muscle on both sides, helps you bend to the side and back.

Worst core exercises.

In the old days, sit-ups and crunches were the go-to moves to maintain your core muscles in good condition. But those exercises aren't as effective as we once believed. They only strengthen a number of muscles, they usually pose a risk to older adults.

“They're dangerous because you're stretching your neck,” Boehm says. “And they don't train your core. They train the hip flexor muscles. If those muscles get too strong, they pull on the lower back and contribute to back pain.”

The best core exercises.

A a lot better approach to strengthen your core is to work several core muscle groups concurrently, just as you’d naturally should you were lifting or climbing. For older adults, Boehm recommends three exercises specifically:

Bridge. “Anyone can do the bridge. You start in a lying position on your back and then lift your hips off the ground and hold them,” says Boehm. “It's effective because you create tightness from the rib cage to the pelvis and from the belly button to the back. The whole area tightens, and it contracts all the muscle groups like a corset.”

The planks “Planks contract the core, arm, and shoulder muscles when you're in a push-up position. The key is to stay as stiff as a plank,” Boehm says.

Raise the alternative arm and leg. This exercise gets you in your hands and knees. “As you extend the opposite arm and leg, you're contracting your core and the muscles in the other arm and leg as they support you,” Boehm points out. “Movements should be slow and controlled; don't throw your arm and leg out as fast as you can.”



Lie in your back along with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Keep your arms at your sides. Tighten your hips, then lift your hips off the ground until they form a straight line along with your hips and shoulders. Hold and return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Raise the alternative arm and leg.


Kneel on all fours, keeping your head and spine neutral. Extend your left leg off the ground behind you while reaching out in front of you along with your right arm. Keeping your hips and shoulders square, attempt to bring that leg and arm parallel to the ground. Hold, then return to starting position. Repeat the exercise along with your right leg and left arm. Repeat the exercise 10 times on each side.

Modified plaque.


Start in your hands and knees. Tighten your abdominal muscles and lower your upper body onto your arms, keeping your shoulders directly aligned over your elbows and your feet within the air behind you. Keep your back straight, making your body as “plank” as possible. Hold the position and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Exercise photos by Thomas MacDonald

getting began

If you haven't worked in your core shortly, Boehm recommends starting slowly, specializing in the standard of the exercise and step by step increasing the variety of times you possibly can do it.

Unlike some muscle groups that ought to only be worked every other day, core muscles could be strengthened each day. “The core should always work. It doesn't need a lot of maintenance,” Boehm says.

Remember to warm up before strengthening. March in place for a number of minutes and swing your arms around to get the blood flowing.

After strengthening, stretch your muscles, especially the hip flexors within the front of your back and the hamstrings at the back of your thighs.

“We want the core muscles to be short and tight,” says Boehme, “the tightness will give it stability. But we want the surrounding muscles to be flexible.”

Photo: © Nastasik/Getty Images