While you might not be able to do as many sit-ups as once you did in your 20s, maintaining core strength is important especially as we get older. Some top reasons to strengthen your core include improving overall balance and stability, improving body strength and posture, reducing the risk of injury, and to make daily tasks easier.
If you want to take charge of your physical health and start working on building a stronger core today then give these core exercises for seniors a try! Just remember to speak to your doctor before starting a new workout regimen.
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The superman exercise not only increases your core strength but it is also good for your upper and lower back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings. Strengthening these muscles is essential for walking, sitting, standing as well as many other daily activities. This exercise is performed on the floor so make sure you grab a cushioned mat before starting!
Begin by lying down on the floor, face down, and stretch your arms out in front of you. Next, lift your head, right arm, and left leg all at the same time — try to bring your arm and leg about two inches off the floor. Hold for a few seconds then slowly drop back down. Repeat the exercise with the opposite side and try to repeat for 10 repetitions.
A quick tip: If this exercise feels too easy you can try lifting both arms and legs at the same time.
A basic bridge exercise is great for strengthening your glutes and hamstrings. But that’s not all, if done correctly they can also increase core stability too by targeting your abdominal muscles as well as your lower back, and hip muscles.
This is another exercise that is performed on the floor so make sure you grab a cushioned mat before starting! First, lie flat on your back and keep your knees bent and feet flat against the floor. Next, raise your hips until you form a straight line from your knees to your chest. Make sure you tighten your core and don’t arch your back during this movement. Hold the position for a few breaths and then slowly lower back down to the starting position. Try to repeat for 10 reps.
The bird dog is a great core exercise that can help improve stability, relieve lower back pain, and can encourage a neutral spine. Not only does it help strengthen your core but also your back and hip muscles too. If done correctly, it can also encourage proper posture and increase your range of motion.
Grab a cushioned mat and get down on the floor on all fours, keeping your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, under your hips. Next, engage your core muscles and make sure your spine is straight.
Then as you exhale, raise your left arm (keep your hand facing inward) and right leg at the same time. Make sure you keep your face looking down to the floor to avoid straining your neck. Finally, as you inhale steadily lower your arm and leg to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg and then alternate for 10 reps on each side.
Seated Side Bends
Seated side bends are a simple exercise that targets your obliques muscles that run up the sides of your core. Strengthening these muscles is important in preventing back and shoulder pain and stabilizing your core as well as spinal support. It also helps make daily tasks like overhead reaching easier.
To start this exercise, sit up tall in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Next, place your hands behind your ears with your elbows out wide. Then lean over to one side but make sure you’re not leaning forward. Hold the position for a couple of seconds then return to the starting position. Repeat the movement on the other side and try to repeat for six to 10 reps per side.
Sit to Stand Wood Chop
The sit to stand wood chop exercise is a great exercise that will help improve your range of motion, endurance, and coordination. It targets your obliques, quadriceps, glutes, and shoulders.
To begin, sit up tall in a chair with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Next, engage your core and using both hands hold a weighted object down by your left side, keeping your arms fully extended.
As you exhale, twist your obliques while standing, and then swing the weighted object up until it’s just past your right shoulder. Make sure you keep your arms straight as you stretch them up. Hold the position for a moment and then steadily swing the weighted object back down as you sit down in the chair. This creates a “wood chopping” motion. Try to repeat for 10 reps and then repeat on the other side.
A quick tip: If using a weighted object is too difficult, you can try the same movement without a weight. Further, if you find that the sit to stand motion is too difficult too you can try the exercises seated as well.
Grab a cushioned mat and lie on your back with one knee straight and one knee bent. With the straight leg, make sure your toes are pointing towards the ceiling. Next, raise the straightened leg to the level of your bent knee. Hold for a breath and then lower to the starting position. Try to repeat for 10 reps and then repeat with the other leg.
X-ups are another great core exercise that helps strengthen your obliques. You’ll need to perform this exercise lying down whether that’s on a cushioned mat or in your bed — your choice!
Press your lower back into the ground (or mattress) and engage your core. Take your heels off the floor and bend the knees bringing them toward your head while keeping your arms above your head. Next, bring your right arm to your left knee and then return to the starting position. Now, alternate with the other side and try to repeat for 10 reps per side.
Check out the video below starting at 11:21 for a tutorial on how to perform this exercise.
Seated Knee Lifts
Knee lifts are a great exercise that can help strengthen your abs, hips, and back. This movement also promotes better posture, improved balance and coordination, and may even help reduce low back pain.
Begin the exercise by sitting up tall in a chair toward the end of the seat. Engage your core and lift one knee about 4-inches off the floor. Try to hold this position for about 5-seconds and then lower back to the starting position. Next, repeat with the other leg and then continue alternating for up to 10 reps per leg.
A quick tip: If this exercise feels too easy you can try it in a standing position.
Planking is a great exercise that strengthens your abs because it engages all the muscles in your core. That said, beginners should start with the modified version, a kneeling plank.
Start this exercise with your feet, knees, hands, and elbows on the floor. Next, lift your pelvis while squeezing your glutes and abs. With your arms, elbows, and knees on the ground, hold this position for 30-seconds before returning to the starting position.
You must keep a straight line when performing this exercise. If you notice that your hips are sagging it’s time to take a break. Finally, try to complete three sets with 1-minute rests in between.
Seated Bicycle Crunches
The bicycle crunch is an effective exercise you can do at home. It targets your upper, inner, and outer abdominal muscles. Traditional bicycle crunches are performed on the floor but this modified version can be performed while seated.
Grab a chair and sit up tall with your feet flat on the floor. Next, place your hands behind your ears and twist your core, bringing one elbow across the body. Then return to the starting position and repeat with the other side. Keep alternating for about 10 reps per side.
Check out the video below for a tutorial on this exercise as well as modifications on how to make this exercise more difficult.