Core Strengthening Exercises for Seniors

Yoga strengthens core muscles and contributes to balance and flexibility.
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A strong, defined core provides more than just a poolside fashion accessory. Strengthening the 29 muscles of your core -- comprised of your stomach, back, hips and pelvis -- improves all functional movement, increases balance and stability, recovers posture and reduces the risk of falling. Without a strong core, other muscles pick up the slack to accomplish everyday movements, which contributes to injuries and reduces overall functionality. Especially for seniors, core exercises should strengthen muscles, develop coordination and improve balance.


The bridge utilizes isometric contraction to develop strength in your buttocks, lower back and abdominals and improve balance. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Breath steadily while you contract your core and raise your hips until they form a straight line between your knees and your chest. Do not arch your back. Hold for a count of three before returning to the starting position. Repeat five times.


The Superman exercise strengthens your lower back and improves coordination. Lying on your stomach with your arms outstretched in front of you, raise your head, neck and your right arm and left leg about 2 inches off the floor. Lower and repeat on the opposite side. Keep your belly button drawn in toward your spine during the movement and remove any strain from your neck. If the exercise is too difficult initially, lift only one arm or one leg per repetition. Repeat five times on each side.

Leg Lifts

Leg lifts target the fibers of your lower abdominal muscles and your pelvis. Lie flat on your back with legs flat and feet relaxed. Contract your abdominal muscles while raising one leg about 5 inches off the floor. Hold the position for a count of three. Lower and repeat with the other leg. Repeat five times on each side.

Side Bends

Your oblique muscles run along the outside of your trunk and assist in rotation and side bending. Strengthen them by performing side bends while seated. Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place one hand behind your head and the other arm outstretched to one side. Lean over to the side as if reaching toward the floor. Contract your obliques and return to the starting position. Do not allow your chest to fall forward and try to keep both feet flat on the floor. Repeat five times on each side.


The bicycle provides a more challenging exercise to activate your core muscles and improve coordination. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head as if performing a crunch. Bend your knees and lift your feet, so your calves are parallel with the floor. Drawing in your belly button and exhaling, bring one knee into your chest while reaching toward it with the opposite elbow. Switch to the opposite side. Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for one minute, then perform another 30-second set.

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