Our core muscles help us maintain balance and stability. When we suddenly trip or someone pushes us, our core muscles help us hold our ground.The expression bracing yourself against a fall refers to the activation of these muscles, which counteract the momentum created by an external application of force and/or the pull of gravity. The core muscles criss-cross the torso and traverse the arms, sides, and back, as well as the buttocks and legs. These muscles are activated when pulling, pushing, and lifting objects.
Strong core muscles can help prevent lower back pain and improve our posture. Better posture opens up the diaphragm, making it easier to breathe; and eliminating back pain is its own reward! As we age, these muscles experience the same wear and tear as the rest of the body. Here are some exercises to strengthen core muscles in the elderly.
Lie flat on your stomach, on a mat or on your bed, with your arms by your side. Inhale deeply, and as you do so, tighten your pelvic and lower abdominal muscles, and stretch your arms out in front of you, as if you're Superman. Count to two as you hold this pose, and then slowly lower your body to the ground and your hands to your side. Repeat at least 5 times. This exercise will strengthen your pelvic and lower back muscles, and buttocks.
The Leaning Tower of Your Torso!
Sit on a chair, with your feet flat on the ground, or on the floor (if you're able to.) Raise your right hand and stretch it over your head and to the left, slowly bending your torso in the same direction. Make sure your right butt cheek is planted firmly on the chair's surface. You will feel a subtle stretch as you execute this move. Hold this position for 2 to 3 beats and return to your original position.
You Put Your Right Leg In
Stand next to the backrest, and place your hand on it. Slowly raise your right leg, while pointing your foot to the ground. Hold for a few seconds and relax. Repeat with the other leg. Over time, try and use the chair's backrest less and less, till you're able to do this exercise on your own without support. The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen your core abdominal and back muscles.
Embrace the 'core value' of core exercises. Your back will thank you for it!