As people age, they’re more at risk for falls. Sadly, about 30 percent of seniors, over age 65, fall at least once each year, making falls a major health concern. Fortunately, the odds of falling can be significantly improved by strengthening the area of the body known as the core. Here's How Reduce Chances of Falling by Improving Core Strength.
The core, which consists of about 29 muscles, is the midsection of the human body. In other words, it’s includes almost all of the body, except the arms and legs. This area is involved in just about every movement in the body. Here are some of the key advantages of a strong core and how you can improve core strength to reduce the risk of falls.
How Seniors Can Reduce Chances of Falling by Improving Core Strength
Benefits of a Strong Core for Seniors
Improving core strength is important for people of all ages, and it’s especially critical for senior citizens. For example, when the core muscles are strengthened, less pressure is placed on the bones, which are more at risk to fracture as people age. When you have a strong core, you can be more active and pain-free so that your quality of life improves.
One of the main benefits of a strong core is better balance, which helps in preventing falls. Consider how your core muscles are your body’s primary stabilizers. Therefore, if you have a weak core, your balance is likely to be poor, which puts you more at risk for falling. When seniors fall, it can be hard or even impossible for them to live a fulfilling, independent life. As a result, their activities are limited. When they have a strong core, they’re able to go up and down stairs. What’s more, they can pick up grandchildren without falling over.
Another important reason for seniors improving their core is for improved posture. In fact, poor posture is a major cause for people developing a condition known as Dowagner’s Hump. This problem, which entails curved shoulders that causes back pain and impaired mobility that can lead to falling, is the result of a weak core. But a strong core promotes straight shoulders, in addition to a taller spine.
A strong core can also help in preventing back pain, which often affects older people. Because aging creates wear and tear on the vertebrae, the bones rub together. This puts stress on surrounding muscles, creating back pain.
Core exercises can also improve breathing, which is a huge problem for some seniors. Because core muscles connect to the diaphragm, working these muscles can make it easier to fully inhale and exhale. Furthermore, when the body inhales more oxygen, the heart can pump more blood, which enhances overall body performance.
Ways to Strengthen the Core
There are several methods used for improving core strength. Bodyweight exercises, such as sit-ups, are probably the most common type of core exercises. These exercises do not require equipment and can be done at home or almost anywhere. Other bodyweight exercises include those, such as side bends and leg lifts.
Balance training exercises are ideal for strengthening the core as a strong core promotes good balance. They include standing on one foot, tiptoeing, walking heel-to-toe and others. Another effective balance exercise is using an exercise balance board.
Water exercises and swimming can strengthen not only the core, but they also improve the entire body. Consider how water cushions the joints and bones, keeping them safe, flexible and strong. Often, fitness centers and public pools offer classes in water aerobics designed for seniors.
Yoga is another excellent way to strength the core, while improving flexibility. Surprisingly, some people even in their nineties do yoga exercises regularly.
Tai chi, which belongs to the martial arts family, is effective in building the core and is easy on joints. This type of exercise is known for its rolling movements and offers stress-reduction and psychological benefits, besides physical ones. It’s not unusual to see Tai Chi offered at senior centers.
Considerations and Warnings
- Core exercises work on the deep, embedded transverse abdominal muscle (TVA). Besides strengthening the abs, they also flatten them, giving the body a better appearance.
- It’s best to begin doing short intervals of exercises and then build up to more extended workouts.
- It doesn’t take long to experience the benefits of core exercises.
- Most people notice straightaway how easier it is to walk up and down stairs as well as improve their balance so that they’re less at risk for falls.