Stomach Exercises for Seniors

Your core muscle exercises, also referred to as, stomach exercises, are the deep muscles of your abdomen and low back. Their purpose is to support and protect your back and also assist the movement of your arms and legs when moving.

Core exercises are central to your overall ability to maintain good posture, bend and lift things during the day, and tolerate standing and working depending your occupational area. Whether standing or sitting, strong core muscles will make everything easier.

  1. Alternating Arm and Knee
  2. Sit Backs
  3. Knee Planks
Watch my instructional video

The standing or sitting arm and knee alternating core exercise is a good one for those that don’t like to get on the floor for a core workout. With this exercise, it is important to maintain a tight core and belly button against spine, to really make this exercise effective. The sit back is a standard favorite in physical therapy. It is easy enough for seniors that have never exercised, but also can be challenging for others by placing more weight in your hands. The plank is a basic core exercise also. It is important to maintain your plank posture throughout the exercise in order to strengthen the correct muscles, which are the core muscles.

Exercise 1

Alternating Arm and Knee. Begin standing or sitting with your ribs lifted. Bring your hands up to or behind your head with elbows raised out to side. Alternate bringing your elbow to knee and knee to elbow. During this movement, keep a tight core, belly button to spine for every lift. Repeat cycle for 1 minute.

Exercise 2

Sit Backs. Begin sitting on the front edge of your chair. Place your arms across your chest, or hold on to the chair. Bring your torso back toward the back rest of the chair. When your back is close but not touching the back of the chair, pause and return. Repeat 10 times. Maintain a tight core throughout with belly button against spine. Keep breathing through movement.

Exercise 3

Knee/Chair Planks. Begin either on your hands and knees, or facing the seat of your chair with your hands on either side of the seat. From your knees or feet, lift your torso in line with your legs. Weight should be on your elbows and knees. Keep back as straight as possible. Do not let your hips drop or rise. Maintain a tight core, belly button to spine, breathe throughout the exercise. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Think about keeping good form during your hold.

Maintaining a proper core position is important with all these stomach exercises. While performing the exercise, think of your core as a tight group of muscles. Think of your belly button moving backward toward your spine. I like to say “pin” your belly button to yours spine, which makes it more long term during your exercises. Another good tip is to hiss like a snake. Say the letter “s” ssssssssss. This will naturally tighten your core magically.

Strengthening your core with stomach exercises will help to reduce your back pain. Our abdominals are very important in stabilizing our back. Weak abdominal muscles can contribute to your low back pain due to making an unbalanced relationship with your back muscles.

These muscles are responsible for stabilizing our spine from the pelvis to the neck and shoulders. This helps our arms and legs move about easily during the day, by transferring the stabilizing power from the center of our core to the extremities.

Stomach exercises are vital to maintain a pain free spine, good posture, and ease of movement during all your daily activities. And the best part is that all these exercises require no equipment other than an armless chair from your kitchen. These exercises will offer all levels of seniors, more strength, and confidence to go about their day.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like to see other exercises or senior fitness content. You can leave your comments and suggestions on my About Page. Need personal help? Check out my new Academy. Exercise is really your magic pill to feel better and live longer. Remember to stay active, stay strong, and stay connected!

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Doug Schrift

Doug Schrift is a Physical Therapist, Certified Geriatric Specialist, and senior fitness coach. Doug helps seniors become strong and stable even if they have never exercised before.