Core exercises are not just abdominal exercises. Your “core” is also related to your back muscles and obliques, too.
In this article, I’ll share a few great core exercises with you to add to your daily routine, and I’ll answer a few common questions that people ask me about core exercises. If you’re also looking for back-strengthening exercises you can check out the article I’ve linked to in this sentence.
Core Exercises For Older Adults (seniors)
I’ve only included three exercises because I believe that less is more. If you want to try out various different core exercises (abdominal + back), there is a plethora of exercises on the interwebz for you.
Hold this for between 10 seconds to one minute, depending on your ability level. You can also do this modified version where you are holding it while on your knees. This is a good place to start if you have any shoulder issues or some back pain that increases with regular planks.
This one involves you lying on your back and just holding the crunch position. Very similar to the plank except you are facing the opposite direction looking up towards the ceiling versus down towards the floor.
This is one of the more common core exercises that’s in a grouping known as the “Big 3” which I will discuss a bit later. I recommend performing three sets of ten of this and holding each rep for about one to two seconds each time.
Will core exercises help improve your lower back pain?
Core exercises can help improve lower back pain, but they can also make it worse.
It’s important to test out different forms of movements and exercises to see which ones work best for you.
There is not a one size fits all approach for this, unfortunately. I wish there was!
Can core exercises prevent lower back pain?
No, core exercises don’t prevent lower back pain. If you think that just strengthening the crap out of your core is going to prevent you from ever having back pain you’ll likely be disappointed.
While it’s true that people who are more physically active generally have less disability related to back pain, this does not mean that just by strengthening the core you will never have back pain.
Is it possible to have a weak core? What does this mean?
Unless you’ve had a severe spinal cord injury and have partial or complete paralysis, your core is likely plenty strong to support you.
The only thing that I will note is that by routinely working the muscles of the core (abs and back muscles) you are teaching your muscles to work at a higher capacity and theoretically increasing their work capacity.
In this way, I think that strength training and general physical fitness help protect us against external stressors that may otherwise have produced symptoms. Again, this is my opinion based on working with clients, I don’t have specific data to back that up.
Is a weak core the cause of low back pain?
No, a weak core is not the cause of low back pain.
I know bodybuilders with six-packs who have back pain and gymnasts who have incredibly strong cores who have back pain. So, this logic could not follow that a weak core causes low back pain, because by that logic a strong core would also cause back pain.
So… maybe the answer is it’s not a strength thing so much as it is a physical activity and dosage thing.
Why should anyone even do core exercises? Is it even necessary?
It’s not necessary to do core exercises, however, if you find that you feel better when you do them, you should continue.
Some people will benefit from core exercises to reduce low back pain (as I mentioned earlier), and some will not. Depends on your unique situation.
What are the big three core exercises?
Bird dog, modified curl-up, and side planks are the Big 3 as made popular by Dr. Stuart McGill.
There is nothing special about these exercises other than they get you moving in different ways that you’re likely not used to.
If you implement physical activity over the course of one year or longer, you will see progress with basically anything that you do.
Just food for thought when you’re debating what to do. It’s just a good thing to get started in the meantime.
Does walking strengthen your core muscles?
No, walking does not strengthen your core muscles. Unless the walking is very intense and you’re carrying a pack there is a low likelihood that this is significantly impacting the strength of your abs and back muscles. It may be increasing endurance but that’s a different discussion.
As we talked about above, it’s unlikely that strengthening the core is that important to begin with so I wouldn’t worry about it with walking.
Walking is good for building bone density in the legs as well as improving cardiovascular health.
Do Core Exercises Burn Belly Fat For Older Adults (seniors)?
No, core exercises do not burn belly fat.
This is a common myth that has been perpetuated for decades.
It’s not possible to do an exercise and then lose fat in the specific muscle group or body area that you are working.
People want to believe this is true, but unfortunately, it’s not. If I were you, I’d rather live my life-based in reality than based on things that don’t work!
The good news is that if you’re physically active, work out regularly, eat enough protein, and stay consistent over the course of 6+ months, you will see results (more muscle, less fat). It really just depends on consistency.
I hope this was helpful. As always please leave a comment below if you have any questions!