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Core Exercises for Seniors: Complete Guide to Ab Exercises for Seniors

By Maurice

Core Exercises for Seniors

As the body ages, things begin to change. Weight is easier to gain and muscles lose mass much faster than ever before. The body's care is where a lot of this activity takes place.

As the muscles lose strength and mass, fat begins to collect in the abdomen and around the vital organs. With more visceral fat around the organs, it can increase the pressure in the abdomen and actually hinder blood flow to the area. When the muscles begin to lose mass, they also begin to lose strength as well. Less strength means less support for the organs.

With the right core exercises, seniors can regain their strength and reduce the health risks associated with too much visceral fat in the abdomen.

Please click the button below to download a free PDF of the exercises in this article:

Keep in Mind:

Before starting any new exercise(s), we strongly recommend you follow the advice of the National Institute on Aging and consult your doctor.  

Why Are Core Exercises for Seniors Important?

Visceral and subcutaneous fats are both found in the abdomen. While subcutaneous fat is unsightly, it doesn't pose much of a health problem if it is kept to a minimum. Visceral fat, however, is a different problem. It collects around the organs, impeding blood flow and increasing pressure. With core exercises, you can start to eliminate the visceral fat deposits and increase the strength of your abdominal muscles. The more fat you lose and strength you can regain, the lower your risk of potential health problems like cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and many other health conditions that affect the digestive tract.

It can be much harder for seniors to lose weight. As we age, changes within the body, such as hormone changes, fluctuations in metabolism, and genetics all play a role in how your body holds weight. It is essential to eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and exercise on a regular basis. With the right core exercises, seniors can tone their abdominal muscles and begin to regain muscle mass as the body loses its visceral fat deposits. Even if you haven't exercised in a while, you can get back on track by starting out slowly and gradually building back up to a more rigorous exercise schedule.

Best Core Exercises for Seniors

As a senior, you need to find the right core exercises for your body type and level of activity. In order to find the best core exercises for you, you need to understand your limitations and also know what goals you are trying to achieve. Try several core exercises to determine which ones you feel most comfortable with. Create multiple workout routines you can use so that you can mix them up and make them different every time.

Standing Core Exercises for Seniors

Standing core exercises for seniors are easy to do and can be performed anywhere. You can strengthen your core while watching television or working around the house.


Stretching is beneficial for many reasons, especially when it comes to strengthening your core. Stretching spreads out the tissues, re-establishing blood flow and toning the tissues. Stretching also helps to break up the deposits of fat that are nestled along the organ. Any type of stretch you perform will help to improve how your body functions. Stretching your core muscles on a daily basis will keep them strong and resistant to injury. Stretching is also beneficial when dealing with visceral and subcutaneous body fat.

Standing Oblique Bends

Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands above your head. Hold your elbows out to the side. Bring your right knee up to your right elbow and then repeat with the left knee and left elbow. Repeat 10 times at a pace you feel comfortable with. Standing oblique bends are a great way to strengthen the muscles that make up the abdominal wall. They provide support to your vital organs and prevent them from injury.

Core Stabilizer

Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands above your head. Hold your elbows out to the side. Bring your right knee up to your right elbow and then repeat with the left knee and left elbow. Repeat 10 times at a pace you feel comfortable with. Standing oblique bends are a great way to strengthen the muscles that make up the abdominal wall. They provide support to your vital organs and prevent them from injury.

Seated Core Exercises for Seniors

Seated core exercises for seniors are easier for people who have problems with mobility. These exercises can be performed while you are at work or sitting in a chair at home. With the right type of core exercise, seniors may be able to regain some of their mobility and start exercising from a standing position. Seated core exercises are ideal for individuals who are confined to a wheelchair and will allow them to keep their core as strong as possible.

Single Knee Tucks/Lifts

Single knee tucks/lifts are easy to perform. Sit comfortably with your feet on the floor. Bring one knee up at a time to perform a “tuck” position up to the chest. Lower your leg slowly down to the floor. Repeat with each leg for 10 reps each. Once you get to a point where you are comfortable with this exercise, you may want to try and use ankle weights for a little more resistance. Increase the number of reps as you go.

Russian Twists

To perform Russian Twists, elevate your feet about an inch off of the ground. Make a fist and hold your arms in front of you. Sit up as tall as you can and reach your hands from side to side as far as you can reach. With your knees at a 90-degree angle, you can easily tighten your core as you begin the twisting motion.

Start out by performing 10 reps each time. As you begin to feel your core muscles loosen, increase the number of reps and extend your reach. It won't take long before you are noticing a difference in how you feel and the way your body moves.

Seated Jumping Jacks

Seated jumping jacks are the same as traditional jumping jacks except you are not jumping up and down. Sit down with your back as straight as possible. As you raise your hands above your head, extend your feet out to each side. Bring them back to center in unison. Repeat 10 times. It's important to start out slowly when performing this exercise. Take your time to ensure that you are using the proper body mechanics.

Core Exercises for Seniors with Back Pain

For seniors with back pain, there are several core exercises you can do to strengthen your abdomen without stressing your lower back. Performing these exercises regular will strengthen both your lower back as well as your core muscles and will help you lose unsightly pounds. Back pain can lower your quality of life.

Strengthening your core muscles will help you release the tension in your lower back and improve blood flow to the affected area. The more you perform these exercises, the better you will feel over time.

Chest and Neck Stretches

Chest and neck exercises will actually work muscles that extend downward into your abdomen. This will open up the area for improved blood flow and help you to remain flexible. Place your hands behind your head, stretching your back and neck up as far as you can. Lower your elbows, one side at a time, making sure to feel the stretch along the side of your neck and down into your chest. Start by doing 10 repetitions to each side.

The more you perform this exercise, the less stress you will carry in your neck and shoulders. This will increase blood flow to the brain and may actually work to improve your mood as well.

Gentle Twist

The gentle twist exercise starts with you sitting, feet flat on the floor and back straight. Raise your hands above your head. Lower your arms to your left side. Raise them back up and then lower them to your right side. As you lower your arms to each side, twist as far as you can. Repeat 10 times.

The more you perform this exercise, the more flexible your lower back and core muscles will become. This will make breathing easier and will allow you an opportunity to incorporate other types of stretching exercises into your core routine.

Backward Reach

The backward reach exercise is easy to perform. Reach behind your body and clasp your hands together. Once your hands are together, reach as far back as you possibly can. Hold for a few seconds each time. Repeat 10 times. You can increase the number as you become more comfortable and gain more range of motion. With this type of exercise, you will also be able to expand your rib cage, making it easier to take deeper, fuller breaths.

Easy/Gentle Core Exercises for Seniors

Easy/gentle core exercises for seniors can be relaxing and will actually allow you to let go of some of the stress you may feel throughout the day. These core exercises are an excellent choice for seniors who have limited mobility and may not be able to perform more traditional exercises. The more you perform gentle core exercises, the more likely it will be that you can begin to perform more strenuous exercises as you move forward.


Stretching is one of the simplest of all the core exercises. It pulls apart the muscle fibers and helps to break apart fatty deposits. This releases pressure on the tissues and encourages improved blood flow to both the muscles and the organs. As the muscles become more flexible and begin to regain their strength, they also begin to burn more calories.

The increased blood flow brings more nutrients to the tissues and carries away waste and other by-products produced by exercise.


Yoga and Pilates are both gentle forms of exercise that help to burn calories as well as improve overall bodily function. Both types of exercise focus on coordinating movement with breathing. The better you become at syncing your breathing with your exercise, the more balanced your body becomes. With more oxygen being brought into the body, your metabolism improves making it easier for your body to burn calories and eliminate unwanted fat.


Swimming is one of the best exercises for core muscles. The water provides the resistance the body needs to gradually increase strength. Moving through the water forces the body to use all of its muscles, even those we often think aren't reachable with regular exercise. The more you swim, the more your muscles are strengthened and the more calories you burn.

There are many different swim strokes you can choose from, each one using a different set of muscles each time. Switching strokes throughout your workout will ensure all areas of the body are exercised efficiently.


Your core muscles are the foundation of your body. They protect your internal organs and give you the strength you need to do most of your daily activities. Keeping these muscles strong and healthy is imperative if you want to stay strong and keep off those unwanted pounds. Belly fat can be detrimental to your health. With the proper core exercises, you can reduce the amount of fat you carry and strengthen your core at the same time. If you're a senior, taking a few minutes a day to perform core exercises will prove to be beneficial in many ways.

Supporting Scientific Studies

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