Belly Exercises for the Elderly

Belly Exercises for the Elderly

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Abdominal curls target the muscles in the belly area.

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Muscle loss, including the muscles in the belly area, is a natural part of aging. Unfortunately, low muscle mass can decrease the function and strength of the abdominal area and can lead to injury. Doing belly exercises every other day can help build up the abdominal muscles as well as improve flexibility and range of motion in the midsection. As always, speak to your doctor before you attempt any new exercise, especially if you have an injury or medical complication.

Start Curling

Strengthen the muscles in your abdominals by doing abdominal holds. Lie face up with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Position your arms at your sides on the floor. Push your back into the floor and curl upward, reaching toward your knees with your fingertips. Hold the contraction for as long as possible and then lower back to the starting position. You can also do crunches by lying on your back with your elbows bent and your hands behind your neck. Curl your body upward until your shoulders and upper back come off the floor. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

Powerful Planks

Do low-impact planks to target the belly muscles. Lie on your stomach and prop yourself up on your elbows. Tighten your abdominals and lift your body upward so that you are supporting your weight on your elbows and feet. Keep your body straight from head to toe. Hold for 20 seconds and then lower yourself to the starting position. Once you master the plank, do plank rotations. Start in the plank position and rotate your hips and feet to the right, stack your feet on top of each other and lift your right arm toward the ceiling. Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.

Roll With it

Use a stability ball to build up the muscles in the belly area. Try ball marching by sitting on an exercise ball and lifting your right foot up off the ground. Hold for a few seconds and then repeat on the opposite side. You can also do the side-to-side rock by sitting on the stability ball with your knees bent and motionless. Contract the muscles in your abdomen and rock your hips from the left to the right on the ball. Or do the front-to-back rock by pushing your hips forward and backward while sitting on the ball. All the motions should come from your midsection, not your chest or knees.

Exercise with Caution

Breathe properly as you do belly exercises. Exhale as you contract your abdominals, and inhale as you return your body to the starting position. Never tug on your head or neck as you exercise, which can lead to pain and injury. Do each exercise in a rhythmical, smooth manner -- never jerk or bounce your body. Immediately stop exercising if you experience muscle pain, chest tightness, nausea or dizziness.