In Abu Dhabi, seniors are increasingly adding more health and fitness experiences into their lifestyles.
This is partly due to the help of personal trainers who specialise in senior fitness.
Senior fitness coaches can guide seniors in the right direction when it comes to training and exercise choices.
We asked female personal trainer in Abu Dhabi for advice and tips on core training for seniors.
Q: Core exercises are not just about doing sit-ups, there are other methods that even seniors with limited mobility can do. For seniors, working on the core each day can help to improve fitness and maintain flexibility and mobility. As a specialist senior fitness PT can you list your top 5 core exercise methods that are both safe and beneficial for seniors. Can you also describe how each works and what benefit each exercise in the list provides.
The core is not just your abdominal muscles, in fact it is your whole mid-section and it includes all the muscles from the front and the back (ab muscles, lower back, the spine and the obliques, which are on the side of the body).
All these core muscles work together to stabilize the body. Without a strong, stable core we wouldn’t be able to stand up straight, lift something heavy without risking injuries, etc.
That is why core exercises are important for everyone, not only people who want to be fit, or those who go to the gym regularly.
If your abdominal muscles are not strong enough, your lower back will try to take over the work that your abs should be doing.
So a strong core can prevent back injuries, and it will also help to have a better posture too.
Older people are already more prone to injuries, so working on their core will reduce the risk of injury a lot. They will also feel better and stronger.
When talking about core exercises for older people, we have to use those that are easy on the back, so no sit ups for example, but they can do the following core exercises:
this exercise strengthens your lower back and improves stability. Lie face down on the floor with arms straight in front of you. Raise your head, right arm and left leg off the floor, then lower and repeat on the opposite side. Another variation is lifting up both arms and both legs together.
lying down with the back on the floor (lower back is firmly on the floor too), legs up in the air, knees in 90 degrees bent, tap 1 foot to the ground at a time. The lower back is on the floor the whole time
Lying down with the ack on the floor, legs in the air up straight, hands under the buttocks for support
Holding The Plank
Go into full plank or on the forearms and hold up to one minute, start with 20 seconds and increase the time slowly. Make sure to keep your back in one straight line, core engaged the whole time.
Q: Just as there are core training exercises that are ‘beneficial’ there are some core exercises that seniors need to do with caution or avoid altogether. In your experience as a fitness professional what core training exercises should seniors limit or avoid in Abu Dhabi?
Seniors need to be a bit more careful with their back while exercising, as their spine might not be as strong as the spine of younger people and they might be risking damage to the back if they do the wrong core exercises or if they do them incorrectly.
Seniors in the UAE shouldn’t do sit ups, as those can put pressure on the back if the ab muscles are not strong enough.
Side bends are also not ideal, they can also be bad for the spine.
I would avoid anything that involves twisting, as it puts too much pressure on the spine, an example are Russian twists, they twist the lumbar vertebrae.
Core exercises are suitable for seniors, you just need to do them with caution and always use a professional PT who is experienced in Senior Fitness for guidance
Finding the best PT in your area of the UAE for Senior & Elderly Fitness is easy with the UAE Personal Trainers Webiste.
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