Regular physical exercise can benefit senior citizens by strengthening and toning the entire body and increasing their overall sense of well-being. Seniors may find it more difficult to achieve a flat stomach, but exercise doesn't have to be strenuous to have a positive effect. Strengthening stomach muscles will help seniors with everyday mobility and improve posture and reduce low back strain. Exercise can also lead to a healthier, longer life.
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Torso twists, which target the abdominal oblique muscle group for a trimmer waist, are a good choice for senior citizens. Begin by sitting upright in a sturdy chair. Extend your arms in front of your body and place your palms together. Breathe in and twist your arms and torso to the right. Hold the position for a few seconds, and breathe out as you twist your body to the other side. Add a medicine ball or hand weights for additional strengthening of the arms and upper chest. The movement should be smooth, not strained. Perform a slow, steady rotation back and forth 10 times.
Abdominal curls work well to flatten the stomach and improve muscle strength, posture and balance, which are important to seniors. Lie on your back on the floor and use a pillow behind your head, if you need to. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor, and then place your hands behind your head and point your elbows outward from your body. Slowly use your abdominal muscles to pull your upper body a few inches off the floor. Try to avoid using your hands to lift your head; it's helpful to point your chin toward the ceiling, to discourage using your hands to lift up your head and shoulders. Hold your shoulders off the floor for a few seconds and then slowly lower your body back to the floor. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests repeating this exercise up to 10 times. Remember to breathe out when lifting your body and breathe in when lowering your shoulders back to the floor.
The chair stand will strengthen the thighs as well as flatten the stomach. Sit upright with good posture on a chair. Try to find a chair that doesn't have arms, such as a casual dining chair. Keep your feet flat on the floor, and sit near the front edge of the chair. Cross your arms over your chest, and then slowly lean backward and inhale. Straighten out your arms and then stand up in a smooth, slow motion. After standing up straight, slowly return to a seated position. Be aware of your breathing and exhale slowly as you sit down. Cross your arms over your chest and repeat the exercise up to 10 times, as recommended by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
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