Younger Longer–A Stronger Core
Will Rogers often remarked, “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there,” or as I prefer to think, “Even if you are sitting on the right track, the longer you sit the sooner you age.” Some weeks I steam along like a train engine, then one day I am slammed with a hitch in my get-a-long and look like an engine chugging till the gas runs out. Thinking the heating pad is all I need I sit and ache in comfort, until at last I stand up go to the gym or call the doctor and arrange for a Physical Therapy prescription. These are the gray days when I argue with myself about exercising versus sitting and napping. (Confession. I let the naps win, but not the sitting.) A stronger core is my new mantra for life.
Many of us who prefer to be called “Perennial” adults excuse our weak core muscles because of our lack of knowledge when we were younger. I didn’t know about sit ups until 9th grade PE. I didn’t like them then, but now I know how to do them properly. For all I did right in the last 50 years by lifting weights, walking miles to seek fresh air, and playing golf, I rarely strengthened my jelly belly tummy muscles enough to keep my back in shape.
While I lived in Hutchinson, Kansas I joined a Pilate’s program that serves as my ONE reminder that I can be strong again or stronger. Like using technology, change comes our way and we can discover in any decade how to think with a clearer mind, walk with better posture, eat healthy meals, or to play a sport all with the help of a strong core because a strong corebinds us like a bullet proof jacket stabilizing the spine, the lower back, and our vital organs. Sadly, we don’t all have a bullet proof jacket stabilizing us internally so that balance and core go hand in hand. Younger Longer–Finding Balance.
Research has shown that regular exercise can slow down the physiological aging clock and keep us young longer, what is the core?
Essentially, the core consists of everything within a person’s center of gravity, all areas of the abdominal, the back, the glutes, and beyond. Exercising these muscles means to exercise an area that is part of the core musculature. Core defined for conversation.
Now with a little more knowledge (from Physical Therapy) and a conscious mind set that draws daily attention to my core, posture, and gait I am moving with more ease. After three weeks of exercising thirty to sixty minutes a day three to five days a week, and stretching my old tight muscles or using a foam roller on them I feel physical and nervous relief. Attention to my mind set helps me create tension in my core, and I stand confidently taller.
Why is it important to develop and maintain a strong core after age fifty? Through the working years of thirty to 70 sedentary adults may experience as much as 30-40% loss of muscular strength as a result of reduced levels of muscle mass making us prone to injury and illness. Strength Training Moves for Women over 50.
How do we create a stronger core at our age? My suggestion is to talk with a doctor or physical therapist first if pain is the issue. Otherwise, consider exercises such as, bridges, leg curls, and planks, every other day. My basic pictures show these exercises.
As parents and grandparents we find ourselves needing a strong back (core) so we can enjoy lifting and hugging our grandchildren. For those of us who enjoy sports at all levels, gardening, walking, or running we do not need to be highly trained and fit athletes, but we do need a strong core to lift, twist, bend, walk, run, swing, or get down on the floor and back up gracefully. The Mayor Clinic website offers the best options on core exercises beginning with the basic (easiest). Click on this link for pictures: Mayo Clinic Core Exercises.
Winter is the deepest darkest time for me, and I tend to slip into anxiety over my aging body, asking questions of myself and my abilities to walk purposefully instead of hunkered over, will I be able to compete on the golf course, will the weeds win in my garden or will I be able to bend and pull them. These are such minor worrisome issues, but they suck away my confidence.
Last summer I set a calendar reminder on my phone for 7:30 pm every night. It reads, “30 minutes of exercise or 10,000 steps.” If I achieve my goal that day I delete the reminder and smile to myself. At the end of each week or month I look back and count all the times I deleted the reminder. It has become the best self-confidence and smile booster for me in the last decade.
I believe self-confidence shows in how we walk and greet others and strong core strength doubles the confidence to help us stay Younger Longer. Good Luck.