It’s important to maintain physical fitness at any age, but especially after 40 because that’s when metabolism slows down, fat sticks more, and strength and stamina decline. Healthy eating and exercise significantly improves matters. It can keep you looking young, slim, fit and strong. A great way to maintain strength after 40 is through core exercises.
What is the core?
The core of your body consists mainly of your back and abdominal muscles in what is known as your torso. It includes the lats, obliques and the pelvic floor. These are muscles that connect to the spine or pelvis and are the point of origin for all movement, from sitting, standing and bending to running and lifting weights. Simply put, they propel you into action.
Why maintain core strength?
Core muscles support your spine and entire body. They maintain your overall stamina, balance and physical strength. If your core is weak, you become prone to injury, back pain, sciatica and generally have more difficulty performing mundane daily functions, especially as you age.
Keeping core muscles strong can prevent muscle and bone loss. In men, core strengthening exercises can help prevent an unattractive condition called gynecomastia, also known as man boobs. This is when men’s breasts enlarge due to a collection of fatty tissue. One cause of gynecomastia is the naturally decreased levels of testosterone in aging men. Regular exercise, however, can help maintain testosterone levels, thus reducing the risk for gynecomastia and, consequently, gynecomastia surgery.
5 core exercises
Here are five exercises for keeping your core strong after 40:
• Crunch (abs, obliques)
Keep feet flat and knees bent. Contract your abs as you sit up. Do three sets of 12-20 reps.
To work obliques, twist your torso and touch each elbow to the opposite knee.
• Back extension (lower back)
Lie face down with hands behind your head. Lift torso, hold a few seconds and repeat. Do three sets of 6-10 reps.
• Plank (abs)
Hover over floor in straight line with only toes and forearms touching the floor. Keep abs tight and hold for 10 seconds or more. Do 10-12 reps.
• Arm sweep (obliques)
Sit with knees bent and arms stretched in front. While contracting abs, sweep one arm down and behind in half-circle motion. Perform 8-12 reps with each arm.
• Woodchop (abs, back)
Secure one end of resistance band and hold other end. With arms straight, rotate your body and bring arms up diagonally while contracting abs. Do 12-20 reps on each side.
Maintaining core strength after 40 is vital to staying strong and healthy. A strong core will significantly reduce risks of injury, keep pain at bay and ensure a rather pleasant transition into later adulthood. Plus, it will keep you looking great!
Brionna Kennedy is native to the Pacific Northwest, growing up in Washington, then moving down to Oregon for college. She enjoys writing on fashion and business, but any subject will do, she loves to learn about new topics. When she isn’t writing, she lives for the outdoors. Oregon has been the perfect setting to indulge her love of kayaking, rock climbing, and hiking.