According to this article, AARP, formerly the American Association for Retired Persons, an interest group in the USA defending the rights and interests of the seniors in the country have averred that those in the sixty plus age category can also build muscles that resemble those in the 20s and 30s if these seniors can focus on core strength or muscle building exercises.
A Swiss ball, also called an exercise ball or a stability ball, can provide a lot of stability and balance to your body while also building up your core strength steadily. This works for people for all age groups and works well for seniors as well. However, if you have lost some mobility, agility and balance over the years, get a support when exercising on the Swiss ball, so that it doesnâ€™t roll or wobble when you are still exercising on it.
Expert supervision is recommended if you are starting with the Swiss ball in the twilight years of your life because balancing on it doesnâ€™t come naturally to most and you must remember that all the exercises may not be prescribed for you.Â Also, since your heart and lung functions often become erratic or less efficient as you age and your bones become weak, it is best for you to consult your doctor before starting your training on your Swiss ball or stability ball.
Some basic strength building and muscle conditioning exercises for seniors using the Swiss ball
- Core strength building exercise: Once you have clearance from your doctor to train using a Swiss ball, you can start with this basic exercise. Just sit up straight on the ball with contracted stomach muscles. Sit for sometime before releasing the held breath. Make sure your feet are firmly grounded or you are holding onto a wall or something for support and there is no chance of the ball slipping from underneath you. You can also move your hips first in full circles and then in half circles, if you donâ€™t experience pain, discomfort or breathlessness. These will help to strengthen the core muscles of your stomach and back like the obliques, the latissimus dorsi and the rectus abdominis.
- Marching while seated on a Swiss ball: One of the best exercises for seniors that help to increase the hip strength, balance, flexibility and cardiac functions, you should try it out only if you feel comfortable. Sit up straight on the ball and make sure that your feet are firmly placed flat on the floor. You can then slowly and steadily lift one leg to your chest and then repeat the same exercise with the other leg. This can be repeated up to 20 times and three sets per session will really help your cause.
- Side bending: Sit up straight on the ball and keep your back muscles stretched slightly. Sit in this neutral position and keep your feet apart. Keep them in alignment with your shoulder blades. Now, tighten your abdominal muscles and start bending towards one side till you feel your muscles tightened. Hold yourself at that position for up to 30 seconds although it should be gradually increased. Return back to your neutral position and then start bending to the other side. You can hold the ball for support with one hand and keep the other over your head, hand and fingers pointing outwards, for stability. This exercise is brilliant for increasing stability and balance and can cure backaches and muscle stiffness.
Try these exercises to start with and if you feel comfortable, you can consult a professional trainer and graduate to a more difficult training program. The results will be quick, if done properly. If you have been missing the jauntiness of your youth, get ready to embrace it all over again.