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Dumbbells are effective tools for seniors who want to strengthen core muscles.
Strength training exercises are important for seniors, helping with the maintenance of muscle mass and bone density. A costly gym membership and treks to the health club aren't necessary to develop strong core muscles. You can use dumbbell exercises to tone and strengthen the muscles of your midsection. Get the green light from your doctor before you begin a new exercise routine.
Strength Training Basics
Before you engage in dumbbell exercises for your core, it's important to know a few basics about strength training. To start, two to three strength training sessions that last 15 to 20 minutes each are sufficient to tone and strengthen the muscles of your midsection. Use dumbbells that are heavy enough to tire your muscles by the 12th repetition. If you can't do eight to 12 reps of each core exercise, start with what you can do and add another couple reps each week. Work with a personal trainer when you begin if you've never done strength training before; she will help you with good form and proper execution as you learn dumbbell core exercises.
Dumbbell Exercises for the Abdomen and Lower Back
Sit up straight on the edge of a sturdy chair while keeping your feet planted flat on the ground. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Draw your abdominal muscles in toward your back while pushing your arms overhead. Bring your arms back down. This time push the dumbbells out in front of you at shoulder-height. Return to the start position and repeat eight to 12 times. Keep your ab muscles drawn in to engage them throughout the exercise. If you can lay on your back on the floor, you can continue exercising your ab and low back muscles by doing pelvic tilts while holding a dumbbell by your abdomen. Slowly tilt your hips and pelvis up and down while lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Don't Forget the Oblique Muscles
The oblique muscles run along the sides of your midsection. When they're toned and strong they work with your abs and lower back for a stronger core. Perform trunk rotations while holding a dumbbell. Sit on the floor or on the edge of your bed, while holding one dumbbell in your lap with both hands. Lean back 45 degrees if possible; if not, just go back as far as you can while drawing your ab muscles in. Lift the dumbbell and extend it toward the left, just outside your knees. Return to the semi-reclined position, and then extend the dumbbell toward the outside of your right knee. Repeat eight to 12 times on each side.
Water-Based Dumbbell Exercises
Working out in the water is an excellent option if you have joint problems. Since the water's buoyancy supports your weight -- up to 90 percent if you're neck-deep in the water -- you won't stress your joints during exercise. Use water dumbbells for an alternate strength training workout. By drawing your abdominal muscles in during the exercises, you'll work the muscles of your midsection. Do side lateral raises, and pretend you're making basketball jump-shots by squatting slightly. As you straighten up, push the dumbbells over your head like you're shooting a basket. To perform side lateral raises, hold the water dumbbells at your sides while standing with your feet 12 inches apart. Raise your arms up and out at the sides until they're shoulder height, feeling a stretch along your obliques. Push the dumbbells back down through the water to complete one repetition.
Enjoy Multiple Benefits from Dumbbell Exercises
A stronger, slimmer midsection isn't the only benefit you'll gain from doing dumbbell core exercises. Studies have revealed that regular, weekly strength training can provide cognitive improvements and save you money that you'd normally spend on healthcare issues. Additionally, you'll feel better about yourself and enjoy being able to participate in favorite activities you previously lacked the energy, strength or stamina to enjoy. On days when you're not doing dumbbell core exercises, participate in cardio activity such as walking, golfing, swimming or bike riding to improve your heart health and maintain a healthy weight.