Nearly 70 percent of older adults are estimated to suffer from back pain. Moreover, low back pain is the most common health problem among these older adults. Consequently, lower back exercises for seniors helps reduce intensity and/or occurrence of low back pain. Meanwhile, a recent study in England of 4,400 people over 70 reported that those with spinal pain were 13 percent more likely to die each year.
The primary causes of lower back pain include the following:
First and foremost, a lumbar strain is caused by microscopic tears in the ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the lower back from stretching. Moreover, this common cause occurs most often in people in their 40s from overuse or improper use of the lower back.
Also, nerves of the lumbar spine can be irritated by mechanical pressure from bones, other tissues, diseases, or inflammation of the nerves by a viral infection like shingles.
Next, lumbar radiculopathy is usually caused by a compression of the spinal nerve root. Consequently, there is pain in the leg rather than in the lumbar spine. Moreover, the compression or irritation can be due to one of many conditions, including lumbar disc herniation, spinal stenosis, osteophyte formation, spondylolithesis, forminal stenosis, or other degenerative disorders.
Most noteworthy, bony encroachment cause narrowing of the portal through which the spinal nerve passes from the spinal column, out of the spinal canal to the body. And the most common reason for this encroachment is arthritis. Also, other reasons include spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis. Meanwhile, spondylolisthesis is a condition where one vertebra slips relative to another. And, spinal stenosis is a condition where bony spurs or other soft tissues in the spinal canal compress nerve roots or the spinal cord.
Finally, condition of bones and joints may be existing from birth (congenital), from wear and tear, from injury, and inflammation of the joints from arthritis.
In fact, if you are looking for lower back exercises for seniors to get relief from lower back pain, the following are easy to do and many are even recommended by physical therapists.
This workout builds strength in the lower back and stomach muscles. Follow these steps:
This exercise increases strength and flexibility in the lower back. Follow these steps:
This routine exercises your legs, glutes, and lower back. Follow these steps:
This exercise lengthens the spine and makes your core and lower back flexible. Follow these steps:
This exercise works your abs to stabilize the lower back. Follow these steps:
This exercise stretches muscles of the lower back, as well as the inner thighs. It also, promotes flexibility, stress relief and helps circulation to the muscles, joints, and disks of the back. Follow these steps:
This workout strengthens your pelvis. Follow these steps:
This workout strengthens your pelvis. Follow these steps:
Lifting weights can strengthen your lower back muscles. However, ask a physical therapist or a trainer to show the right technique. Also, if you feel pain, talk to your medical professional.
Aerobic exercises like biking, swimming, and walking improve your cardiovascular system. However, don’t jog or run because their impact can make your lower back worse.
Pilates can help low back pain. However, unless you are familiar with Pilates, learn how to do them correctly from an instructor at your local fitness club.
Most of all, as you look at other lower back exercises for seniors to use, avoid the following.
Meanwhile, lower back exercises for seniors to use can be augmented with home remedies, such as the ones listed below
First, applying an ice pack, wrapped in a towel, directly to the back can reduce inflammation. Also, a heating pad can provide relief. However, to prevent burns, make sure the heating pad is not too hot.
Next, creams containing capsaicin may help relieve pain. In fact, a study found that capsaicin is helpful for treating osteoarthritis pain.
Also, pain-relief creams with menthol have a cooling effect to temporarily dull back pain.
Arnica is a homeopathic remedy that can be applied directly to the skin to treat muscle pain.
In addition, some shoes can cause muscle strain in the back and legs. So, try switching shoes that fit well. Meanwhile, a foot specialist may be able to help you get the right kind of shoe.
Improper posture, from slouching or straining, at a desk can cause back pain. For example, the computer screen should be at eye level with the chair at the correct height.
Disturbed sleep can make back pain worse. Also, insufficient sleep can reduce tolerance for pain. Moreover, guidelines recommend getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
Finally, stress can trigger muscle tension in the back. So, take steps to reduce stress.
Most seniors are aware that being active is good for them. While being aware is a good thing, many seniors practice it by walking whenever they can. Moreover, many of them even measure their steps using their cell phones or wearable activity trackers. In addition, some of the more competitive minded, even aim for 10,000 (about five miles) to 15,000 steps rationalizing that the more the better for their health. However, is that really true?
In fact, a study published in the May 2019 issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Internal Medicine provided answers. Especially relevant, this study, by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, looked at 17,000 elderly American women. Incidentally, these women were, on average, 72 years old.
Furthermore, for the purpose of the study, these women agreed to clip on wearable activity trackers during their waking hours. Indeed, these activity trackers counted steps and pace for seven days, while they went about their normal day-to-day activities.
Next, the researchers divided the women into four groups:
Meanwhile, the study’s average follow-up period was a little over four years. Regrettably, in that period, 500 of the women died.
Most noteworthy, the study found after the follow-up period of about four years:
Most noteworthy, researchers found that the pace of walking didn’t make a measurable difference on the risk of dying. Consequently, the women got the same benefits by walking slowly as by walking fast.
Especially relevant, the study was observational. Indeed, the study provided results based on an observational association between the daily step count and risk of dying.
Furthermore, because the study was observational, the study could not provide causality. For example, women could have walked more because they were already healthier. In fact, the study did not determine how or why walking lowered the risk of dying. On the other hand, many other studies show that physical activity:
Most of all, you don’t have to go to the gym to reduce your risk of dying. In fact, you can lower the risk by simply walking 2,700 steps each day. While walking 4,400 steps daily reduces the risk most. Also, because the study showed that risk of dying reaches a plateau, you don’t need to walk 10,000 or 15,000 steps. In fact, just walking 7,500 steps reduces the risk of dying as much as possible.
However, some people are not walkers. For example, they don’t have safe neighborhoods, or they feel unsteady on sidewalks. Consequently, these people need to be creative in getting that physical activity. Perhaps, these people need to go to a gym class or, the pool or, use pedals in their home.
First and foremost, the results of the study apply to only elderly women over 65 years of age. While these results may apply to elderly men over 65, more studies are needed. Similarly, the results of this study may not apply to the younger age groups of men and women. Finally, whether the results apply to these other groups or not, walking is one of countless ways for all to be active and stay healthy.
Meanwhile other studies show similar results. For example, a Canadian study of diabetics showed that improving step count from 5,000 to 6,200 steps daily improved sugar control.
Finally, another study found women in a 24 week walking program reduced their blood pressure by 11 points with 9,000 steps daily.
Most noteworthy, people 60 and over start to show signs of physiological aging. For example, their gait isn’t as long or as quick as it was when they were younger. Or they get tired sooner. In fact, physiological aging is characterized by a decline in the maximal aerobic capacity of their lungs, and, a decline in their skeletal muscle strength. Consequently, aerobics for seniors helps ward off these declines and helps seniors become and stay healthy.
First of all, maximal aerobic capacity is defined as the maximum rate of oxygen consumption during incrementally increasing exercise intensity. In fact, maximal aerobic capacity is an indicator or cardiorespiratory fitness. Furthermore, the lung’s maximal aerobic capacity determines the intensity and duration of aerobics seniors can tolerate and do.
In addition, the greater the lung’s maximal aerobic capacity, the more intense aerobics seniors can do and do them for longer periods of time. Most of all, outward signs of reduced maximal aerobic capacity appear during aerobics for seniors, when seniors engage in aerobic physical activities. During these aerobic activities, seniors may start running out of breath earlier than when they were younger, or, do the aerobics with lower intensity. Finally, lower maximal aerobic capacity limits senior to functionally perform some physical activities.
Sedentary lifestyles cause the maximal aerobic capacity to decrease nearly 44 percent in males and 34 percent in females from the age of 20 to the age of 60. Seniors whose maximal aerobic capacity has dropped significantly become very challenged to autonomously complete activities of daily living. Consequently, it is important for seniors to work at increasing their maximal aerobic capacity.
And one of the most important ways to do that is with aerobics. Aerobics for seniors have been known to increase maximal aerobic capacity by nearly 13 percent in an eight to ten weeks senior aerobic training programs. Senior aerobic training programs of twelve to eighteen weeks have resulted in nearly 14 percent improvement, while 24 to 52 weeks of senior aerobic training has resulted in a nearly 17 percent improvement. Participating in aerobic training program or even doing aerobics independently potentially delays loss of independence. Finally, higher intensity aerobics leads to even greater improvements in maximal aerobic capacity. In fact, an increase of 25 percent is like getting back an estimated 12 years of vigor.
Cardio or aerobic workouts force the heart and lungs to pump more blood and oxygen to the muscles, brain, and the body. Consequently, cardio for seniors are hugely helpful for their health. In fact, regular cardio workouts cause the entire pulmonary system to increase the lung’s maximum oxygen capacity.
Especially relevant, the latest senior aerobic guidelines recommend seniors get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic workout each week. However, if chronic conditions limit seniors to less than 150 minutes, seniors should be as physically active as possible.
In addition, when doing aerobics seniors should raise their heart rate for stretches of 10 minutes. And in that time, seniors should do either moderately intense or vigorously intense aerobics.
Furthermore, the minimum time for moderately intense cardio is 30 minutes on each of the five days of the week. Moreover, seniors will get even more benefits if they exercise for 60 minutes on each of the five days.
On the other hand, seniors don’t have to do it all in one stretch. Indeed, seniors can break up the 30 minutes into shorter aerobic workouts of at least 10 minutes each. Most of all, only the total time spent on aerobic workouts should be at least 150 minutes per week.
Finally, for less fit adults, recommendations also encourage the accumulation of relatively hard physical activity in intermittent periods of exercise and physical activity lasting 10 minutes or longer throughout the course of the day.
Lastly the 2007 ACSM/AHA guidelines seniors include unstructured approaches to increasing physical movement. These unstructured activities include:
As a rule, aerobics for seniors is done at a moderate intensity when the seniors breathing and heart rates are noticeably higher. However, seniors can still carry on a full conversation, except that their breathing may be heavier and or they may be sweating. In addition, on a 10-point scale, with zero being a state of rest, moderate intensity workouts would be a 5 or 6 on the 10-point scale.
As another way to get a grasp of moderate intensity, walking a distance of two miles in 30 to 40 minutes (or a walking speed of 3 to 4 miles per hour) would meet the definition of moderate physical activity.
Seniors need just as much exercise as those under age 65. Furthermore, seniors can choose from a wide variety of available workouts. In fact, their choices include, swimming, walking, jogging, water aerobics, ballroom dancing, rowing, bicycling, to name just a few. And if you prefer going to the gym or sports clubs, you have your choice of treadmills, several kinds of elliptical machines, stair climbers, several kinds of cycles, and even rowing machines. Treadmills are great for walking because they provide a cushion for your feet. Elliptical machines, on the other hand, keep your feet grounded to the pedals. As a result, they are good for you back, hips, and knees. Finally, you can use spin cycles, upright bikes, or even recumbent bikes that provide back support.
The Western University in Ontario, Canada reported in a 2019 study that even with short burst of reasonably low intense aerobics, seniors can improve their brain health. Researchers found that even only 10 minutes of senior aerobic activity, like walking, on a treadmill improves cognitive functions (such as memory and attention) of seniors. Moreover, these benefits are achievable even by seniors who hadn’t exercised for a long time. The study of 17 seniors, with an average age of 73, found that boost in executive functions, such as planning and organizing, was achievable with aerobic exercise intensities ranging from moderate, heavy, and vigorous levels.
And these benefits are not limited to seniors with high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness. In fact, these benefits are achieved by seniors across a spectrum of senior aerobic intensities as well as across a spectrum of fitness levels. Meanwhile, seniors realize the cognitive benefits almost immediately.