3 Exercises to Increase Core Strength and Improve Balance
Did you realize that according to the CDC, 1 in 4 people over the age of 65 falls every year in the US? One of the major reasons for frequent falling events is the decrease in balance and core strength that commonly occurs with aging. But these physical factors shouldn’t just be a point of concern for older Americans—anyone who wants to maximize their performance in sports, increase their safety during daily activities, and prevent age-related changes to their function should make core strength and balance a top priority.
Our physical therapy team can help! Our exercise protocols are research-based, individually tailored, and dare we say challenging and fun! If you’re frustrated with feeling unsteady on your feet and weak in your core—or if you’ve ever wondered if your back pain is related to core dysfunction (hint: it probably is)—call our physical therapy office to book an appointment with an experienced physical therapist.
3 Physical Therapy Exercises for Core Strength and Balance
Your spine is literally the “backbone” of your entire body, so it needs to be stable for effective force transfer during movement. For this reason, physical therapy exercises targeting core strength can help you improve your balance, and vice versa.
The following exercises are some of the most effective ones our physical therapist staff utilizes in our treatment plans. These physical therapy moves to target all the major muscles involved in core stability and can easily be modified by your physical therapist to challenge you appropriately.
Start on all fours with hands and knees in line with shoulders and hips, respectively. Look at your hands but don’t drop your head down—the goal is to keep your neck in line with the rest of your spine. Keeping your abs and trunk as still as possible, extend your right arm out in front of you and your left leg back behind you. Hold for one second, then return to the start position and repeat on the opposite side.
Consider this one of the most versatile tools in your core-building toolbox! To perform the most simple variety, start in a standing position and shift your weight to one foot. Keeping your hips even with each other, slowly lift the opposite foot a few inches off the floor and hold this position for 30 seconds or as long as possible. You can put hands on your hips or hold them out in a T for balance.
Do this one in bare feet, with your eyes closed, while standing on an unstable surface, and/or while holding a weight in one hand for an extra challenge!
“Elbow Elbow, Hand Hand” aka Up/Down Plank
Start in the top of a push-up position with feet and hands on the floor and your body in a straight line (or you can drop to your hands and knees if easier). Keeping your core as still as possible, lower down to one forearm, then the other forearm. Next, push back up to one hand, then the other hand.
You can also hold a simple plank on the ground to make it a little easier or place your forearms on a stability ball to make it tougher (your physical therapist can hold the ball steady for you if you need help).
Looking for More Balance? Contact Total Care Physical Therapy
A physical therapist can offer so much more than injury treatment. By teaching, your core stabilizing and balance exercises, your physical therapist can help you avoid injury as well! If you find yourself struggling with back pain, frequent trips and falls, or other concerning issues, contact Total Care PT in Hillsborough, NJ to book an appointment and regain your strength, confidence, and poise.