6 Back Strengthening Exercises for Seniors for Spinal Health

About Lamia A Kader, MD

Lamia A Kader is a Medical Doctor and a Medical Research Professional with a Ph.D. in Clinical Research. ISMMS, USA. She had enhanced her medical knowledge of medical devices and equipment development and innovation by attending clinical meetings, local national courses, journal clubs, and conferences, in addition to e-learning, subscribing to major medical journals and keeping an eye on latest trends in medicine and keeping an eye on clinical trials industry and healthcare marketing current trends. She had participated in several medical device innovation projects by conducting clinical research studies, developing clinical trial protocols, writing patient safety narratives and “Medical Device Risk Assessment Reports” to transform new medical technologies into real products that save and improve lives. Follow her on LINKEDIN. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

If you’re overwhelmed by all the available back strengthening exercises for seniors on the internet, it’s your lucky day.

Based on my experience and extensive talks with physical therapists and specialists, I’ve selected the best back exercises for seniors.

Just keep reading.

Key Takeaways

  • Back strengthening exercises are essential for maintaining mobility, improving range of motion, and relieving non-specific back pain.
  • Don’t forget to breathe while workout out and stop doing body exercises if you feel significant discomfort.
  • Always consult your doctor or physical therapist about what form of exercise is suitable for you. 

What Are the Benefits of Back Strengthening Exercises for Seniors?

Before getting to the best back exercises for seniors, let’s talk about why it’s so important to maintain your back’s strength.

For starters, seniors often lead a sedentary life, leading to muscle atrophy and increasing the risk of muscle damage, poor posture, and other spine problems. 

But a back exercise routine can prevent muscle atrophy, alleviate pain, and prevent future discomfort.

Specialists from the Spine Institute of North America also explain,

“Improved posture is the greatest benefit of back exercises.” (1) And many seniors have problems with bad posture. 

Moreover, strong back muscles ensure you don’t put too much pressure on your spine. As a result, you can handle lifting heavy things better. 

Now let’s see some of the most effective back muscle exercises for seniors. 

6 Back Strengthening Exercises for Seniors

While strengthening activities are beneficial, not all are suitable for seniors. Incorporating “back pain relief asanas” might be a gentler approach, but you should consult your doctor or physical therapist before trying these back-strengthening stretches.

#1 Eccentric Straight Leg Raise

Don’t let the name scare you away. There’s nothing eccentric in this gentle exercise for seniors, perfect if you want to strengthen your quadriceps and hip flexor muscles. 

  • Get comfortable on the ground. Press your shoulders into the floor, keep your pelvis still, and maintain your spine in a neutral position.
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles and bring your right knee to your chest. Your left leg and foot should remain flat on the floor. 
  • Once you bring your right knee to your chest, straighten it slowly and lower it to the floor.
  • Return to the starting position and do the same with the left knee. 
  • Repeat ten times with both legs. 
  • Don’t forget to breathe through your nose and out of the mouth. 
  • Here’s a video demonstration:

#2 Bird Dog Exercise

If you want to improve your balance and work your abdominal muscles, shoulders, glutes, and other core muscles, the Bird Dog stretch is an excellent choice:

  • Get on your hands and knees. Place hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Your spine should be in a neutral position. 
  • Lift and extend one leg out and keep it as straight as possible. At the same time, lift and extend the opposite arm, keeping your palms aligned with your shoulders. 
  • Hold the position for several seconds. Then return to the starting position and do the same with your other arm and leg. 
  • Do at least ten repetitions on each side. 
  • Keep in mind that the Bird Dog is an advanced back exercise, so seniors shouldn’t rush it. 
  • Watch this video for a demonstration.

#3 Sit-Backs 

Sit-backs are simple yet effective exercises that strengthen your back and abdominal muscles. 

And they’re perfect for senior citizens that have problems getting out of bed or a chair: 

  • Get on the floor and sit with your knees bent. Your knees should be at the same level as your chest.
  • Cross your arms over your chest, place your chin between your palms, and keep your back straight. 
  • Lean back as far as you can without falling backward. Be careful not to put too much stress on your back.
  • Once you’re back in the initial position, repeat ten more times. 
  • Here’s a video demonstration :

#4 Bridging

Bridging is an excellent way to strengthen your core, abdominal muscles, and lower back. It stretches your hip flexor muscles and is beneficial for your balance and mobility:

  • You must lie on a padded surface with your knees bent and feet flat. Your hips should be in a neutral position.
  • Raise your bottom until your spine is off the floor. 
  • Tightened your bottom muscles. 
  • Lower your body back to the ground. 
  • Here’s a demonstration:

#5 Bent Knee Raise 

If you’re looking for a beginning level exercise for seniors, the bent knee raise is perfect for strengthening your lower back. It can increase your range of motion and reduce pain.  

  • Lie on a padded surface with your knees bent and palms down on either side. 
  • Lift one of your knees and bring it to your chest as fat as you’re comfortable.
  • Then repeat the same movement with the other knee. 
  • Bring both of your knees together and hold them for about five seconds.
  • Lower your legs to the starting position. 
  • You can make it more difficult by adding ankle weights. 

#6 Cat and Camel Exercise

The Cat and Camel stretch benefits seniors with balance issues since it increases their ability to turn and maneuver. And it’s suitable for abdominal strengthening: 

  • Get a yoga mat and get on all fours – place your knees a few inches apart and your hands shoulder-width. 
  • Start to arch your back gently and lift your head up. Stop if you feel any significant discomfort. 
  • Form a curve with your back and lower your head toward the ground. 
  • Breathe in when you arch and breathe out when you curve.
  • Repeat the movement ten times.
  • Watch this video for a demonstration.

FAQs

1. Can walking strengthen your back?

According to specialists from Spine Health, regular walking can improve your spine’s health, improve mobility, and maintain bone density. (2)

2. How can I strengthen my weak back muscles?

You can do various aerobic exercises to strengthen your weak muscles, improve core strength, and lessen discomfort. Incorporating a back belt for lower back pain can further support your spine during these activities, ensuring alignment and reducing strain.

3. How often should seniors do back strengthening exercises?

Seniors should perform back-strengthening exercises at least 3-4 times per week to keep their back and spine healthy. 

4. What exercises should seniors avoid for their back health?

Avoid lifting heavy weights and any physical activity that involves back bending. 

Conclusion

Strengthening back exercises can improve one’s range of motion, relieve discomfort, and correct bad posture. And they don’t take much of your time and effort. 

Moreover, an exercise program helps seniors improve their quality of life since it can increase mobility and relieve depression and stress, according to studies. (3)

However, you should talk to your physical therapist if you have severe back problems to ensure you do any lasting damage with an exercise routine.

What do you think about these six back strengthening exercises for seniors? Which one is the easiest, according to you? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

Resources:

1. https://spineina.com/blog/reasons-why-back-training-is-crucial-in-your-workout-routine/

2.https://www.spine-health.com/blog/2-reasons-why-walking-good-your-lower-back

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8634786/

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