Recently a writer friend of mine posted on Facebook, asking (for a story she was writing) how people over 50 would like to be referred to.
(Quick side note: I am rarely on FB anymore aside from managing my private groups. It’s become so scary negative and toxic that I had to step away.)
I don’t recall what the descriptors the poster used, but from what I recall, they were:
“Why not just call me by my name?” responded most people.
She may as well have given these options:
Because here’s the thing: aging is not like most of us expect. At least I never saw it coming.
It sneaks up on you. And, for that reason, most of us don’t feel anywhere near our age.
The only time I think about how many calendars I’ve purchased in my lifetime is when I look at my hands and wonder why my grandmother (rest her soul) has suddenly stepped into my body.
…or when I find myself shopping for shoes based on comfort (seriously, when did THAT happen??)
…or the days when I do a workout in the morning and need a nap at 1:00 in the afternoon
Only then does it hit me that I’ve got more than a few years under my belt.
In the end, the only thing any of us can do is the best we can for where we are right now.
And that brings me to one of the most important topic for us youngsters…
A weak core destines you to a lifetime of potential injury. It may sound like I’m being dramatic, but trust me – I’m not.
Your core is, truly, the powerhouse of your body much like the foundation of your house.
First, let’s define this mysterious body part since it’s a word that gets thrown around a lot.
The core is a multi-faceted creature, comprised of over 20 muscles, including the main one called the transverse abdominis (TA) muscle that wraps itself around your midsection like a
giant boa constrictor girdle.
The various muscles attach to your lower back (which is why a weak core contributes to back pain) and basically tie your ribcage to your upper body and your pelvis to your lower body.
In short, if you posted your relationship status with your core on Facebook, you’d file it under “It’s complicated.”
Your core not only protects your spinal column but literally stabilizes your entire body.
So yeah, it’s nothing to sneeze at. Although your core engages when you sneeze. All you allergy sufferers get an accidental core workout during pollen season.
But unlike your abs, no one sees your core. People won’t come up to you and say, “Hey, your core is looking mighty fine.”
And if they do, call the police.
This brings us to core exercises.
The old standard — and a prerequisite to today’s “killer core” exercise – planks.
Be sure you’re adept at these before trying the exercise below.
You should be able to hold a plank for 30 seconds before kicking it up a notch to a more dynamic version.
Planks are generally safe for healthy women over 50 (always check with your doc, of course) even for those with back pain because they do not involve flexion, the action involved in curling up as in a crunch.
As I’ve mentioned, I have osteoporosis in my spine. Crunches and any type of curling up motion may result in a very unpleasant result, such as breaking myself in half like a Kit Kat bar, only less slightly less crunchy.
So for starters, here’s the basic plank:
Then kick it up with this plank upgrade I call PLANK UPS, a.k.a. Killer Core exercise:
Just call me…
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.