As we get older, it can become more important to be careful about choosing exercise programs to fit our needs and abilities. Belly fat is a major cause of health problems in older women. Daily physical activity, a good diet and abdominal strength training two to three days a week can help women over 50 maintain a healthy waistline.
Crunches With Rotation
Crunches are a good abdominal exercise for the upper abs. Adding rotation targets the obliques. These are a safe exercises wen performed properly, and they can be made more difficult with the addition of a free weight or adding a stability ball during t he routine. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your ears. Relax your neck and shoulders. Push your low back into the floor and exhale. Crunch up slowly until your shoulders have cleared the floor. Twist to the right. Twist back to center and lower yourself slowly to the floor as you inhale. Crunch back up, and this time twist to the left. Return to the floor. Start with five reps per side continuing to alternate. Work up to two sets of 12 reps.
The plank strengthens the upper body and abdominals. There also are modified versions that are less taxing on the wrists and shoulders. Lie on your stomach and bring your forearms together under your chest. Clasp your hands. Push up so that your body is supported on your forearms and toes. Do not allow your hips to raise higher than your shoulders or your body to shift backwards. Your chest should still be over your arms. Squeeze your abs and glutes and hold yourself in place. Remember to breathe. Hold the position as long as you can, and work up to 60 seconds.
Reverse crunches work the lower abs. Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, arms at your sides and your lower back flat. Lift your knees up over your hips. Keep them bent. Lower your legs toward the floor but only as far as you can with a flat back. Exhale as you lower your legs and inhale as you lift them back up. Do 10 to 12 reps. Do two sets. If this is too difficult, only lower one leg at a time. You also can straighten your legs during the reps to make this exercise more challenging.