Harvard Health Letter

Avoid back pain and improve balance by strengthening core muscles

Strengthening the body’s core muscles reduces strain on the back and helps relieve or prevent pain. Strenuous core exercises such as planks, sit-ups, push-ups, and crunches can lead to serious injury for older people, especially those with back problems. However, gentle stretches and exercises can be just as effective at core strengthening. These include front and side standing leg lifts to strengthen the abs; shoulder blade squeezes to strengthen the scapulae; and a pelvic tilt.
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