You can do a variety of sit-ups depending on your strength and flexibility. Because of the strain that can be placed on the back with other variations, the following are the only types we recommend for older individuals:
- Partial sit-ups for beginners -- Lie on the ground with your hands behind your head and your knees flexed. Push your lower spine toward the ground, but do not raise your shoulder blades off of the ground. Twenty of these should be a good initial goal.
- Parallel sit-ups (advanced) -- Start in the same position as with partial sit-ups, but instead of placing your hands behind your head, extend your arms parallel to your upper legs (knees up and feet flat on the floor). Raise your upper body, keeping your arms parallel to your upper legs until your elbows are at the height of your knees; repeat until you start to become fatigued. Twenty of these is a good initial goal.
- Inclined sit-ups (advanced) -- This relatively difficult exercise is done on an incline. The key is to have your knees flexed and something (or even someone) holding your knees down. Then, while keeping your back straight, bring your chest toward your knees. Perform this exercise slowly, if possible, for a better and more difficult workout. Again, 20 is a good initial goal.
Find out more about this book:Fit at Fifty and Beyond: A Balanced Exercise and Nutrition Program (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)