Exercises For Seniors To Improve Balance

Related Articles

Why Balance Is Important

Top 10 Balance Exercises for Seniors at Home. STOP FALLS.

Improved balance makes daily activities, such as walking on stairs, carrying heavy items, and suddenly changing directions, easier. A strong, stable base will allow you to move with more coordination, ease, and fluidity. Youll also gain stronger and more enhanced movement during athletic activities.

Developing good balance helps to improve your overall health and fitness levels. These improvements help to prevent the risk of injury and falls, especially in older adults and people with Parkinsons disease. This allows you to maintain your independence longer.

Remain aware of your posture and stability throughout the day. Notice if youre yielding your weight evenly on both feet and work to root your weight into your feet.

You can also pay attention to whether you tend to yield your body weight forward or backward in space. Try to bring your body into proper alignment and feel a strong connection to the floor. Notice where and how you lose your balance and make the appropriate corrections in your body.

Tips To Prevent Falls At Home

Corman stresses that balance exercises, while an important part of fall prevention, are just one aspect of preventing falls. Organizing one’s environment to minimize tripping hazards is just as important. She offers a few tips:

  • Avoid flip flops: Flip flops encourage a shuffling gait that can contribute to trips. Instead, she recommends house shoes with secure backing, such as sneakers.
  • Remove rugs: Throw rugs increase your risk of tripping.
  • Install railings: Railings along all stairways and in showers can be much-needed stability aids.
  • Keep rooms well-lit: Low-light vision deteriorates with age. Thus, instead of walking through a dark room to hit a light switch, Corman recommends installing nightlights or keeping a flashlight stashed in the nightstand, to make navigating the dark easier.
  • Ditch the bifocals: “The literature tells you,” warns Corman, “that you’re better off keeping two pair of glasses.” Bifocals can compromise depth perception. Having two glasses, with the pair you would use to navigate a room kept on a chain around your neck, would likely be much safer.”
  • Reduce tripping hazards: Making an effort to stow away tripping hazards such as electrical cords, boxes, or toys is a major step to creating a safer house.

When To See A Pro

Talk to a physical therapist if youd like extra guidance. A physical therapist can develop a balance program for you and supervise as you try out each exercise.

Having someone by your side may give you both the motivation and confidence to try more advanced exercises. They can make sure youre using good posture and getting the most out of each movement. And theyll encourage you to take breaks when needed.

Recommended Reading: Window Replacement Grants For Seniors

Exercises With An Exercise Ball

24. Sit and lateral rock:

  • Sit on an exercise ball facing forwards.
  • Once you feel stable, begin to rock your hip towards your left, then back to the center.
  • Repeat this exercise to the right and continue this for three minutes.

25. Ball marches:

  • Begin by sitting on the ball in a good posture.
  • Keep your core engaged.

Shoulder Press In Lunge Stance

The 10 Best Balance Exercises For Seniors
  • Step one leg back and pull knee down into lunge stance. Legs should be making 90 degree angles.
  • Have small weights in each hand at shoulder level. Stay down in lunge position while pressing both arms up at the same time above your head.
  • Repeat 10 times before coming out of lunge position and repeating with the other leg in front.
  • Recommended Reading: Examination Of Conscience For Seniors

    The Benefits Of Senior Balance Exercises

    Research shows that the benefits of balance- and strength-enhancing exercises actually extend beyond fall prevention. A study published in The BMJ concluded that physical activity programs also help protect against even the most severe fall-related injuries. In other words, if a senior engages in a balance-enhancing exercise program and still winds up falling, their risk of being injured is reduced by as much as 61 percent.

    Many of the risk factors for falls and fall-induced injuries are similar, explain study authors. These factors are correctable by well-designed exercise programs, even in the very old and frail.

    One of the main ways exercise helps is by strengthening an individuals bones as well as the muscles that protect them. Additional benefits include improved reaction time, coordination and cognitive function.

    Study authors tout the importance of multi-component exercise programs for seniors to prevent falls and fall-related injuries. A well-rounded physical activity regimen emphasizes balance training, gait and functional training, strengthening exercises, flexibility and endurance. Tai Chi, yoga, weight training, aerobics, walking, cycling and swimming can all be modified to meet ones unique needs and abilities and incorporated into a fall prevention exercise program for the elderly.

    How Balance Exercises Work

    Balancing exercises work your core muscles, lower back, and legs. Lower-body strength-training exercises can also help improve your balance.

    While balancing exercises can be challenging at times, consistent effort will make these exercises easier. Gradually increase the number of repetitions as the exercises become easier. You may ask someone to supervise or assist you, especially when youre first getting started.

    You can modify the exercises to increase or decrease the difficulty or adjust for your needs. Start on your nondominant side so that the second side is easier. You can do your nondominant side twice if you want to balance out your body between both sides. Once you get comfortable with the exercises, try doing them with one or both eyes closed.

  • To increase the difficulty, this exercise can be done with an ankle weight.
  • Sit in a chair with a straight spine and both feet directly under your knees.
  • Slowly, straighten your left leg, holding it up for a few seconds.
  • Lower it back down and repeat with your right leg.
  • Do 1 to 3 sets of 10 to 20 repetitions.
  • Recommended Reading: Flip Cell Phones For Seniors

    The Best Balance Exercises For Seniors

    Corman cautions seniors against adopting specific workout plans without speaking to a medical professional first, since not everyone is at the same fitness level or has the same medical conditions. Nevertheless, Croman recommends a number of basic exercises to foster strength and balance in stabilizing muscles and help restore seniors’ gait.

    Common Balance Exercises For Seniors

    7 Exercises For Seniors to Prevent Falls & Improve Balance Giveaway

    There are many options for effective balancing exercises for seniors. Ten options you may want to consider include:

  • Single limb stance
  • Walking heel to toe
  • Each of these exercises targets a specific muscle or group of muscles. To perform them, you must follow a set sequence of movements. Some balancing exercises for seniors are free-standing. Others require the use of a chair, wall, or another form of prop or support.

    Don’t Miss: Best Vitamin B12 Supplement For Seniors

    Why Might Seniors Struggle With Balance

    Older adults tend to struggle with balance issues due to a variety of reasons, such as osteoporosis, age, joint and vision issues, and underlying health conditions. Additionally, long-term medical conditions such as Parkinsons, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimers can also affect balance among older adults. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce the risk of falls and strengthen your balance by incorporating simple daily balance exercises.

    Recommended Level Of Physical Activity For Seniors

    Before beginning any type of exercise routine, you should always speak to a healthcare practitioner. They will be able to provide you with the best advice, especially if you have a medical condition that may limit your ability to perform certain exercises.

    According to the World Health Organization , it is recommended that seniors should be taking at least 150 minutes of physical exercise each week. However, if you are involved in vigorous aerobic workouts, this time can be reduced to 75 minutes. When taking part in aerobic exercise, you should limit each bout to 10 minutes.

    To prevent falls, it is also suggested that seniors perform balance exercises on at least three days of each week. You should include strengthening exercises on at least two days of the week. These exercises will have many benefits, including improved sleep, greater energy levels, and give you a boost of self-esteem.

    The problem is that many older adults do not have the physical ability to perform this level of exercise. If this sounds familiar, we would recommend taking part in as much physical activity as possible. You may find that, over time, you can increase what you do. If you feel a little insecure about beginning a routine later in life, rest assured that it is never too late to start exercising, and you will see plenty of benefits.

    Don’t Miss: Property Tax Freeze For Seniors In Texas

    What Causes Balance Problems In The Elderly

    Balance problems are one of the major reasons why senior citizens are often falling over. They often find themselves unable to control and maintain their bodys position comfortably whether they are walking, climbing stairs, standing, or even sitting still.

    Balance problems can be life-threatening in older people. They increase the risk of falling over which further increases the risk of fatal injuries in people over the age of 65 . Here are some causes of balance problem in senior citizens :

    Four Simple Exercises For Seniors To Improve Balance

    The 10 Best Balance Exercises For Seniors

    As the body ages, loss of physical ability occurs. With every passing year, strength, flexibility, and endurance slowly erode. For seniors, counteracting these negative effects as best as possible is vital. Taking an active approach to fighting aging by regularly exercising is an absolute must.

    Its not all about strength and cardiovascular performance, though. As important as those areas are, there is one often overlooked element of fitness that becomes crucial for older folks: balance.

    For younger people, balance is not of particular importance. Staying upright simply isnt an issue for most of a persons life. However, in the senior years, balance and bodily stability can become major problems. Poor balance can make many simple tasks more difficult, significantly worsening quality of life.

    More dangerously, bad balance makes falls much more likely. Falls can result in broken bones and other serious injuries which may trigger an irreversible physical decline. Minimizing the risk of falls should be a priority for older adults.

    There are four exercises that seniors should practice to maintain and even improve their balance. These exercises will also improve coordination and provide a mild aerobic workout.

    Walking the Line

    Simply taking a few dozen steps walking heel to toe, with the hands extended at the sides, will help older folks retain their coordination and balance. Any sort of straight line on the floor can be used for this exercise.


    You May Like: Senior Living Income Based Apartments

    Standing Back Leg Raises

    Standing leg raises work on your mobility and flexibility and thus are great balance and coordination exercises for seniors.

    • Stand up tall holding onto the back of a sturdy object like a chair or resting your hands on a wall.
    • Raise one leg, pressing it straight back behind you, and squeeze your glutes at the top of the motion.
    • Pause for 3 to 5 breaths and then slowly lower your leg returning to the starting position.

    Things To Know Before Beginning Stability Exercise

    • Use a chair or wall for extra support and to prevent falls.
    • Start with the easiest exercises and gradually move on to those that are more challenging.
    • Sit down and take a break when needed.
    • Drink plenty of water.
    • Consider eating lightly before exercising if there are concerns about feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
    • Talk to a doctor before beginning any new exercise program.

    Don’t Miss: Best Cell Phone For Seniors With Dementia

    What Are The Most Common Reasons Why Seniors Fall

    Falling is a complex multifactorial phenomenon that can be difficult to explain. Often, a senior fall because of

  • Poor balance and coordination that comes with aging
  • Impaired vision
  • Impaired walking and gait due to loss of good posture and muscle mass
  • Slower reaction time due to cognitive decline
  • Vertigo, lightheadedness, and dizziness caused by drugs or low blood pressure
  • Environmental fall hazards like clutter or slippery floors
  • Moderate To Difficult Exercises

    10-Minute Balance Workout For Seniors | More Life Health

    15. Stair tapping:

    • Stand in front of a step stool or a step.
    • You can hold a side rail or cane for support.
    • Step up with your right leg and bring your left leg up to meet it.
    • Now step down in the same order.
    • Repeat by starting with the other leg and continue the cycle 15-20 times.

    16. Back leg raises:

    • Stand facing the back of a chair while holding onto it.
    • Slowly raise your right leg off the floor and swing it backward.
    • Hold this position for 10 seconds, then bring your leg back to the center.
    • Repeat this on the left leg and continue the exercise for 10-15 circuits.

    17. Side leg raises:

    • Start by holding onto a chair or countertop for support.
    • Lift your right leg out to your side and hold this position for 10 seconds.
    • Repeat with the other leg and continue this for 10-15 circuits.

    18. Chair leg raises:

    • Sit in a chair with your back straight.
    • Now, lift your left leg up to 5 inches off the ground and hold for 5 seconds
    • Bring your foot back to the ground and repeat with your right leg.
    • Continue this slow march for 3-5 minutes.

    19. Side-step walk:

    • Facing forwards, step out to your side with your right leg, then bring your left leg to place your feet together.
    • Repeat this for about 15-20 steps in each direction.

    20. Musical statues: This is a fun game you can play with your grandchildren. The alternating between dynamic movement and standing still does wonders for your balance while giving you a little aerobic workout in the process.

    22. Sit to stand:23. Upper body rotations:

    Read Also: Walmart Landline Phones For Seniors

    These Movements Can Be Performed At Home And Incorporated Into Your Daily Routine

    Exercises that help us perform everyday activities become increasingly important as we get older.

    Our balance declines and we lose muscle, making ordinary activities like climbing stairs more difficult, and increasing the risk of injury and falls, says Rachael Holden, a fitness educator who specializes in older people. She recommends functional exercises, which replicate the movements people make in daily activities.

    Balance Exercises For Seniors That Help Prevent Falls

    As we age, we often develop new health conditions, begin taking more medications and lose muscle mass. The threat of an injury-inducing fall weighs heavily on the minds of many older adults and their caregiversand for good reason. Falls account for more than 95 percent of hip fractures, which can have a devastating and often permanent impact on an elders physical and mental health.

    Fortunately, practicing a few gentle at-home exercises on a regular basis can help seniors enhance their strength, balance and coordination and decrease their risk of falling. Best of all, caregivers and seniors can perform these moves together to safeguard their mobility and prevent accidents.

    Read Also: Cable Tv For Low Income Seniors

    No Props Needed Balance Exercises

    These balance exercises can be done anytime, practically anywhere. All you need is a small space and comfortable clothing.

    1. Stand on one Foot

    Practicing standing on one leg at a time is a simple and easy starting point for developing balance. It strengthens the muscles in the supporting leg, without feeling too intense for beginners.

    2. Marching on the Spot

    No living space is too cramped to prevent effectively marching on the spot. Doing this regularly will improve balance and knee mobility, which is crucial for getting around easily.

    3. Sideways Walking

    Sideways walking is a gentle exercise that builds strength and balance. With your eyes straight ahead, take ten steps sideways to the right, then to the left. Repeat four times.

    4. Grapevine Walk

    This exercise will test your balance and coordination. Begin by walking in a grapevine to the right, with your left leg crossing in front of your right leg. Repeat in the other direction, with right crossing behind left.

    5. Rock the Boat

    The clue is in the name with this exercise: imagine you are on a rocking boat, moving your body from side to side. As you lean to the right, lift your left leg off the floor slightly. Hold and repeat on the opposite side. It may help to have a chair or kitchen counter in front of you for support.

    6. Toe Lifts

    7. Eye Tracking

    8. Body Circles

    9. Heel to Toe Walks

    10. Step Up

    11. Dynamic Walking

    12. Eyes Closed Balance

    When To Consult A Professional

    The 10 Best Balance Exercises For Seniors

    A physical therapist can develop a balance program specifically for someone and provide extra guidance on posture and form. Consider consulting a PT initially to ensure getting the most benefit from an exercise program. One may prefer to work with a PT regularly, as they can provide motivation and encourage taking breaks, as needed.

    Also Check: Best Food For Senior Pitbulls

    Additional Tips On How To Improve Your Balance

    • Add your exercises to your daily routine Do heel raises or balance on one foot while waiting in a checkout line or doing dishes. Walk heel-to-toe to the kitchen for a glass of water. Many balance exercises can be done anywhere at any time.
    • Stay active Take walks. Go for a swim. Garden. Nearly any activity that keeps you moving can help maintain a good balance.
    • Maintain a healthy weight A poor diet and extra pounds can contribute to poor balance. Consult a dietician for an appropriate meal plan that will improve your gait.
    • Participate in strength training Its not just gaining muscle mass. Many strength training workouts are also designed to help you regain or better your balance.
    • Join a class Programs such as Tai Chi , yoga, and aerobics help improve gait and balance. Tai Chi and yoga also help you achieve an inner balance for your mind and soul. Many classes are being offered virtually until groups are able to resume.

    At McLean, our residents have boundless opportunities to enjoy exercises to improve balance for seniors and stay physically fit, including a full array of strength and balance, steady and fit, yoga, and aquatic classes. To learn more about how you can get on your feet and enjoy an active, enriching lifestyle in the days to come, visit our Wellness page. For the time being, we hope these tips can get you started!

    75 Great Pond Road

    Popular Articles