Senior Balance Exercises
Senior Balance Exercises
Do balancing exercises every day to optimize your balance as a senior. Keeping a good sense of balance helps you avoid dangerous falls which can result in broken bones. It also increases your overall fitness. It also gives you a feeling of confidence everyday in every part of your life that you’re not going to lose your balance. Senior Balance Exercises
As you start doing balance exercises, if you’re concerned that you might lose your balance and fall, ask someone to stand near you. You should also check with your doctor before you start in case you have a balance problem or another reason you shouldn’t do the exercises.
Below are some balance exercises you can try:
Stork: One of the simplest exercises to improve balance is to stand on one leg, keep your arms at your side with your shoulders relaxed, and try to balance for 30 seconds. Repeat one to two times with each leg every day. Over the next few weeks, try to work up to two minutes. One hint: Try not to “grab” the floor with the toes of the foot that’s on the ground. Relax your muscles, and you’ll have more success.
To make the stork more challenging, try swinging your arms like you’re running. That will throw you slightly off balance and you will need to make corrections to maintain your balance. You can hold bottles of water in each hand for even more of a challenge.
Another way to make the stork more challenging is to fold a bath towel over several times so it’s five to six layers thick. Now place it on the floor and stand in the center of it. It will be unstable because it’s soft, but that’s the idea because you want to really work hard to improve your balance and strengthen your muscles. And for the most challenge of all, try doing the stork with your eyes closed.
Nose toucher: Stand with your right leg approximately 24 inches in front of your left, bend your knees slightly, and try to touch your nose with your finger. The more in line your feet with each other the more challenging this will be. Once you can do it well with either leg in front of the other, try this with your eyes closed.
Heel raises: Hold on to a sturdy chair for balance and rise up on to your tippy toes. Repeat 10-15 times. You can progress to touching the chair with one finger for balance, then eventually no holding at all, and finally with your eyes closed.
Marching: Hold on to a sturdy chair for balance, and lift your right knee up toward your chest, then lower to starting positions. The left knee can be bent slightly. Repeat 10-15 times with the right leg, then do the left leg. You can progress to touching the chair with one finger for balance, then eventually no holding at all, and finally with your eyes closed. You can also try alternating the marching between left and right leg instead of one set with one leg.
Side leg raise: Hold on to a sturdy chair for balance and lift your right leg out to the side. The left knee can be bent slightly. Repeat 10-15 times with right leg then do the left leg. You can progress to touching the chair with one finger for balance, then eventually no holding at all, and finally with your eyes closed.
Walk a straight line: Look for a straight line on the floor (like floor tiles) and try to walk along it. The key here is to land with one foot directly in front of the other and also land on your heel first. Try with arms extended out and then relaxed at your sides. To progress, try walking forward to one end and then backwards to the other. Then try walking forward only with your eyes closed. Walk back and forth 10 times.
Step-ups: Stand in front of a staircase and step up with your right foot, then up with your left, then back down with your right, then back down with your left. Repeat 10 times. If you need a little support, hold on gently to the railing, or better yet, just touch the wall with your finger tip and you’ll be amazed at how much balance that gives you.
Sit-stands: Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair and try to stand up without swinging your arms forward, and then sit back down very slowly. Repeat 10 times. If you need help, go ahead and let your arms reach forward for balance, but then over time, try to do them without the assistance of your arms.
NOTE: Always talk with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. very type of exercise is not appropriate for all people, especially if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. And it’s important that you start slowly with any physical activity.
About the Author
As Senior.com Director of Sales and Marketing, Kimberly Johnson is passionate about providing Seniors with the resources and products to live well. Kimberly is a seasoned caregiver to her family and breast cancer survivor. Her father battled ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease and she was a primary caregiver. Today Kimberly lives in Southern California near her 104-year-old grandmother, widowed mother, a mentally disabled sister and second sister who is also a breast cancer survivor. She is happily married to her husband of 24 years and they have 3 children.View All Articles