The Benefits of Balance Exercises for Older Adults
As we age, certain conditions or problems with our health have a tendency to make us unsteady on our feet. This makes us more susceptible to falling, and falls are the number one cause of accidental injury in seniors. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls cause more than 90 percent of hip fractures in seniors.
Once a senior is injured, it can lead to other issues like social isolation and depression. That’s why it’s so important to incorporate some senior balance exercises into your daily routine. There are plenty of easy balance exercises older adults can practice, right from the comfort of their own homes.
The Best Balance Exercises for Seniors
Taking part in these balance exercises every day will help enhance your physical coordination and decrease your risk of falling. If you’re just starting out, it’s recommended to first check with your doctor to make sure you get the go ahead to start improving your stability. Then, start off slowly or have a companion or family member monitor your workout.
Some of the best balance exercises for seniors include:
- A brief warmup. Before you begin any exercise, warming up beforehand will help loosen your joints and prepare your muscles for activity. Do some light stretches and march in place for three minutes or so to get your heart rate elevated.
- Stand on one foot. Hold on to the back of a sturdy chair for support and balance. Lift one foot and hold the position for ten seconds. Repeat this 10 to 15 times. Then, do the same thing with your other leg. As you gain more stability, try holding the position for longer lengths of time. You can ultimately let go of the back of the chair and even try crossing your arms over your chest as you stand on one foot.
- Walk heel-to-toe. Follow the length of a wall if you need some extra support starting off this balance exercise. Lightly place your hand on the wall and step forward with your right foot. As you shift your weight forward, place your left foot in front of your right, with the heel of your left foot touching the toes on your right foot. Repeat this for 20 steps. As you progress with this exercise, try it going backwards and forwards.
- Tightrope/balance walk. Hold your arms straight out from your sides, parallel to the floor. Start walking in a straight line, pausing for a second or two each time you lift your foot off the ground. To help keep your head straight and maintain balance, focus on a spot in the distance. Take 15 to 20 steps this way.
- Back and side leg raises. These exercises not only help your balance, but they can build strength and muscle, too. Stand behind a chair for support. For back leg raises, slowly lift one leg straight behind you without bending your knee. Hold for a second or two, then lower your leg. Repeat on the opposite side and do about 15 reps on each. For side leg raises, stand with your legs slightly apart. Lift one leg out to the side, keeping your back straight and your toes pointing forward. Hold for a second, lower your leg and repeat on the opposite side, completing 15 reps.
Senior Health Services include Balance Exercises for the Elderly
At Lourdes-Noreen McKeen, our focus is on senior health and wellness. We help our residents maintain the best level of health possible through a variety of senior health services and wellness programs, and we offer a variety of fitness classes addressing the balance issues seniors may face.