Balance Exercises for Seniors
Elderly falls are unfortunately much too common. It’s estimated one in three seniors will fall each year according to the US CDC. Maintaining good balance is an excellent way to lessen your chance of falling.
I would like to offer the following balance exercises for seniors to help improve your overall balance:
- Strengthen your legs by using your body weight as resistance. Perform repetitions of sit to stand. You do not want to rely on your arms to get up from a chair or commode, relying on your arms to stand is a sign of leg weakness.
- Shift your body weight – While standing at a counter, take a step to your right and left. Do so in a smooth manner. Keep your upper body upright, don’t lean your upper body to the side. Exercises such as Tai-Chi are an excellent way to improve your balance. You may also try taking steps forward and backwards slow and steady motions. With your feet shoulder width apart, you can move your body weight toward your heels and then your toes.
- Narrow your base of support by standing with your feet more close together. Always make sure you have something steady nearby should you lose your balance. You can progress by having your feet placed closer to a heel to toe position.
- Stand on a softer surface – You can buy foam products of various densities. Standing on surfaces that have some give makes your foot and ankle muscles work harder. Some seniors have problems walking on gravel, sand, or lawns. Ensure you have something sturdy to hold if you practice standing on a foam pad.
- Moving your head when standing. Fix your eyes on a target and try to keep the target in focus while moving your head. You can move your head in various directions, such as up and down, or right and left. If you have difficulties keeping your balance when moving your head, you may be at a greater risk of a fall.
These balance exercises for seniors are just a few suggestions to help improve your balance. Consult a qualified medical professional if you have a concern with your balance. Physical Therapists are specialist in the area of improving balance problems.