Whether a senior is struggling with health problems like arthritis, decreased muscle mass, low or high blood pressure, heart disease, or other issues like side effects from prescription medications, practicing daily balance exercises can help you stay steadier on your feet. Being able to maintain your balance will help decrease your risk of falling, and this is important because falls are the number one cause of accidental injury among seniors. Senior falls can lead to hip fractures or other broken bones, as well as a long recovery period.
Injuries can also lead to other issues like social isolation and depression. Once you start incorporating some specific balance exercises for seniors into your daily routine, you’ll notice that your stability has improved and you’ll probably even feel better, both physically and mentally! The best part is that there are plenty of easy balance exercises older adults can practice right from the comfort of your own home.
Senior Balance Exercises to Enhance Stability
If you’re first starting out with a new workout routine, it’s recommended to talk to your doctor and make sure you get the go ahead to start improving your stability. Start off slowly, or even have a friend or family member monitor your first few workouts until you are more secure on your feet.
Taking part in the following balance exercises every day will help enhance your physical condition and decrease your risk of falling:
- A brief warmup. Do some light stretches and march in place for three minutes or so to get your heart rate elevated. Before you begin any exercise, warming up beforehand will help loosen your joints and prepare your muscles for activity.
- Heel-to-toe walk. 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.
- 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.
- Flamingo pose. 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.
Besides these home exercises, you can consider joining the New Energy Wellness Program at American Senior Communities, where you’ll be exposed to a variety of exercise programs designed to build balance and improve your abilities in everyday life.