A lot of changes happen as we get older. Whether due to a decline in physical fitness, medical conditions or simply the effects of aging, balance can become an issue. Older adults find that their body’s ability to promote balance and stability is less effective. When coupled with losses in muscle strength and mobility, your risk of falling dramatically increases.
Falls are the top cause of injury among older adults. Falls put your health at risk and can reduce your ability to stay mobile and independent. How can seniors improve their balance so they can prevent these serious injuries?
Benefits of Strength and Balance Exercises for Seniors
Exercise is essential, no matter what your age. Seniors who ramp up their workout routine will find significant improvements to their mobility. Being strong and steady can reduce your risk of falling, alleviate some health conditions and boost your overall confidence. It’s never too late or too early to start thinking about improving your balance and strength.
Here are some simple exercises for seniors to improve their strength and balance. These exercises can be performed in the comfort of your own home.
Balance Exercises for Seniors
The following exercises are accessible no matter your level of fitness.
Rock the Boat
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, plant your feet firmly on the ground and stand straight with your head level:
- Lift your arms, extending them out to help maintain your balance.
- Transfer your weight to your right foot and slowly lift your left foot off the floor.
- Bend your lifted knee, bringing your heel inward.
- Hold this position for no more than 30 seconds.
- Slowly put your leg down and do this action with your opposite leg.
- Perform this exercise on each side three times.
Stand behind a solid chair and hold on to the back of it:
- Lift your right foot and balance on your left leg.
- Hold that position for as long as you can.
- Switch legs.
- Eventually, lift your foot without holding onto the chair and hold that position for up to a minute.
- Keep the chair in front of you so that you can grab it as needed.
Strength Exercises for Seniors
Increasing your leg and core strength will greatly improve your balance, posture and mobility. The following strength exercises can be modified if needed. Eventually, you may find that you’re able to perform them as instructed.
This walking exercise strengthens your legs:
- Lift your arms and extend them out for balance.
- Set your gaze ahead of you on a fixed point in the distance.
- As you begin to walk, raise your foot and pause with it in the raised position for about three seconds.
- Continue taking 20 to 30 steps.
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart:
- Shift all your weight onto your right foot.
- Lift your left leg and extend it forward.
- Hold this pose for about 10 to 15 seconds.
- To increase the difficulty, reach your hands toward your extended foot.
- When you return to your starting position, shake out your legs.
- Repeat three times, then switch to the opposite leg.
Schedule Your Consultation With an OrthoBethesda Specialist
If you’ve suffered an injury due to a fall or you’re experiencing physical discomfort, the team at OrthoBethesda is here for you. We welcome new patients to schedule an appointment so that we can partner with you to ensure your orthopedic health. Contact us today to learn more.