As we age, a variety of physical conditions can cause us to feel an increased sense of instability. As the sense of instability grows, so does the fear of falling. According to the National Council on Aging, one in four Americans aged 65 or older falls each year. As we age, we lose muscle strength, have reduced eyesight and joint flexibility, as well as slower reaction time. This combination creates a perfect recipe for a fall. However, there are many easy changes to help reduce your risk of falling.
Ways to Increase Balance
- Incorporate balance training and functional training into your workouts
- Develop core strength by doing core exercises either seated or standing
- Improve overall muscle strength by doing resistance exercises
How much do I need?
Exercise for seniors balance can be done every day or as many days as you like and as often as you like. Preferably, older adults should do balance training 3 or more days a week.
Where to begin?
To begin exercise for seniors balance, hold onto a table, chair, or doorway to help you. As you advance, grasp with only one hand, then with a finger, then hands-free.Only do what you’re comfortable doing – there’s no sense in falling in your efforts to prevent a fall, after all.
Resources for Better Balance
- If you haven’t taken the Better Balance Challenge yet, it is 7 days of workouts to help improve your balance plus lots of fun! Click here to begin the challenge
- Prefer a printable over a video? Print out the Senior Exercises for Balance Pdf which you can print out and practice right at home. Click here to get the printout.
- DVDs more your speed? Try Strength + Balance exercise for seniors DVD. Click here to shop.
Senior Exercises for Balance
1. Single Leg Stand
Stand on one foot. Alternate on which leg you stand. Try doing this on different surfaces and at different times of the day. This exercise will help you build your balance, and it will help you identify balance deficits.
2. Walk Heel-to-Toe
You might recall this movement from balance beam work in grade school, or just as a childish pastime in which you tried to walk along a crack in the sidewalk. Just position the heel of one foot directly in front of the toes of your opposite foot. Alternate each time you take a step. You may need or want to use your arms to help balance you.
3. Chair Work
Getting into and out of the seated position can be a challenge for seniors. The movement requires balance and core strength, it is a good thing to practice standing up and sitting down without using your hands.
Overall, senior exercise for balance increases response time and mobility, and provides a better sense of balance and coordination to help improve your balance and reduce falls.