Seniors, more than anyone, realize their lack of balance can be much more serious than an occasional misplaced step.
In fact, impaired balance
Makes every part of life stressful, anxious, and even dangerous.
It’s easy for seniors to start losing their balance and falling with no clue why it’s happening.
Prevent Falls With Regular Balance Exercises
Best Balance Exercises for Seniors
I’m going to show you a few exercises you can do right at home that will greatly enhance your own balance.
They are easy, simple to do, and take very little effort or time.
However, there are two things you should know immediately:
- Looking at the pictures won’t help! Incorporating them into a daily and regular schedule is the way to benefit from them.
- These exercises really work! But, depending on your level of fitness, adding exercises like walking for 30 minutes or more, 4 or 5 times a week will add muscle strength that will provide even greater results.
Standing on One Foot
I can not say enough about standing on one foot to increase your balance!
This one simple exercise has the ability to strengthen your legs and vastly improve your balance.
Why are strong legs important to balance?
Our system of balance includes an intricate accumulation of things going on within our body — and making constant minute adjustments.
Those adjustments depend on strong legs to continuously make both minute and large corrections to keep from falling over when you’re standing or walking.
Strong legs will enable you to catch yourself when you lose your balance.
In fact, strong legs can make these corrections without you ever being aware of them.
The sheer beauty of this simple exercise is that it is doing two things at once:
- Increasing strength in hips, thighs, and calves
- Allowing all your balance systems to practice
Hold on to a counter or stable table when you stand on one foot
A great way to practice standing on one foot, is to do it while standing at the kitchen counter.
Stand on one foot when you’re cooking, getting a glass of water, pouring a cup of coffee, washing dishes.
Make it a habit you practice everytime you go to the kitchen counter, or standing in front of the bathroom vanity, and start noticing results fast.
And you don’t need to stand on one foot for long periods of time, either.
Merely put all the weight on one foot and leg until you tire, whether that’s 2 secondes or 5 minutes, and shift to the other foot.
Of course the object of this exercise is to practice letting go of the cabinet, or table top as you’re standing on one leg.
When you lose your balance, merely touch, or grab, the stationary object until you’re comfortable to try again.
The more you practice the more you will see definite improvements.
6 Simple Balance Exercises that will strengthen legs
Looking at the 6 images in the infographic above you’ll notice that each one is strengthening your legs, while teaching your brain to balance at the same time.
Some seniors may not be strong enough initially to do these. However, spending only a minute or two on each one every day will produce astounding results.
And a balance pad will help you, but not necessary to benefit from these simple exercises.
Easy Balance Exercise With Chairs
Using an armless chair makes anyone of the above exercises easy. Why be brave, just hold on to a chair while exercising.
Just lift one leg while holding on to the chair, or hold on to the chair while marching in place or doing toe raises.
The goal is always to do the exercises without holding the chair, right? As you practice the times you can do so will increase as your confidence increases.
Walking will make your legs stronger and improve your balance.
Because the goal is to be able to safely move from one place to the other without losing balance, walking is surely a great way to practice.
Knee sleeves can help your balance by adding support to your knees and legs, aiding proprioception, and increases your confidence.
You can walk at a park, in your neighborhood, on your sidewalk, or merely practice safely walking in the kitchen.
Remember that invaluable kitchen counter? Just hold on to it, and get some exercise.
Is Your Balancing Act Growing Old?
Balance for humans is a complicated series of events, and there’s a lot going on behind the scenes to keep us from falling over.
It takes several sensory and motor systems working together to stay in an upright position.
To maintain balance your brain is depending on feedback from:
- Muscle tone
The very things you depend on to keep you from falling — Are declining with age.
And that’s not the only reasons we start to lose our balance, either?
Three Reasons Balance Declines
Losing our balance occurs naturally as we age. In fact, our sense of balance naturally begins a down hill slump from our 20s and continues downhill throughout life.
And, we actually speed up the decline with:
Seniors often wind up depending on plenty of medication to keep them moving and going.
Here’s some medications you probably take that affects balance:
- Blood pressure medication along with a host of other heart related medicines
- Sleep medicines both prescription and over the counter
- What about pain medicine for the arthritis?
Those are only four of the plethora of medications common to senior citizens that can impair balance.
These common drugs affect your vision, cause lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, and more. In fact some of the medications can play havoc with your inner ear and cause a balance disturbance.
That’s not all, either.
Seniors are apt to stop the very thing that can help the most with their balance issues.
2. Lack of Exercise
Face it, the older we get, the less exercise most of us get.
This lack of exercise creates several important issues:
- Loss of muscle tone
- Joints that more quickly give way to arthritis
- Decline of proprioception
- Lack of practice in maintaining balance
3. We Forgot to Practice
We start out as crawlers eager to learn to walk. Next we learn to ride a bicycle, play sports, and participate in physical activities that keeps our balance systems in good working order.
When we’re young we are always practicing our balance. Almost everything we do employs an active and functioning balance system.
However, it’s common for seniors to steadily decrease physical activities as they get older.
Neglecting physical activities means neglecting the practice we need to say upright and safe.
There could be a medication causing balancing problems that could be changed? Even though most seniors can’t do much about the medicine they’re taking, a first step should be to let your physician know you are having balance issues.
Other than that, balance exercises for seniors along with regular exercise is probably the most important things you can do for real results that keeps you from falling and injuring yourself.