Balance exercises for seniors are fun for just about anybody that wants to improve and maintain their health. It’s important for seniors to maintain balance which helps prevent falls.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of non-fatal trauma related hospital admissions.
If people are not physically active they can get muscle atrophy or joint arthritis from lack of exercise. Lack of exercise could lead to heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes. Lack of exercise can also contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression or increase the risk of certain cancers. The best balance exercises for seniors and the walk at home workout will be outlined here for your information but keep in mind that they can be used for any age group.
List of 10 Balance Exercises
This list of exercises can be done anywhere that has a good safe surface like the family room or garage or driveway. Be sure your surface is free of any tripping hazards and that you have enough space around you.
- Rock the boat-Draw your knees toward your chest, lift your head, and grab your legs below the knees (A). Rock up and balance on your glutes (B). Keeping your back long and chest lifted, straighten your legs and extend your arms (C). Hold for three seconds, then tuck in and roll back to start.
- Squat to a chair-Stand in front of a chair with your feet shoulder width apart. Then, push your hips backward, bend your knees and lower yourself down slowly to sit down on the chair. From here, lean forwards at the hips with a straight back, push down into your heels and stand up straight.
- Toe the line
- Flamingo stand-Use a chair or wall for support as you stretch your right leg forward. Maintain good posture by keeping your spine, neck, and head in one line. To increase the difficulty, extend your hand to reach for your right foot. Hold for up to 15 seconds. Then do the opposite side.
- Back leg raises-Grab a chair or sturdy object and stand facing the back of the chair, holding it with both hands. Lift one leg out behind you slowly but do not go past the point of tension. Lower your leg and repeat for a series of repetitions and then alternate legs.
- Side leg raises-Side leg raises involve abducting, or pushing away, the leg from your midline. It’s a great and simple way to build strength in the outer thighs and the hip abductors, which includes the gluteus medius and minimus. You can do it lying down or standing using just your body weight.
- Tightrope walk-If you’re looking for a new way to challenge your balance, posture and core strength, the answer can be as simple as a piece of rope, wire or nylon. Walking a tightrope or slackline — made of nylon or polyester webbing that is tied looser than a traditional hemp or wire tightrope — can be a novel way to exercise.
- Balancing wand-You basically sit down and try to balance the object while moving it around and maintaining normal breathing. The balancing wand is a great exercise for building your static balance capabilities.
- Wall pushups-Start in a plank position but with your hands out wider than your shoulders. Begin to lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping your core tight and your back flat, until your chest grazes the floor. Elbows will flare more than in a standard pushup. Immediately extend your elbows and push your body back up.
- Heel raises-The heel raise (also called heel lifts or calf raises) is a simple exercise, usually performed without weights. The exercise primarily strengthens muscles of the calf and can be useful for athletic fitness, physical therapy, general fitness, and more.
When doing balance exercises it’s important to have good walking shoes, a floor mat, chair for balance and someone to supervise in case you need extra help.
Fun Balance Exercises For Elderly
Water aerobics are great for seniors because it eliminates the concern about falling on the ground and causes buoyancy which reduces stress on feet, knees and hips. The process of the water moving, pushes on the body which challenges the person to force balance. Improving bone density and helping strengthen muscles are great benefits to water aerobics. There are various water exercises that you can do: aqua jogging, flutter kicking, leg lifts, arm curls and standing water pushups. When a senior is starting out in the pool it’s a good idea to wear water shoes so the feet don’t get scrapped up on the bottom of the pool and be sure to not swim alone. There are classes available for water aerobics at community centers and gyms. Check your local directory for options in your area.
Yoga is known to encourage a mind-body stress free experience that combines stretch and strengthening posture. It incorporates breathing and relaxation in a group or private setting. Balance is one of the valuable benefits of yoga that can help seniors be more steady on foot and reduce risk of falls. Special poses can be used for seniors that focus on improving core stability and abdominal muscles. There are different types of yoga that I will discuss more in detail in a future article.
This is a fun and entertaining video that you can watch on YouTube and do at home. I think it’s a fantastic way to stay motivated and engaged in a routine. Leslie Sansone will teach you here to warm up, take your resting pulse, learn a 33-minute program, cool down and ending with a recovery pulse. The Mayo Clinic suggests taking your pulse rate before and after exercise. To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery — which is located on the thumb side of your wrist. When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by four to calculate your beats per minute.
There are also many other videos available from Leslie. Be sure to check them out on YouTube.
The best balance exercises for seniors can be helpful for every age group. Some additional tips to remember when trying to improve balance are to always maintain an active lifestyle, a healthy weight, participate in strength training activities and be sure to use a walking aid when necessary. When exercising remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
Another helpful device for at home workouts are elliptical machines. Elliptical machines are available online but I highly recommend trying it out before purchasing. I ordered mine online by going here and it was delivered to my home. My review of the Schwinn A40 Elliptical is available here.
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