Balance is something we take for granted. As we age, balance issues can cause health problems, but you can limit and even reverse them with fun balance exercises for elderly people. Exercises for elderly people can seriously improve the quality of your life!
Balance issues are one of the leading causes of falls among the elderly. Statistics show even just 12 weeks of balance and coordination training could significantly improve balance, mental function, and the quality of life for seniors.
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for Americans 65 years old and older. Thankfully, these exercises can help reduce the risk of falls as well as increase your ability to recover from a fall. Fun balance exercises for elderly remain one of the best and most natural ways to stabilize balance when you hit the golden years.
Falling is a complex problem that can be difficult to explain. Often, a senior falls because of:
- Poor balance and coordination that comes with aging
- Impaired vision
- Impaired walking and gait due to loss of good posture and muscle mass
- Slower reaction time due to cognitive decline
- Vertigo, lightheadedness, and dizziness caused by drugs or low blood pressure
- Environmental fall hazards like clutter or slippery floors
In addition, balance exercises for elderly can also be beneficial in many other ways including:
- Increased confidence
- Improved coordination
- Stronger bones
- Better brain function
- Greater muscle mass
Remember, before starting ANY kind of exercise, consult with your doctor to make sure they recommend it.
Keep these things in mind before you start:
- Make sure to warm up first and cool down after
- Stop if you sense any discomfort
- Drink plenty of water
- Don’t overstretch
- Take breaks
- Wear supportive shoes and loose clothing.
SENIOR EXERCISE FOR BALANCE
Head rotation: This helps improve balance by strengthening your neck muscles.
- Stand tall and face forwards.
- Gently rotate your head from left to right and then up to down. Repeat in the opposite direction.
- Perform about 5-10 times.
Shoulder rolls: This helps improve arm mobility and core strength. You can either sit straight or stand.
- Gently rotate your shoulders backward. Then up towards the ceiling and down.
- Repeat the motion forwards.
- Complete 10 times.
Single-leg stance: This helps build core strength. You can hold on to the back of a chair for support if needed. However, the goal should be to stand without any support.
- Stand straight on the floor. Be comfortable and sturdy.
- Slowly lift your right foot off the floor and hold for 10 seconds.
- Lower your right foot and repeat with the left.
- Repeat 5-10 times.
Single leg stance with arm: This exercise engages the core muscles, building core strength and coordination.
- Stand facing forwards.
- Lift your right leg off the floor.
- Simultaneously lift your right arm straight above your head.
- Hold for 10 seconds, then gently lower both your foot and arm.
- Repeat on your left sidet.
- Repeat 5-10 times.
Tree pose: This originates from yoga.
- Stand on one leg with the other foot resting on your standing knee.
- Hold your palms together either in front of you or above your head.
- Stay in this position for a minute and repeat 5 times.
Single leg raises: You can use a chair or a tall grab bar for support.
- Stand straight, keeping a good posture.
- Slowly lift your right foot an inch above the ground without bending your knees while keeping your left foot firmly planted.
- Flex your calves to make this more challenging.
- Hold for 10 seconds before moving onto the next leg and repeat 10 times.
Rock the boat: Use a chair for support for this one. This addresses standing balance issues.
- Stand facing forwards.
- Gently lift your right leg out to the side while leaning slightly to the left.
- Hold for five seconds, then place your leg back down.
- Do the same with the left leg. Repeat 10 times.
Heel to toe: This exercise engages the core muscles as well as strengthens your calf muscles.
- Take a step forwards by putting your right foot in front of your left, so that the heel touches the toes.
- Slowly shift your body weight on your right leg as you lift your left foot to place it in front, again touching the heel to the toes.
- Take 20-30 steps.
Heel lifts: Heel lifts work calves and leg muscles.
- Stand behind a chair, holding onto its back for support.
- Slowly lift both heels off the floor and stand on your toes.
- Hold for 10 seconds before resting. Repeat 10 times.
Toe lifts: This exercise strengthens your lower leg muscles.
- Start by standing behind a chair and holding on.
- Slowly lift your toes off the ground while enabling your heels to support your weight.
- Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10-15 times.
Marching: This improves body awareness and doubles up as a light aerobic workout. You can play some music to add to the rhythm.
- Face forwards to begin.
- Lift your right knee to your hip level while simultaneously swinging out your left arm in front of you.
- Repeat on the other side and speed it up a bit until you’re marching on the spot.
- Continue for one minute.
Ladder: This exercise can be done with a real rope ladder or you can draw one or imagine there is one.
- Step into each rung of the ladder with your right leg and then with your left.
- Then step out the same way.
Balancing Wand: This exercise works eye-hand coordination and strengthens the core.
- Take a cane, broom, or umbrella to use as your wand.
- Hold the wand in your stronger hand.
- Balance the wand until it falls.
- Alternate the hands.
- Repeat 5 times on each side.
Chair squat: This exercise improves core and leg strength.
- Stand in front of a seat your legs hip-width apart. Your chest should be slightly raised.
- Try to lower your hips down while bending your knees.
- You can choose to hover above your chair or just sit down- but don’t push your knees beyond your toes.
- Remaining in this posture, try to lean forward with your whole body, beginning from the hips. Then lower slowly towards the bottom before resuming your initial position.
Body Circles: This exercise steadies your ankles and builds the muscles in your legs and core.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, hands at your sides.
- Ensure your body is straight and gently swing in a circle. Imagine you are spinning a hula hoop.
- Continue swaying for 1 minute, breathing normally (inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth).
Remember to stand tall throughout the day to build the muscles up that keep you balanced. Rounded or curved posture tends to make us lean forward and increases the risk of falling. Stand in front of a mirror and check to see if you need to adjust the way you stand.
Balance exercises after stroke
These balance exercises can improve the quality of life for any person, but especially older individuals. If you have had a stroke, they are particularly important to help you regain your quality of life after your stroke.
The sooner you get back to moving, the more you can regain of what you lost from the stroke. It’s very important to keep moving.
These balance exercises are going to improve the quality of your life exponentially and I am so excited to hear how they work for you. If you need some assistance on getting started, check out a personal trainer to teach you the moves or join a group fitness class.
Exercises for seniors
For more exercises for elderly people, check these out:
- Resistance band exercises for seniors
- Exercise for arthritic knees and hips
- Leg strengthening exercises for seniors
- back strengthening exercises
- Arm exercises for seniors
Now for a joke: I work at a bank, one day a woman asked me to check her balance so I pushed her over. Wakka wakka wakka!