As we age, our bodies start to lose their ability to maintain balance. This is exacerbated by muscle loss if we’re not getting as much exercise as we used to. People also experience reduced balance after surgeries or when taking certain medications. That can lead to an increase in falls and a reduced feeling of stability. Just because we’re getting older doesn’t mean we can’t still maintain great balance and do the things we love. Getting better balance means understanding how balance works. Here, we’ll show you the different systems involved in balance and give you a list of the best balance exercises for seniors.
1. Head Rotation
- Head rotations can help improve balance in situations when vision changes are involved.
- Stand tall with your feet in line with your hips.
- Gently rotate your head from left to right and then up and down for 30 seconds. If you start to feel dizzy, stop or move your head more slowly.
- If the dizziness doesn’t dissipate, stop the exercise and try again later.
- You can also try this exercise sitting down first and work your way up to doing it while standing.
2. Flamingo stand
- Shift your weight onto your right foot.
- Lift your left foot and extend your leg forward.
- Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Increase the difficulty by reaching your hands toward your extended foot.
- Return to the starting position and shake out your legs.
- Repeat 3 times.
- Then do the opposite side.
3. Back Leg Raises
- This strength training exercise for seniors makes your bottom and your lower back stronger.
- Stand behind a chair.
- Slowly lift your right leg straight back – don’t bend your knees or point your toes.
- Hold that position for one second, then gently bring your leg back down.
- Repeat this ten to 15 times per leg.
4. Tree pose
- From standing, shift your weight onto your right foot.
- Position your left foot to the side with your heel lifted, or place the sole of your foot against your ankle, shin, or thigh.
- Place your hands in any comfortable position.
- Hold for up to 1 minute.
- Then do the opposite side.
5. Wall Pushups
- Stand an arm’s length in front of a wall that doesn’t have any paintings, decorations, windows or doors.
- Lean forward slightly and put your palms flat on the wall at the height and width of your shoulders.
- Keep your feet planted as you slowly bring your body towards the wall.
- Gently push yourself back so that your arms are straight.
- Do twenty of these.
6. Toe Lifts
- Stand straight and put your arms in front of you.
- Raise yourself up on your toes as high as you can go, then gently lower yourself.
- Don’t lean too far forward on the chair or counter.
- Lift and lower yourself 20 times.
7. Calf Stretches
- To do calf stretches while standing, find a wall with nothing on it. Stand facing the wall with your hands at eye level.
- Place your left leg behind your right leg. Keep your left heel on the floor and bend your right knee.
- Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat two to four times per leg.
- If you want to stretch your calves while sitting, you’ll need a towel. Sit on the floor with your legs straight.
- Put the towel around the soles of your right foot and hold both ends.
- Pull the towel towards you while keeping your knee straight and hold it for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise two to four times per leg.