How to Improve Balance and CoordinationJanuary 15, 2020
Have you ever hit a particularly slick section on the floor or lost your footing on a walk? We may stumble for a second, but often we are able to catch ourselves before causing serious injury.
As we age, though, it may become increasingly difficult to catch our balance. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one out of four older people falls each year.
Though our coordination may decline as we age, there are exercises and activities that we can participate in to improve our strength and stability. Keep reading to find a few recommended balance exercises for seniors that may help you avoid serious injury from a fall.
3 Senior Exercises for Balance
- Chair Leg Raises: Sit in a chair with your spine straight and both feet directly under your knees. Slowly straighten your right leg, holding it in the air for a few seconds, and then lower it back down. Repeat with your left leg. Perform as many sets as you feel comfortable doing, with about 10-20 repetitions each set.
- Sidestep: Stand with your feet together, and keep your knees slightly bent. Slowly step to the side with your right foot, then bring your left foot to join. Repeat for 10-15 steps. Then, repeat the exercise with your left foot leading. Until you’re completely comfortable with this exercise, we recommend performing this near a wall as a point of contact.
- Single Leg Stand: A great beginner balance exercise, and an exercise we would recommend starting with, is the single limb stance. For this exercise, simply hold on to a chair and lift your right leg, balancing on your left leg. Hold for a few seconds and then lower your right leg. Switch sides and lift your left leg. Hold for a few seconds before lowering your left leg back down to the ground. Repeat as necessary. As you get stronger, perform this exercise without holding on to the chair.
Although these are a few common balance exercises to begin with, always be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about concerns over loss of balance. They’ll have the best insight into your personal history and situation and will be better equipped to offer balance exercises suited to fit your needs.
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