Balance Exercises For Seniors And The Elderly


Balance Exercises for seniors and the elderly like the grapevine below, are essential to maintain or improve your current state of balance. Below I have made a great balance video that is fun and easy to do.

All you need is comfortable loose fitting clothing,  and a pair of smooth bottom shoes to wear so you won’t catch your feet. Read on then give it a try. This exercise is a must for age-related balance problems.

It is critical that you work on increasing your ability to safely perform your daily chores by practicing these balance exercises. With the introduction of this balance exercise in our series of 12 exercises, we are performing not only a moving exercise but a sideways moving exercise.

This is a challenging balance exercise. If you are not dancing regularly and have less than good balance, then you may need help. If that is the case, it is better to start by holding on to the back of a chair when attempting to perform this exercise.

Ask for help

Better yet, call into the kitchen and get a family member out here! That’s right. Put them to good use. Start by crossing your right foot over the left, then step together.

Move about 10 feet in one direction, then return back by crossing the left foot over the right and then stepping together. If this is too hard you will  need to modify the exercise by simply side stepping.

Do not cross your feet.Side step ten feet to the right, then side step back to the left. Gradually you will improve to the point where it will be possible to cross one foot over the other and really do the “grapevine”!

Purpose of this exercise

This exercise improves your ability to sidestep around objects like your coffee table or pet. This exercise improves your ability to sidestep around objects like your coffee table or pet. Lessens the chance of tripping over your own feet when changing directions.

Step 1

Begin standing with arms at sides, feet together.


Step 2

Step across in front of your right foot with Left leg. Continue across your living room sideways uncrossing the left leg. Then reverse directions and cross your left leg behind your right leg. Continue to step sideways, uncrossing the right leg.



Breathe normally, inhale through the nose and exhale out the mouth.


Wear smooth bottom shoes to reduce the chance of  your shoe to catch.Begin practicing in the kitchen holding on to a counter. Try holding on to someones hands if you are not sure you can do this exercise.

Use a chair as a place to not only perform seated exercise but also to hold on to while standing. Hold on with your finger, one hand or two hands.

Take it up a notch

Try lifting your chest and looking straight ahead when sidestepping.Use tape on your floor to make a straight line. Try to stay on the line to increase the difficulty.

How to do Grapevine

How to do Grapevine

More Balance Exercises

1. Single limb stance

  • A great place to begin is with the simplest standing balance exercise. Hold on to a chair and balance on one leg.
  • This is a great place to begin to feel your center of gravity over your ankles. This is your goal, maintaining your center over your ankles.
  • Try a few seconds balancing on each foot. Work up to a minute if you can. Then begin to hold on with one hand, then one finger and finally try to let go completely.

2. Eye tracking

  • Move on to the other exercises with static standing exercises as you gain confidence including this exercise which targets your vision and vestibular system.
  • This exercise can sometimes make you dizzy. If this happens, stop the exercise. Try it again with smaller head movements next time.
  • Gradually you will learn to do it correctly.

3. Clock reach

  • Make sure to hold on to a chair when attempting this exercise to prevent falls in the elderly. Don’t reach back too far if you have pain in your shoulder.
  • (Use your one pound wrist weight here to increase your workout.)

4. Staggered stance

  • Also hold on to a chair when trying this exercise for elderly balance problems. Let go of the chair for a few seconds at a time if you feel comfortable.

5. Single limb with arm

  • Look up from your feet when balancing and pick a spot at eye level in front of you to improve falls in elderly. Lift your chest and bring your shoulders back.
  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth

6. Balancing wand

  • This is a fun exercise and easy to do. Use a cane, broom or even an umbrella.  Don’t have too much fun with these balance exercises for elderly!

7. Knee marching

  • Try this one next to a counter so you can hold on when performing knee marching. This is also a great cardio exercise and for leg muscle weakness.

8. Body circles

  • This exercise for improving balance can be a little tricky. Keep a chair nearby if you are uncomfortable without one.  Make sure your knees and hips are kept straight when you circle.

9. Heel to toe

  • The moving exercises are the most difficult. Only try this balance exercise when you have become good at the preceding exercises.
  • (If you have masking or painters tape, place an 8 to 12 foot piece in a straight line on the carpet or floor. This will allow you to maintain a straighter line when performing the walking exercises.)

10. Grapevine

  • Seniors who dance will be more familiar with these balance exercises. Try it in your kitchen holding on to the counter.
  • Walk several steps in one direction, turn around and walk back. Continue for several minutes. Gradually hold on less and less until you can take a few steps without holding on.
  • It may take a while, but keep practicing…you’ll get it sooner or later!

11. Stepping

  • This series of stepping exercises are very challenging. You may have a stable family member demonstrate these for you first.

12. Dynamic walking

  • Try these only when you feel confident and have a helper in the home.
  • Give them a try when you are stronger and more sure of yourself. These exercises are great to do with someone else.
  • Holding hands with a stable family member will make these exercises easier and safer. (This is where you may use your pad of paper or a small book when walking.)

Resources Prevent Falls