Senior And Elderly Balance Problems
Tandem or Staggered Stance
When we encounter elderly balance problems with ourselves or a family member, they are usually a result of generalized age-related declines in muscular and sensory functions.
I have made a great balance video that is fun and easy to do. All you need is a chair, 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. After 50 years of age we begin to lose 10 percent of our strength per decade of life which can lead to elderly balance problems.
Daily balance exercises can help reduce the rate of decline. Many older adults will not only have balance changes due to aging but also experience declines because of medical conditions like macular degeneration, cataracts and peripheral neuropathy. In these cases it is vital to continue to work on improving your balance by daily exercises.
Practice everyday for elderly balance problems, try at least two balance exercises every day like the staggered stance exercise. To improve you or your family members elderly balance problems, we must address the cause.
As long as there is no other indication that the problem is more serious, you can bet it is probably due to generalized age related changes. These are decreased lower body strength, decreased reaction times and inactivity.
Try this exercise for elderly balance problems which is great for improving balance, lower body strength and just plain old “too much sitting around”!
You will get the hang of it. Practice every day if you can.As I say, “practice makes….permanent!”. So don’t practice “inactivity” or you will get good at it! Good luck!
Purpose of this exercise
Improves our static or “standing” balance. Strengthens our ankles for greater ability to maintain our center of gravity.
Begin with feet together and hands at sides.
Step forward with your right foot. Maintain this position for 10 seconds.Alternate putting the other foot in front.
Breathe normally, in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Lift chest and look at the wall eye level. Hold on to a chair if needed.Practice with tape on the floor for more accuracy.
Take it up a notch
Try this with your eyes closed. Try turning at the waist while standing.Stand on a pillow for a more challenging workout.
How to perform Staggered Stance
More Balance Exercises
FIRST: Make sure to sign up for my Eldergym® Senior Fitness Newsletter to make the most of these exercises and receive my free 4 week exercise program!
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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
- 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!
- 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.)
- 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!
- 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