Exercises For Improving Balance For Seniors And The Elderly; Body Circles
Exercises for improving balance are vital in helping seniors and the elderly reduce the risk of falling.
For generalized balance decline, I recommend performing balance exercises on a daily basis.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.
Working on our static or "standing" balance with exercises like body circles below will greatly assist in increasing our stability.
An important component of exercises for improving balance is your ability to integrate your sensory information as you go about your day.
This information comes from your eyes, vestibular apparatus in your ears, and your somatosensory system which allows you to know where your body is in space.
How do you handle standing on hard cement, soft grass, gravel surfaces or carpet. Try standing on different surfaces as you perform the exercise below called body circles.
If you are unsure of your balance when closing your eyes while standing, hold on to your good buddy the chair to start. This is always a great option when performing balancing exercises.
You can do it.
This is one of my favorite exercises to strengthen the ankles, which are our first line of defense when it comes to losing your balance.
Your ankles keep your torso centered over your base of support.
When performing exercises for improving balance, like the one below, try to keep your knees and hips stiff and straight.
Purpose of this exercise
This will enhance the work your ankles need to do and will make the exercise that much better.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart, hands at sides.
Keeping your body straight, slowly sway in a circle.
Continue for 1 minute.
Breathe normally, in through the nose and out through the mouth.
If you get dizzy, stop.
Keep your body straight.
Don't hold your breath.
Hold your arms out to the sides if you need more support
Take it up a notch
Bring your feet closer together for a more challenging workout.
Hold a sheet of paper with both hands and read while swaying.
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"I help seniors become strong and stable even if they have never exercised before." - Doug Schrift PT
- 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.)