Falling Exercises for Seniors

These falling exercises for seniors will help you improve your leg strength, help you maintain your balance after a nudge, and help reduce your risk of falling. Balance exercises should be performed several times a week to keep us upright and stable as we go about our day.

Keeping your balance involves maintaining your torso over your base of support whether standing still or while walking. This is the goal of any balance exercise. There are many exercises that challenge your ability to keep your center of gravity in place.

  1. Leg Swings
  2. Heel to Toe Walking
  3. Figure Eight
  4. Sit to Stand
Watch my instructional video

This series of falling exercises for seniors, will help improve your 3 systems of balance including sensory, vestibular, and visual systems. Leg swings are a great balance challenge, requiring single limb stance while swinging the other leg. This movement forces your senses to maintain your torso still over your planted ankle. Heel to toe walking will strengthen your ankles and promote good sensory feedback for your hips. Figure of eight walking works on the motion component of balance, maintaining your center of gravity over your feet while moving. Our sit to stand exercises are fundamental for leg strength and posture.

Exercise 1

Leg Swings. To perform a leg swing, begin at the side of your chair for safety. While balancing on your inside leg, swing your outside leg forward and backward in a smooth motion. Keep your posture while swinging your leg, ribs lifted head forward, holding on to the chair. Repeat one minute on each side. Focus on maintaining your center of gravity over your planted foot. This exercise challenges your balance by disrupting your ability to keep your torso over your ankle.

Exercise 2

Heel to Toe Walking. This is a great ankle strengthening exercise as well as a great balance exercise. Begin by rising up on your toes, holding onto a wall or chair. Walk around the chair or against the wall on your toes for a minute. Then reverse and walk on your heels for a minute over the same area.

Exercise 3

Figure Eight. Use two chairs spaced apart so you can walk between them. Begin standing next to your chair and simply walk around both chairs in a figure of eight pattern. Try to keep your eyes ahead and raised. Walk for two minutes, then reverse directions. To increase the challenge, try walking backward in a figure of 8 pattern.

Exercise 4

Sit to Stand. Begin sitting in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Scoot up to the front edge of the chair. Bring your toes back to under your knees. If you need to place your hands on the chair, hold onto the side or arm rests. Begin leaning forward until your nose is over your toes. From here power up from your legs until reaching the standing position. Squeeze your glutes when in full standing and bring your shoulders back and down. Reverse the sequence by taking a bow and bringing your tailbone back to the chair to sit. Repeat 10 times.

Remember to think of safety when deciding which balance exercises to perform. Seniors generally have a decreased sense of balance and need some simple safety tips before attempting to exercise. Try to have a family member present to assist when doing balance exercises. They can stay close to your and gently help while trying these exercises. Having a chair handy is another good safety measure. Hold on to the chair while performing these exercises until your balance improves.

A good limbering pre-exercise routine is another good workout format to follow. Improving your blood flow, increasing the temperature of your muscles and joints will make balancing easier than a stiff body that is not able to easily move.

Try to include exercises that work on your 3 balance systems including your visual system, vestibular system, and somatosensory system. These work together in maintaining your stability.

Balance and falling exercises for seniors should be a regular part of your workout week. I like at least including one balance session per week in my programming. This will include today’s exercises for single limb stance, sit to stand, walking in a formation exercises, and the king of senior exercises the classic sit to stand exercise.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like to see other exercises or senior fitness content. You can leave your comments and suggestions on my About Page. Need personal help? Check out my new Academy. Exercise is really your magic pill to feel better and live longer. Remember to stay active, stay strong, and stay connected!

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Doug Schrift

Doug Schrift is a Physical Therapist, Certified Geriatric Specialist, and senior fitness coach. Doug helps seniors become strong and stable even if they have never exercised before.