One complex skill most people have mastered is the ability to stand and balance. Most of the time, without any conscious thought, balancing is ingrained in the way we move. It’s very likely you are not even aware that balance plays a huge part in providing equilibrium as you navigate your way around the environment.
Unfortunately, for many older citizens, it can be a struggle simply to balance. Causes of imbalance can be attributed to weakness, dizziness, stroke, Lewy Body Disorder, Parkinson’s disease, and more. The result from a loss of balance can be mild to severe, and all too often, balance issues have led to senior injuries and falls.
Since balance issues are common among the older generation, we’re going to introduce you to some balance exercises for seniors. By doing these exercises regularly, you and your loved one may be able to better maintain good balance and experience other health benefits.
Benefits of Exercising
Exercise has always been an important aspect in our lives, and as we progress in years, it becomes even more so. To determine whether an individual will age gracefully, two of the most important lifestyle factors are a healthy diet and physical activity. Here are some of the benefits of exercising as we age:
- Decrease fall risks
- Disease prevention
- Improve coordination
- Strengthen bones
- Faster reaction time
- Enjoy better sleep
- Improved cognitive function
- Increased muscle mass
Here are some balance exercises you should try out:
- Body circles: Stand up straight, arms down. In a circle, slowly sway your body – first forward, from one side to the other, to the back, and finally front again. Change directions at will.
- Clock reach: Stand in front of something you can lean on (countertop, chair, etc.). Imagine that you are in the center of a clock. Right in front of you is 12. Lift one arm and one leg so that your knee is bent. You will start at noon, move to three, then to 6 o’clock with each arm and leg. Repeat on the other side at noon, nine, and six o’clock.
- Eye tracking: Hold an object in front of your face at a comfortable distance. Without moving your head, follow it with your eyes as you move it back and forth. Do the same thing up and down. This can be done with your arm completely straightened out or bent.
- Leg and arm lift: Stand. Lift one leg comfortably. Leave it elevated for at least 10 seconds. Repeat with the other leg. The same can be done with one arm, then the other. Work yourself up to a minute if possible.
- Knee marching: Stand, face forward, arms down. As high as you comfortably can, lift one knee. Lower back down. The same thing with the other leg, then the first, as if marching.
- Balancing wand: Sit in a chair. Use some sort of pole (like an empty broomstick) for this exercise. You will place one end of it in your hand in an attempt to balance it, straight up and down.
- Heel-to-toe (advanced): Stand heel to toe, with one foot in front of the other. Find a line that you can walk along and, basically, walk the line. Do it without looking down at your feet.
Did you manage to try out all the balance exercises that we’ve recommended? We strongly encourage you to do a few, if not all, of these balance exercises every day. Get a family member or a friend, and start moving together!