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Best Balance Exercises For Seniors

Updated on January 12, 2019

Balance Exercises For Seniors Can Be Completed Anywhere

Balance exercises for seniors are important enough to your daily routine of healthy living that you should also try to have a few exercises in your repertoire that can be done from anywhere, not just in your regular area for exercising.

This will let you continue to work on improving your balance, even if you are traveling.

Some of these you could even do while you were standing in waiting for someone to help you at the post office, or waiting on someone and no one would even notice that you were actually exercising.

However, you would want to make sure that there is something close by that you could use to maintain your balance and steady you in case you start to fall.

6 Balance Exercise Safety Tips For Seniors

  • #1. Before you begin any new exercise regime, be sure to check with your doctor. Your doctor should be able to tell you if your intended exercise plan is healthy for you when compared to your overall health and well-being.In addition, your doctor can make sure that your loss of balance is not due to another more serious illness than simply aging.
  • #2. Take it slow. Don’t try to rush through an exercise routine. Make sure that you have one balance exercise for seniors down pat before you move on to the next one. Don’t use sudden movements between motions. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to balance exercises. If you are completing a seated exercise and are switching to a standing exercise, stand up slowly as well.
  • #3. Use something to steady yourself. A simple solution for this is a chair in front of you. Not only can you use the chair during exercises from a seated position, but you can also use it for supports. If you feel quite steady, you can also limit how much of it you use to just a finger instead of a tight grip. However, having that chair there is quite an important safety step.
  • #4. Keep your eyes open! This sounds obvious, but sometimes exercise can put us in a state of relaxation that makes you want to close your eyes. However, keep your eyes open while you are exercising. This alone can help you with your balance.
  • #5. Try doing the exercises with a partner the first few times. This way you can make sure that you aren’t doing any exercises that are too challenging for you at the start. A partner can give you a hand if you need it and act as a necessary spotter in case things don’t go as smoothly as you would like them to.
  • #6. If it seems too hard, don’t do it! This isn’t a contest, so don’t push it unnecessarily. Only do what you are comfortable doing.

Overall, it is good to realize that safety comes first when it comes to balance exercises. Don’t try to become an expert overnight. Take it slowly, and keep practicing.

You will find your strength coming back and before you know it you will have better balance than you can remember having in years.

How Do You Know If The Balance Exercises You Are Doing Are Working?

As a senior, one of the most important things that you can do to work on improving your everyday health is to do daily balance exercises for seniors.

However, if you have been doing this for a while, it can be hard to track your progress. How do you know if what you are doing is actually working?

Like a professional or amateur athlete records their data to track progress, you can use some of these same techniques to see if you have been improving your overall sense of balance.

Use a simple set of metrics to record your results when doing balance exercises for seniors.

A Simple Set Of Metrics

  • Time yourself. To do this, get yourself an easy to read stopwatch or even a kitchen timer. When you complete your daily exercises every day, write down how long you were able to hold each exercise for, and how many sets of repetitions you were able to complete.
  • Don’t be alarmed if you don’t see dramatic changes immediately, you are looking to see the rate of change over time in both your timing and numbers.
  • Also look to see if you have increased the number of daily exercises that you are doing. Doing more exercises daily can increase your overall stamina.
  • If you would like to see your numbers in different kinds of forms, it can be relatively easy to create a chart of your numbers to see your improvement in a visual form.

Too often, we get frustrated without seeing actual results; however, you need to take a long term view on this.

Accountability Through Others

Another way to insure that you continue to improve through your balance exercises is to use others to help you stay accountable.

Many local senior community centers offer exercise programs, or a list of community resources for people that are interested in exercising. Use these resources to help find yourself an exercise partner.

By making an appointment to see someone else to exercise every day (or even just a few days a week) you are more likely to actually follow through with the exercise because someone else is counting on you.

You are also able to serve as each other’s safety spotters, and can offer encouragement to each other along the way. A partner is also a good person to ask if they see improvement in your balance, and they can offer tips on how your form looks.

No one likes to exercise on their own, and having a partner can make sure that you exercise even on days when you would rather not.

Continuing to keep doing your daily balance exercises for seniors is an important part of maintaining a healthy and safe personal lifestyle.

Through strengthening your muscles you can make sure that you avoid falling or tripping just because your sense of balance has started to fade. Balance improvement doesn’t happen overnight, it happens slowly over time.

By keeping track of your results and having an exercise partner, you are putting yourself on the right path to success.

A Balance Exercise For Seniors: The Side Leg Raise

Balance exercises for seniors are an important part of daily, healthy living. By improving the strength of your leg and core muscles, you are working to make sure that you aren’t prone to injury and falls from balance problems.

According to the National Institute of Health, more than 300,000 Americans are treated for broken hips annually.

With a large percentage of those injured being senior adults, it is important to prevent falling before it happens. Even if you have not yet started to experience balance problems, improving your balance will help you stay healthy into the future. Maintaining independence through healthy living is a positive goal for all.

While some balance exercises are only to help you become more aware of your center of gravity and help you improve your balance through small movements, other exercises help to strengthen the muscles of your lower body. One of these balance exercises for seniors is a side leg raise.

Side leg raises improve the muscles on the sides of your hips and thighs.

8 Steps To Complete Side Leg Raises

  1. As you would before beginning any exercise program, be sure to contact your doctor before beginning a balance routine.
  2. Place a chair in front of you to use as support in case you lose your balance. A tighter grip on the chair is normal for beginners, but you may find yourself relying on it less and less as you become more accustomed to the exercise.

  3. To begin, lift your right leg straight out from your body to the right side, only about six to twelve inches into the air. Remember to hold the chair in front of you with your left hand. You want to keep both of your legs straight while holding the leg in the air out to the side. For your first try, ten seconds is a good goal. Remember to keep breathing while you hold your leg out for those ten seconds. Keep your toes pointed straight ahead, don’t point them down.

  4. Slowly bring your leg back down to meet your other leg. During your entire balance exercise process you want to avoid and sudden, jerky movements. These can cause you to lose your balance or pull a muscle unintentionally.

  5. Switch legs, and lift your left leg away from your body up in to the air about six to twelve inches away from your body. You should switch your support hand to your right hand, using it to grip the chair for support. Again, hold your leg there for about ten seconds.

  6. Continue to alternate between your right and left legs until you have completed ten sets of leg raises with each leg.

  7. Rest! Resting is important for any exercise routine, and will help you keep going.

  8. Repeat the entire cycle.

By continuing to practice these balance exercises for seniors, you will slowly improve your strength and balance, working to prevent any future falls or injuries.

These steps are important enough to work into your daily routine. If you won’t do them on your own, ask a friend to join you every day.

Chair Exercises For Seniors

As we get older our bodies start to slow down and the muscles that were building all throughout our lives now start to decrease.

The older we get the more at risk we are for muscle atrophy or loss of the muscle itself. This can lead to many problems and is common among seniors especially those with already ailing health.

The older that they get the more decreased that there muscles become. There are also more things than muscles to worry about. If a person stays still all the time they are at risk for blood clots, the inability to move and nerve damage.

This is why it is so important to make sure that seniors do many different exercises to help encourage movements and make sure that they are in the best health possible.

Unfortunately many seniors have health problems making it nearly impossible for them to get up and walk around or do any kind of heavy exercising. This could lead to problems with their heart or they could just not have the energy or the ability to do exercises.

Thankfully there are more options than just walking and going to the gym. An elderly person can do chair exercises.

Chair exercises for seniors is one of the great ways to ensure that a senior is moving and keeping their muscles from wasting away and decreasing their risks of the inability to walk or forming a blood clot.

Exercising also helps to decrease symptoms of different ailments that a senior citizen might have.

A senior can exercise many different parts of their body all from a chair. The chair can be a recliner, a kitchen chair or even a wheelchair.

Getting Started

When a senior wants to get started on exercising they will want to start out by stretching their hands and ankles.

This will help them be more flexible and less prone to soreness. They should stretch and make fists with their hands multiple times.

For the ankles the ankle should be stretched and rotated around to make sure that the foot is flexible. A repetition count of at least 5 to 10 will help to increase the elasticity of the muscle and help aid in movement.

The next body part that the senior will want to work out is the neck. The neck needs to be exercised every day to help prevent soreness and problems with the neck.

A great exercise for the neck is to touch the neck back and forth from chin to chest as well as turning from right to left.

The next place the senior will want to stretch is the chest and stomach. This can be done by leaning forward and making fists and going in a back and forth motion. It is suggested that at least 10 repetitions will help.

Strengthening The Arms

Many seniors develop weakness in their arms as they age. This can be more severe in some seniors and less prominent in others.

To help rebuild strength and keep the strength that the senior has it is suggested that there are plenty of arm exercises given.

First the senior will want to start out by making sure that they are well stretched. After that the senior can start out with small dumbbell weights.

Making sure that they are small the senior can lift the weight up and down as well as from side to side to help encourage muscle strength in the arm. If one arm gets tired quickly it is suggested to only do one arm at a time.

If the senior does not have access to a dumbbell a can of vegetables or a water bottle is a great substitute. The senior will most benefit from an exercise routine that offers at least 10-15 repetitions per arm.

Leg Strengthening

Weakness in the legs can mean trouble for a senior and can leave them with the inability to walk. It can also lead to blood clots in the legs as well as nerve problems.

Keeping the legs as active as possible is very important. The senior will of course want to stretch the leg and only use one leg at a time during the exercise.

First the leg will be stretched out and can be bent back and forth for around 10 repetitions. If the senior wants a further workout small weights can be attached to special socks where the leg can be lifted back and forth with the weights.

Also pushing small items such as a can of vegetables or pushing a stool around the floor can help to increase strength.

Making sure that seniors stay active is important. While all seniors may not be able to get around they can definitely complete chair exercises for seniors. This can help them alleviate problems as well as prevent problems in the future.

With many exercise routines out there for chair exercises a senior will have no trouble finding some sort of exercise that fits their needs.

2 Effective Standing Balance Exercises For Seniors

Since maintaining your balance while walking or standing is so important for seniors, completing balance exercises to strengthen those skills can be quite important as well.

You want to build your balance and strength in order to prevent falling in the future. By doing exercises on a daily basis you can improve your posture, your strength, and your balance.

Always use a chair to support you while doing these standing exercises. The chair can serve to both steady you, and provide you a place to sit and rest if you need it.

Exercise 1:

One of the most basic standing exercises is to try to balance on one leg. Try it the first time for only a few seconds while you continue to hold onto the chair for support.

With your hands at your side and holding on to the chair, bend your leg at the knee and lift up your foot so that it is behind you.

You don’t have to lift it very high; you are just holding it slightly in the air.

Concentrate on holding the leg in the air and feel where your gravity is impacting that leg. You want to have your center of gravity over your ankles.

After doing the one leg stand for a few seconds on one leg, switch and try it with the other.

Slowly work yourself up to holding the leg for a minute at a time, while still holding the chair. Once you feel comfortable, you can try standing on one leg with using less and less support from your spotter chair.

Exercise 2:

Another good starter exercise to build and strengthen balance is the staggered stance exercise.

This is also a standing exercise, so you will want to use your support chair again. To complete the exercise, stand to the right of your support chair and hold on to the chair with your left hand.

With your right foot, step forward and hold your position for ten seconds. When you have finished exercising first with your right foot, then switch to the other side of the chair. Then, step forward with your second, or left, foot for ten seconds.

This is a great exercise to strengthen your ankles. Look straight ahead while you do the exercise. If you would like to make sure that you are stepping in a straight line, you can put tape down on the floor to guide you.

During all of these exercises, you want to make sure that you don’t forget to breathe. It is a common mistake when anyone exercises to start concentrating so hard that you forget to breathe normally.

Both of these exercises are good beginner exercises because other than moving your leg initially, it is not really a “moving exercise.”

The strength comes from holding the pose, not from your actions during the pose. If anything feels uncomfortable, don’t force it.

This is meant to be a help to your everyday life, not something that holds you back. Soon, you’ll have both of these exercises down pat.

4 Effective Stretching Exercises For Seniors

Everyone has to face the fact that one day they will be a senior citizen. As a person gets older, they start to run into problems with mobility.

Some older people start to get arthritis causing both muscles and joints to become stiff. Studies have shown that a person who isn’t very physical active as they get older will end up with a lot of health problems.

A person getting older should not mean the end of exercising.

Here is more information on some stretching exercises for seniors that help them stay flexible and healthy.

Exercise 1: Seated Overhead Stretch

An older person that does stretching exercises can keep their muscles and joints flexible, and another great benefit to doing stretching exercises is that it can help an older person’s weight down because the exercise will speed up their metabolism.

Regular exercise will also help an older person keep their blood sugar levels within a normal range.

For the seated overhead stretch, you will need a strong, solid, straight backed chair. Once you are seated with your feet flat on the floor, with your arms to the side.

Remember to sit up in the chair as straight as possible as you lift both of yours arm and hold them straight out in front of you.

The best way to know if you have the position right is to imagine reaching out for something in front of you, and then you are going to raise the arms over your head holding that position for a count of five.

Return your arms to your side and repeat the exercise a total of ten times.

Exercise 2: Calf Stretches

Your legs are very important because without them you could not get around. There are two main calf muscles, the gastrocnemius and the soleus.

You will need another sturdy chair for this exercise. Place the chair on the bare floor, which will ensure that it won’t slip because you will be putting your weight on this chair, and you will be using this chair as a support for the exercises.

You will stand behind the chair placing your hands on the back of the chair. Be sure that you have a good grip on that chair as you extend your feet behind you one at a time.

It is important that while you are doing this exercise the knee of the other leg is slightly bent.

Stretch the leg backward with your heel pointed toward your ceiling and hold yourself in this position for fifteen to thirty seconds. Do this exercise a total of ten times.

Exercise 3: Side stretches

A great stretching exercise to help keep your back and abdominal muscles nice and loose.

You begin but sitting in a chair with your feet about a foot apart. You will place your hands behind you head lacing your fingers.

To begin this exercise, you will slowly bend your waist and bring the elbow close to your side.

You will feel the stretch on the opposite side of your body. Repeat this exercise a total of ten times, which is five times on each side.

Exercise 4: Knee To Chest Stretch

There are two areas of the body that can really become stiff as a person gets older, the knees and the back.

This exercise will require you to lie on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor slightly set apart.

With your arms at your side, begin lifting one leg up and toward your chest then put your arms around it and holds it to your chest for ten to fifteen seconds then let go. Repeat this exercise five times for each leg.

Don’t forget to breathe: Many people forget to breathe whenever they exercise. The important thing to remember is to take in a breath then hold it as you do an exercise, and then blow the air out slowly.

This is an added benefit to the stretching exercises because you will be giving your lungs some exercise as well.

Also, the drawing in of each breath will pull your stomach in, and this will also help reduce the fat in your stomach and help your waist nice and trim. Even senior citizens want a nice trim waist.

Stretching exercises are an important part of getting older. As a person ages, he or she may notice changes in their bodies like stiff muscles and joints.

Studies have shown that a person keeping active with stretching exercises can keep their bodies flexible. There are some specific stretching exercises that can keep the legs, back, and knees nice and strong.

People who are exercise as they get older will not only keep such things as arthritis from making them stiff, but exercising will also keep a senior citizen healthier overall.

When Traveling...

Another good exercise for improving balance as a senior to do while you are traveling simply involves the way you get in and out of a chair.

We all know that as you get older, it can be more and more difficult to get yourself in and out of chairs. But just like anything else, you can practice doing this, so that you don’t continue to have as many problems with this daily task.

Practice sitting yourself down into a chair without using your hands on the armrests, but just out on your side for balance (if you lose your balance, you should fall back into the chair, so a cushioned arm chair is good for this exercise).

Once you are seated, try standing back up again without using your arms to do so. You might not be able to do this the first couple of times you try this exercise but you should improve over time.

This is a great exercise to practice when you are in a hotel, because there is often a cushioned arm chair in a hotel room, and the exercise itself doesn’t take up a lot of space.

It is a simple truth that one of the keys to exercise is to make it a part of your daily routine, and traveling puts that routine at risk. Try some of these balance exercises for seniors the next time you travel.

They don’t require special equipment or a gym; they simply require you making the time out of your day to make sure that this gets done.

Walking Is Great Exercise!

The first one is just a form of conscious walking where, you concentrate on your balance while you walk.

This exercise, where you walk heel to toe, has you place the heel of your first foot directly in front of the end of the opposite foot every time you step forward.

Your feet are just about, but not quite, touching each other for every step that you take. If you do daily cardio exercises like walking around a local track, try alternating laps, where one lap you walk normally, and the second lap you do with your special heel to toe balance walk.

This is good to do with a partner, so that you don’t slip back into normal walking by accident.

© 2019 Tom

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