6 Best Daily Balance Exercises for Seniors To Prevent Falls
There are some things in life that are unavoidable, and aging is one of them. You can't stay young forever, but there are a few steps you can take to keep your body young and prevent some of the hazards of aging, which include improving your balance and staying injury-free.
We spoke with Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM, a member of our Medical Expert Board and a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach who has helped develop the Body Program at Ro. Ahead, he shares six of the best daily exercises for seniors to prevent falls. Keep yourself safe, and enjoy a beautiful stage of life!
Read on to learn more, and next, don't miss The Best Leg-Strengthening Exercises for Seniors.
Strength training and balance training are key to preventing falls as you age.
Strength training and balance training are the most essential exercises to perform when it comes to avoiding injuries from falling.
Dr. Bohl explains, "Balance training is important for positional awareness, and strength training is important for keeping the muscles strong enough to support the body. Strength training also has the added benefit of supporting bone density, which can help protect against fractures if you do fall."
It's important to note that while you perform exercises to keep yourself balanced and safer from falls as you enjoy daily activities, Dr. Bohl explains, "Safety is very important when attempting any of these exercises, and seniors should work their way up based on ability and skill level. During training, it can be helpful (and sometimes necessary) to do exercises next to a stationary object, like a banister or countertop, so it can be used for support."
The last thing you want to do is sustain an injury while working hard to improve your balance. Dr. Bohl adds, "Once the exercises are more familiar and performed with more ease, one way to continue challenging the body and improving balance is to perform the exercises with the eyes closed."
The best balance exercises for seniors to prevent falls
If you're ready to get started, here are six of the best exercises for seniors to prevent falls.
Sit-to-stands are improving your ability to stand up from a seated position on a chair, then return to a seated position.
Begin the exercise in a seated position. Next, slowly lean forward as you stand up, using the muscles in your legs. Once you are in the standing position and feel secure, return to a seated position. Repeat this exercise 10 times. Feel free to use the armrests of the chair if you require additional assistance.
Dr. Bohl adds, "You can use these to help guide your body and hold on if you feel unsteady, but do your best to make sure you are using your leg muscles to stand up and aren't putting too much support on your arms."
Standing on one foot
For this exercise, you will give your balance a boost by standing on one foot for 10 to 30 seconds. After completion, repeat the same movement with your opposite foot.
For the heal-toe walk, you will begin by walking straight. Place the heel of the first foot at the toe of your other foot for every step, making sure both feet are always in line with one other.
The knee curl exercise is helpful in strengthening your leg muscles.
To begin, stand on one foot while holding onto a fixed, secure object like a chair. Then, move the opposite leg behind you. Bend your knee, and bring your foot up toward the ceiling. Perform this exercise 10 times, then repeat with your other leg.
Lex extensions will also be helpful in making your leg muscles stronger.
Start by sitting upright, then kick one leg out. Straighten the leg to the best of your ability. Then, return it to the floor. Repeat this move 10 times, then repeat with your opposite leg.
Get ready to slowly march in place with this move. Be sure to bring your knees as high as you can. Perform this exercise 10 to 20 times on each leg, and be sure to hold onto a fixed piece of furniture for support, if needed.