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Over 60? Protect Yourself from Injury With These Exercises

Great stability exercises that will enhance your balance—and quality of life.

You're already well aware of the fact that having poor heart health, infrequent exercise, and less-than-nutritious diets are all associated with an abbreviated life. But there are lesser-known factors that can affect your lifespan, as well. Specifically, falls and accidents. After all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 36 million older adults fall every year. These falls can result in terrible injuries, such as hip fractures and brain injuries, all of which impact quality of life. Consider this shocking statistic: Upwards of 30,000 older adults die each year due to a fall.

This is why, if you want to live a longer and safer life in your older years, it's important to incorporate stability exercises into your fitness routine. Here are a few great stability based exercises you can add to your routine right now, all courtesy of our resident trainers here at ETNT Mind+Body. And for more exercises that you should do as you age, don't miss The Best Exercises for Building Stronger Muscles After 60, Say Experts.

Lying Leg Raise

gym and pilates outside - active young blond woman exercising, lying down with both legs up and arms down to tone them up on her exercise mat over sunny blue sky

Why to do it: This exercise is great for working the abs and hip flexors.

How to do it: Lie on your back with your hands under the small of your back and your legs flat on the floor. Pull one knee toward your chest and then straighten it toward the ceiling. Lower it to the starting position. Do three sets of 30 reps, alternating legs. And for more reasons to exercise, don't miss this Secret Side Effect of Exercising More After 60, Says New Study.

Shoulder Rotation

woman dumbells

Why to do it: It strengthens the rotator cuff muscles.

How to do it: Lie on your left side while holding your right upper arm against your ribs and your right forearm perpendicular to your body. Holding a light weight, move your right forearm through a full range of motion. Do four sets of 20 reps, alternating sides. (See here for a visual.)

Standing Heel Raise

female standing on toes and doing foot stretching exercise in studio

Why to do it: It builds lower-leg stability.

How to do it: Stack two 45-pound plates on the floor. Stand with the balls of your feet on the edge of the top weight. With a dumbbell in each hand and your arms by your sides, push up onto your toes, pause, then lower your heels to the floor. Do three sets of 15 reps.

For the Ultra-Fit: The Balance-Board Drill

Closeup on fit sports woman in fitness clothes at modern home while training using balance board.

Why to do it: It works the smaller support muscles in the legs and trunk.

How to do it: Do not attempt this move if you're feeling as though your balance is suffering, as this drill requires equipment—chiefly, a balance board—that will greatly reduce your risk of falling. But if you're up to it, stand on a balance board (a disk with a dome on the bottom; available in most gyms) with your knees bent, feet shoulder-width apart, and arms held in front of you. Balance for as long as you can. Build up to five minutes. And for more great exercise advice, don't miss the Secret Side Effects of Lifting Weights for the First Time, Says Science.

William Mayle
William Mayle is a UK-based writer who specializes in science, health, fitness, and other lifestyle topics. Read more about William