The following balance exercises for seniors can help decrease your risk of falls and improve your overall health.
Millions of senior citizens are taken to the emergency room each year due to falls. Studies show that one out of every three Americans over age 65 will fall each year. The good news is the risk can be slowed, halted, or reversed.
Balance declines as a consequence of inactivity, muscle weakening, along with deteriorating nerves that affect the brains's perception of orientation in space.
There is never any guarantee that you won’t rank among those millions in the upcoming years; but, there are two things that you can do to greatly reduce the risk.
Perform balance exercises regularly. These exercises can be done every day, and are easy to work into your daily routines, such as while watching your favorite television shows or just before bedtime.
Include strengthening exercises twice each week, but never on two consecutive days. Strong muscles keep the body properly aligned. You may prefer to lift weights or do body weight exercises.
Balance exercises for seniors help the brain to automatically consolidate information about your body's position, orientation, and location. As a result, your balance improves.
The following list will introduce you to five simple balance movements that you can do anytime and anywhere.
Create a line down a hallway or across a room in your home. You can put painter’s tape down or use a long piece of yarn taped down at both ends. If you have tile in your home, you may already have lines that you can safely walk over. Going outdoors to walk the lines of a driveway or sidewalk is another option.
Your goal is to simply walk along the line, placing one foot directly in front of the other so that your heel touches the toe of the other foot with each step. As you progress, try placing a stuffed animal or another soft object at one or two points on the line. You can now challenge yourself by stepping over the object when you get to that point of the line.
If you have trouble balancing on a line, have someone walk beside you so that you can hold onto their shoulder with one hand. You may also start by holding on the to the counter in your kitchen and walking circles around the kitchen until you’re able to safely let go in these balance exercises for seniors.
Place one hand on the kitchen counter, the edge of a table, or the back of a chair. Lift one foot from the floor, balancing on the other foot for a several seconds. Switch legs and repeat. Work your way up to balancing for a full minute without holding on to anything. It's always best to be sure you are standing near something you can use to stabilize yourself if you start to wobble.
Stand straight. Slowly raise one knee up high and then place it back on the ground. Immediately, do the same with the other leg. This is much like marching in place, except you’re raising your knees higher. Tighten your abs as you do these movements to strengthen your core and lower body. As you get stronger, do the movements even slower, so you are forced to remain balanced for a longer period of time.
Stand near a wall or chair to steady yourself if necessary. Place your feet hip-width apart. Lean slightly to the right while lifting your left leg from the floor. You don’t need to lift your leg high. The goal is to balance on one foot with the other leg held out to the side. Place your foot back on the floor, lean to the left, and pick up your right foot. Hold just a second or two to start, but you should challenge yourself as you progress with these balance exercises for seniors.
This is a combo of balance exercises for seniors that will help develop greater balance while strengthening your lower body. Stand by a chair so that you can hold on if needed. Start with one leg and raise it up in front, out to the side, and out behind you while touching the ground between each motion. For instance, your right leg would raise up straight in front, touch the ground, then lift out straight to the side, touch the ground, and finally lift out straight behind you. Repeat on the other side.
Performing these balance exercises will not guarantee that you never suffer injuries from a fall. What they do is increase your chances of avoiding falls and pulling through minor falls with less severe injuries. The more flexible and stable your body, the more likely you are to remain mobile and independent as you get older.
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