At a younger age, when we are spritely and adventurous, the concept of balance isn’t something we think about often. However, as we age, our ability to remain steady is compromised due to various reasons. For starters, the slowed-down metabolism rate makes seniors experience a decline in physical fitness. Additionally, they start to grapple with multiple issues, including eyesight problems, muscle loss, age-related ailments and side effects of medications. All of these lead to reduced stability and increased incidences of falls.
Seniors can enhance their mobility, stability and strength by engaging in balance training exercises. There are plenty of workout regimes that can help improve balance and stability. However, seniors should focus on doing simple at-home exercises that aren’t risky. If you are taking care of an older adult, here are the top five activities for better balance.
Tightrope Walk is a simple exercise that seniors can leverage to address their stability problems. It helps boost your core strength, improves posture and balance. And the best thing is that you don’t need any tools for this exercise.
- Stand straight on a level surface and extend your arms to your side until they assume a parallel position with the floor.
- Assume you’re stepping on a rope and start walking in a straight line, pausing for one to two seconds.
- For every step, lift one foot off the ground and try to pause for one to two seconds.
- Make sure that your eyes are focused on a fixed position in front to ensure that your head is straight and your body balanced.
- You can make 15 to 20 steps and move to the next exercise.
Another exercise that can improve your stability and strength is standing on one leg.
- Assume a straight posture with your feet hip-width apart. Ensure that your body weight is equally distributed on the feet, then put your hands on your hips.
- Transfer your weight to the left leg and lift the right one. Bend the lifted leg at the knee such that your sole faces the back.
- Maintain the position for 30 seconds or more.
- Place your right foot down and repeat the same with the left leg.
- Try to extend your foot as out as possible without touching the floor. You can do the exercise as many times as possible.
Although it is somehow similar to single-leg balance, Tree Pose engages the core more and strengthens the leg joints.
- Stand upright, either on the floor or on a BOSU, with feet together, and arms stretched outwards.
- Lift your right foot steadily until the sole rests on the calf of the left leg. Move your body weight to the left leg and try to balance on it.
- Lift your arms slowly until they are above your head and hold for 30 seconds. Switch to the other leg and do the same. You can repeat the drill as many times as possible.
The flamingo stand is another senior-friendly activity that can help improve balance. However, the most critical aspect of this exercise is to ensure that you assume the right posture.
- Support yourself with a chair or wall, stand with the left leg and raise the right foot.
- Extend the right leg forward and try to maintain the position for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Make sure that the head, neck and spine are aligned, and the ears are above your shoulders to avoid injuries.
- You can repeat the drill with one leg five times before you move to the next one.
This exercise is excellent for strengthening legs and improving stability.
- Stand next to a wall or countertop with your heels pressed on the edge.
- Lift your left leg and place it in front of the right foot.
- Let the left heel come into contact with the right toes.
- Then put your right foot in front of the left leg, ensuring the right heel touches the left toes.
- Keep moving until you make more than 20 steps.
Protect Against Falls
While most of the exercises discussed in this write-up are considered senior-friendly, it is crucial to ensure that there is a supervisor when seniors are doing them. The exercise might be simple, but some loved ones may have issues that may make them more prone to falls. Additionally, it would help if you considered getting a Medical Alert system for seniors who feel a little unsteady and unbalanced. With added fall detection technology, the system can automatically contact an emergency response operator for help after a fall.