We all want strong, healthy bodies.
To achieve this, we have to do our best to care for our bodies, with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Some people are more determined to follow through with these things than others, but the fact is that in order to stay healthy throughout our life they’re absolutely necessary.
And as we get older, the need for these things increases.
As we age, our muscles aren’t as strong, and our balance isn’t as good. This makes us a fall risk, and that can lead to broken bones, head trauma, and other serious injuries.
That is why balance exercises for seniors are vital.
Most people focus on cardio or strength training, but balance exercises should not be neglected.
Why Balance Is Important at Any Age, But Especially for Seniors
All of us should build up our strength so that we don’t lose our precious balance.
However, there are some things that make seniors more susceptible to loss of balance.
- Muscle weakness
- Inner ear problems
- Ear problems, including cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma
- Neurologic disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis
- Neuropathy (numbness of the feet)
- Heart disease
- Circulation issues.
Loss of balance is also a side effect of some medications, or from taking multiple medications at one time.
Some of these issues need a doctor’s help to control and reduce symptoms like balance issues. But if you add strength and balance exercises for seniors into your daily routine, you can reduce the likelihood of balance loss due to muscle weakness.
In fact, strengthening the muscles is a great way to reduce your risk of a fall – or that of a severe injury if you do fall – if you have some of these other conditions.
Plus, added exercise might be one of the key factors you need to reduce your risk not only of losing your balance, but of complications from heart disease and circulation issues.
3 Easy Balance Exercises for Seniors That You Should Start Doing Today
What kind of balance exercises for seniors should you add into your daily routine?
Here are our top three picks for the best balance exercises for seniors.
1. Side Leg Lifts
For this exercise, you’ll need a chair.
Stand behind the chair with your right hip facing the back of the chair. Hold onto the chair with your right hand.
Slowly raise your left leg out to the side. Keep your feet straight and don’t lock your knees.
Repeat this a few times, and then switch sides. Turn around, with your left hip facing the back of the chair. Hold onto the chair with your left hand and raise your right leg.
2. Sit-to-Stands (a Squat Variation)
Squats are one of the best exercises for strengthening nearly all of the muscles in the lower body, but they can be hard on your knee, especially if you’ve had a previous knee injury.
Therefore, if you want to take advantage of them, we recommend you do them in the company of a trainer/physical therapist.
This is an exercise that is like a squat but gentler to your body – and you have something there to catch you if your balance wavers.
Stand in front of a chair, recliner, or couch. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
Slowly lower your body until you’re sitting on the chair, but don’t sit all the way back. Once your rear touches the chair, slowly lift yourself back up. If you can’t do that – that’s ok. Sit for a couple of seconds and then raise yourself up out of the chair. Repeat 10 times.
3. Balance Walk
For this exercise, raise your arms out to shoulder height.
Pick a target on a wall in front of you and focus on it. Then, start walking toward it. With each step you take, lift and hold your leg in the air for one second before setting it back down on the ground. Repeat for 20 steps.
Keep Your Body Younger Longer with Regular Exercise
We all age and our bodies go through changes that make them a bit weaker than they used to be. But that doesn’t mean that we’re bound to end up sitting in a corner just letting life pass us by.
When we eat healthy foods and exercise, we can keep our bodies younger and stronger for longer.
Exercises that build our strength, keep us flexible, and encourage balance will keep us upright, steady, and mobile for years to come.
None of us want to lose our independence as we age. If we do all we can to stay healthy and strong, we’ll be able to stay independent for much longer.
And that means that we can continue to have fulfilling lives enriched with plenty of fun, physical activities with friends and loved ones throughout each passing decade.