Exercises For Balance For Seniors
What exercises help improve balance?
What are the best exercises for balance – for seniors to learn and be able to do anywhere, including at home?
Doctors recommend balance exercises for seniors to prevent falls especially, and for general health.
If you have medical conditions (whether you’re a senior or not) consult with your healthcare practitioner about the level of exertion you can practice safely.
A one legged stand:
This exercise is simple. Advice includes to hold onto a chair back, or some piece of furniture, and with the BodyBoss gym kit (more about that below), you can use the exercise bar as a staff.
It involves lifting one leg up behind you, bending your knee, and keeping your knees together. Then, simply stand on that leg for about 30 seconds.
Repeat about a dozen times, and then switch legs. Repeat all.
This is one of the best exercises for balance and stability for seniors – and anyone!
Let go of your balance tool intermittently, if you can.
This practice engages your big muscle groups – the hips, thighs, and core (abdominal and low back) muscles.
It also trains your brain (anew) to respond to the tiny balance shifts that your muscles control, establishing patterns.
This is called neuroplasticity.
This is similar to the exercise described above. You can use a balance tool if needed.
It is done by shifting the weight from two legs to one, lifting a leg up a few inches, and holding the position.
Keep it up for about 30 seconds, repeat about a dozen times, then switch legs.
Walking heel to toe:
You have probably done this many times. This is how most people measure an approximate number of feet across a floor, if they don’t have a measuring tape handy.
You walk placing one foot exactly in front of the other, placing your heel close up to your toes of your back foot.
This exerts your big balancing muscle groups more than ordinary walking. It requires more a of a weight shift.
Take about 20-30 steps, use whatever space you have.
Use your BodyBoss exercise bar, a cane or broom handle if you need help, initially.
This one of the excellent exercises for balance in elderly people, and will move you along to more strenuous routines.
Leg raises, to the back:
These are done holding your chair back or other balance tool.
Raise one leg behind you, keeping your posture held in a straight natural position.
Hold about 12-15 seconds. Repeat about 12 times.
Switch legs and repeat all.
Side leg raises are done the same, raising your leg to the side.
With the BodyBoss stretchy bands you can add resistance as you progress, ever increasing your muscle exertion and muscle building.
Exercises for balance for athletes are also part of the BodyBoss offerings – because anyone can ramp up the repetitions and resistance with this gym kit.
When you first start exercising after a period of not being too active, you may get leg cramps.
Start slowly. It doesn’t matter if you do, for example, 5 repetitions of these exercises, for a couple of weeks. Work up to a higher count gradually.
The video below shows a series of exercises that you can work up to slowly, if you’re out of shape. It is not for beginners.
It shows you how the portable gym equipment (which this lady has brought to a park) is used for different exercises.
When you get your BodyBoss you will get a manual of balance exercises for seniors with pictures.
All the training provided improves your strength, stability and balance.
You will have access to many videos (over a hundred are on the BodyBoss youtube channel.)
This level of working out is something you can aspire to.
Aim for a twice a week full body workout, with exercises chosen by you, from the BodyBoss exercises.
What causes poor balance in seniors?
This article promotes the BodyBoss portable gym, so we are discussing physical balance improvement, as opposed to a balance disorder, a neurological condition.
If no balance disorder is present, poor balance can be a result of weak and poorly toned muscles.
That’s why I recommend the BodyBoss portable home gym kit for exercises for balance for older adults.
Poor balance also involve the loss of reflexive responses. Navigating stairs, uneven garden areas and natural trails can be difficult if you are out of shape.
If this is you, are you ready to fix that?
Taken from the NIH website, these following questions address the possibility of a balance disorder.
“Do I Have a Balance Problem? Questions to Ask Yourself
You can help identify a balance problem by asking yourself some key questions. If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, discuss the symptom with your doctor.
- Do I feel unsteady?
- Do I feel as if the room is spinning around me, even only for brief periods of time?
- Do I feel as if I’m moving when I know I’m standing or sitting still?
- Do I lose my balance and fall?
- Do I feel as if I’m falling?
- Do I feel lightheaded, or as if I might faint?
- Does my vision become blurred?
- Do I ever feel disoriented, losing my sense of time, place, or identity?”
Some balance disorders, once diagnosed, are treated with physical exercises. They would be prescribed and taught by a physical therapist.
The following syndicated article gives a good overview of exercise options.
Exercises to Improve Balance – The Top Five Exercises to Help You Improve Your Balance by Jim Hofman
As we age, one of the most common physical skills that deteriorates is our balance. It doesn’t have to be that way though. If you do certain simple exercises, you can maintain your balance skills for a lifetime. Here are the five best exercises to improve balance…
You may think yoga is just stretching and mind relaxation, but it is much more than that.
First of all, stretching is very good for your balance. The more limber and flexible you are, the easier it becomes for your body to work in harmony, so to speak. Your physical balance is a function of your mind and body working together. This is the core principle of yoga.
Further, yoga is low impact, which is great if your knees, ankles, and other joints have taken a pounding over the years.
Pilates is similar to yoga since it is equally low impact and emphasizes flexibility. Pilates goes one better by specifically targeting the core muscles, which are crucial for balance.
If you’ve never participated in a pilates class, you will be amazed at how difficult they are. You will work on muscles in an entirely different way, most notably your abdominals. Many of the moves in class are quite simple. There is no fancy choreography, but the moves take practice and effort. The emphasis on your core and holding your body still will improve your balance skills by leaps and bounds.
Fitball Balance Discs
Balance boards are probably the best exercise to improve balance. They are often used by those who participate in board sports, like skiing, surfing, and skate boarding.
Essentially, standing on a balance board simulates the activity of these sports. Usually the board looks like a small surf board with an attached heavy duty ball on the bottom.
The goal is to stand atop the board and maintain your balance. The trick is to keep your upper body still while relying on your core and leg muscles to do the work.
One Legged Alternating Stands
This is an effective exercise you can do at home. Try it while looking in a mirror. Just stand alternatively on one leg and then the other. In fitness classes, instructors will sometimes direct you to pick up and set down a small hand weight while balancing on one leg, which challenges your balance even more.
Try it for 30 seconds at a time on each leg, and steadily increase the time as your balance improves.
Fitball Balance Discs
This is another excellent piece of fitness equipment. Similar to a balance board conceptually, the goal is to remain atop the disc while maintaining your balance.
The fitball balance disc is flat on the bottom and spherical on top. You can use it either standing or while laying across the top, which is similar to a pilates move. In addition to helping your balance, using a fitball balance disc does a great job strengthening and toning your mid section.
You don’t have to lose your physical balance skills as you age. The best way to combat loss of balance is to participate in specific exercises to improve your skill level.
Group fitness classes like yoga and pilates are ideal, as they emphasize core muscles and flexibility. Specific fitness equipment like balance boards and fitball balance discs simulate board sports and provide a challenging test of your ability to stay on top without stepping off.
Finally, simple alternating one legged stands are a low tech but effective way to work on this crucial life skill.
Did you enjoy learning about these effective exercise to improve balance? Find out more simple, proven ways to improve your physical balance by visiting us at: http://www.howtoimprovebalance.com
Note: the links in the article above had expired before this publication.