Essential Balance Activities to Stay Steady as You Age

A comprehensive list of activities for every age 

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Photo by Marcus Aurelius

Life is full of obstacles, and often the path can be narrow. Whatever challenges life may place in our way, keeping our center of gravity allows us to avoid incidents that could trip us up. In this article, we will explore the various advantages of balance training for older adults and provide a list of age appropriate activities.

Why should senior citizens perform balance exercises?

As we age, our ability to recover from life’s mishaps lessen, and the benefits of staying proactive greatly increase. Balance exercises are a great way to help improve strength, flexibility, coordination, bone density, and help avoid some of life’s pitfalls.

Thankfully, there are many resources available to help you keep your balance no matter what your age or ability level is. From the local fitness center’s senior programs to Silver Sneakers and SeniorPlanet, there are professionals who have experience and are willing to impart their wisdom. Use this list of resources to help walk life’s tightrope.

The National Institute on Aging identifies 4 key types of exercises that will help maintain our balance as we mature. This varied approach helps to not get too focused on a single activity like aerobic exercises or weight lifting.

Remember to start with exercises that match your current level of balance and gradually progress as you become more comfortable and stable. It’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a certified trainer before starting a new exercise routine.

Endurance

Strength

Balance

Flexibility

Balance activities for adults (Difficulty Level: High)

Yoga Tree Pose

Stand tall with feet together. Shift your weight onto one foot and bring the opposite foot to rest on the inner thigh or calf of the standing leg. Find your balance and hold the pose.

Side Leg Raise

Stand straight with feet hip-width apart. Lift one leg out to the side, keeping it straight. Hold for a moment and then lower it back down. Repeat on the other side.

Bosu Ball Exercises

Perform exercises like squats, lunges, or single-leg stands on a Bosu ball, which adds an element of instability.

Single-Leg Balance Reach

Stand on one leg and reach the opposite arm forward while extending the opposite leg backward. Maintain balance and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Single Leg Deadlift

Stand on one leg and hinge forward at the hips while extending the opposite leg backward. Keep your back straight and return to the starting position.

Balance activities for elderly (Difficulty Level: Medium)

One-Legged Stance

Stand on one leg while keeping your body upright. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch legs.

Heel-to-Toe Walk

Walk in a straight line, placing the heel of one foot directly in front of the toes of the other foot with each step.

Tandem Stance

Stand with one foot directly in front of the other, heel to toe. Maintain balance for as long as possible and then switch feet.

Exercise for people with walkers (Difficulty Level: Low) 

Seated Leg Extensions

Sit on a sturdy chair with your back straight. Extend one leg straight out in front of you and hold for a few seconds. Repeat with the other leg. 

Wall Push-Ups

Stand facing a wall with your hands placed shoulder-width apart on the wall. Lean towards the wall, allowing your body to bend at the elbows. Push back to the starting position. 

Seated Marching

Sit on a chair with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Lift one knee towards your chest, then lower it back down. Repeat with the other knee. Perform

Seated Shoulder Rolls

Sit on a chair with your back straight. Roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion, then reverse the direction. 

Ankle Circles

Sit on a chair with your back straight and legs extended in front of you. Lift one foot off the floor and rotate your ankle in a circular motion. Repeat with the other foot. 

Arm Curls

Sit on a chair with your back straight and hold a lightweight dumbbell or resistance band in each hand. Bend your elbows and bring the weights toward your shoulders, then lower them back down. 

Chair Yoga

Sit on a chair with your back straight and practice a number of poses while comfortably seated. Bring your knee to your chest, raise your arms and more.



10 minute balance exercises for seniors