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.
Balance activities for adults (Difficulty Level: High)
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.
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.
Perform exercises like squats, lunges, or single-leg stands on a Bosu ball, which adds an element of instability.
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.
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)
Stand on one leg while keeping your body upright. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch legs.
Walk in a straight line, placing the heel of one foot directly in front of the toes of the other foot with each step.
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)
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.
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.
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
Sit on a chair with your back straight. Roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion, then reverse the direction.
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.
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.
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.