8 Convenient Balance Exercises for Seniors

Why should seniors perform balance exercises? 

Because it’s a good strategy! Balance and coordination tend to decline as you age, so it’s important to do balance exercises to counteract your physical changes.

A useful benefit of balance exercises for seniors is that you can reduce the likelihood of falling. Even better, you can help to improve your quality of life by staying independent and active.

As a certified personal trainer, I’ll help explain the different types of balance exercises, how you can benefit from them, and how to get started. 

Here’s what’s coming up. 

Importance of Balance Exercises for Seniors
8 Balance Exercises for Seniors

Importance of Balance Exercises for Seniors

Growing older means going through physical and mental changes. While the mind grows full of life experiences and wisdom, the physical body begins to slow down and decline. 

The body’s youthful energy gets less and you can definitely feel it in the everyday goings of life, like getting out of bed or sitting in your car.

“With age, bones tend to shrink in size and density, weakening them and making them more susceptible to fracture.

You might even become a bit shorter. Muscles generally lose strength, endurance and flexibility — factors that can affect your coordination, stability and balance.” – Mayo Clinic

Doing everyday activities are simpler when you can do them on your own. That’s why balance exercises for seniors are important to manage the physical effects of aging. 

Although aging can not be stopped, you can be prepared by doing balance exercises. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among older adults. 

Balance exercises for seniors can help prevent the risk of falling by strengthening your muscles. Strong muscles will ensure that you can maintain balance or even recover from a stumble. 

You also put yourself in positions that require flexibility and coordination. Practicing these things will help you handle standing, turning the corner, sitting down, and more.

It’s recommended to also do strength exercises to maintain bone density and cardio for cardiovascular health.

8 Balance Exercises for Seniors

There are 3 different types and each one has a unique approach to balance. For best overall results, incorporate all three types of balance exercises into your routine. 

Static Balance Exercises

You hold a stable position without any movement for these exercises. These are beneficial because they allow you to shift your body weight. 

You hold it in positions that will make you sturdier. I’d encourage you to keep trying this everyday. It takes many tries to master your balance. 

Stand On One Leg Assisted  

How To Do It

  • Start by standing in front of something you can hold onto. 
  • Lift one leg and shift your weight to the leg that you’re standing on. 
  • If you feel more confident, let go and see how long you can last. 
  • Be careful of course 

Stand with a Wide Stance  

How To Do It

  • Start by standing in front of something you can hold onto.  
  • Spread your feet as far as they go and hold this stance.  

Dynamic Balance Exercises

You move your body while maintaining balance for these exercises. 

These are beneficial for real-world situations where stability is involved, like walking on an uneven surface. Practical exercises are amazing and come in handy more often than not. 

Leg Lifts Assisted   

How To Do It

  • Start by standing in front of something you can hold onto.  
  • Lifts up your knees 5 times on each leg. 
  • Then move your leg sideways 5 times on each leg. 
  • Now move your leg backwards 5 times on each leg. 

Foot Rock Assisted   

How To Do It

  • Start by standing in front of something you can hold onto.  
  • Go up on your toes and back on your heels. 
  • It will be one smooth rocking motion. 
  • This one is great for strengthening your ankles. 

Heel to Toe Assisted    

How To Do It

  • Brace one arm against something sturdy like a wall.  
  • Walk in a straight line heel to toe. 

Functional Balance Exercises

You do these movements as part of everyday activities. Examples include reaching for something on a shelf, climbing stairs, or getting up from a chair. 

These are beneficial because they improve your ability to do everyday activities with confidence. This alone can reduce the risk of falling. 

Chair Stand and Sit    

How To Do It

  • Start by sitting in a sturdy chair with two armrests.  
  • Push with your arms and stand up.
  • Gain your balance then sit back down. 

Sit and Step     

How To Do It

  • Start by sitting in a chair with two armrests  
  • Push with your arms and stand up. 
  • Stay standing and step forward with your right foot. 
  • Hold onto something if you need it.
  • Step back with your right foot and sit down. 
  • Repeat with your left foot.  

Hand and Knee Raise     

How To Do It

  • Start in a standing position with one hand in the air.  
  • Hold onto something sturdy. 
  • March in place and lift your knees as high as you can.
  • Switch arms and repeat. 

Benefits of Balance Exercises for Seniors

balance exercises for seniors

Improved Balance
and Stability 

The most obvious but important benefit is improved balance and stability. 

As people age, coordination can begin to decline, which can lead to falls and injuries. Doing balance exercises helps prepare you for the future, by ensuring that you can stay as independent as possible. 

Other ways to improve balance are with by strengthening your lower body, like with B stance RDLs.

Increased Strength
and Flexibility 

Bones and muscles become more weak and fragile with age. Plus a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to a lower body that cannot keep up with your daily activities. 

Balance exercises for seniors can help strengthen your core, hips, and legs. These muscles are essential for maintaining balance.

By using these muscles you’ll keep them limber and loose. You’ll be able to better control your movements. 

Reduced Risk of Falls 

By improving everything mentioned above, seniors can reduce the risk of falling. This means greater mobility and the freedom to do more things on your own. 

By staying independent you can improve quality of life, which helps with a positive attitude to do daily activities. 

Reduced Stress
and Anxiety

Exercise has shown in studies to reduce stress and anxiety and increase self-confidence. These in turn will help improve your mood. 

Seniors who do balance exercises can benefit physically and mentally, while achieving a sense of accomplishment. 

How to Get Started with Balance Exercises

Consult a certified healthcare professional before beginning any exercise program. This is important if you have existing medical conditions or troubles with mobility. 

  • Start simple and gradually increase difficulty.
  • Use proper form and do the best you can.
  • Stay hydrated throughout your workout. 
  • Wear the right athletic footwear and clothes.
  • Have something sturdy to hold on to for support

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why do the elderly
have balance problems? 

The elderly can have balance problems for more than one reason. 

Bones and muscles grow weaker as we age, as does coordination. Even more, the elderly may have vision problems, injuries, or side effects from medication. 

Exercise and healthy lifestyle changes can help to improve bone and muscles and make them stronger. 

Why are balance exercises
important for the elderly?

Balance exercises for seniors are important for the elderly because the ability to maintain balance and stability decreases with age. This increases the risk of falling. 

Balance exercises improve balance, stability, strength, and flexibility. By improving balance, the elderly can enjoy better coordination and in turn, a better quality of life.

Why is it important
to do balance exercises
as a senior?

It’s important to do balance exercises as a senior because the movements will keep you limber and strong. Flexibility and strength in your lower body is essential for staying active and independent. 

How does balance affect older adults?

Older adults begin to lose bone density and muscle strength, and this affects their balance. Balance affects older adults by potentially limiting their mobility by not doing balance exercises.

How can exercise help seniors improve strength and balance?

Exercise can help seniors improve with strength and balance by putting them in positions where those things are needed. As you exercise, you will practice movements that will assist you in everyday life. 

How can seniors
improve balance and stability?

Seniors can improve balance and stability by doing dynamic balance exercises like leg lifts. To do a leg lift, raise one leg at a time while holding onto something. The act of balancing on what foot will help you practice and improve balance and stability. 

How often should seniors
do balance exercises?

Seniors should do balance exercises at least 3 times a week. That’s according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Consult a medical professional before beginning any balance exercises. 

What is the best exercise
for seniors to improve balance? 

Standing on one leg is the number one exercise for seniors to improve balance. You can hold onto something to start. This exercise allows you to shift your body weight onto one leg and simulate real life balance situations of being unsteady. 

Bottom Line

Balance exercises for seniors are essential for seniors to maintain their physical health and independence.

Our bodies undergo changes as we age that can affect our balance and lead to an increased risk of falls.

Regular balance exercises for seniors can improve muscle strength, joint flexibility, and overall balance, reducing the risk of falls and improving mobility.

For more on essential exercises, check out The Daily 15 Exercise Routine.

AUTHOR

Shalom is a content creator, musician, and a teacher at heart. As a certified personal trainer, his goal is to encourage others to lead healthier lives and to get buff in the process!