Having good balance is something most people take for granted, but as we age, our bodies start to lose the ability to maintain balance. Vision, the vestibular system (part of the inner ear that works with vision), touch, reaction time, strength, and coordination all impact balance and tend to decline with age. Balance helps you stay upright during everyday activities, and having good balance is essential for seniors to reduce the risk of falls and maintain mobility.
At Buckner Villas senior living community in Austin, Texas, we strive to help our residents maintain their health. Our health and wellness programs cater to each resident’s physical, social, spiritual, and psychological needs to promote overall well-being. Our on-staff senior health and wellness coordinator works with each resident to develop a personalized workout plan, including exercises for balance. Contact us online or by calling 512.580.9882 to learn more about life at Buckner Villas.
What Are Good Balancing Exercises for Seniors?
The best prevention for balance issues is remaining active. Almost all movement relies on balance. Walking a dog, doing household chores, playing with grandkids, or walking around the supermarket are everyday activities that can help improve balance.
With aging, the body’s systems that identify body position, detect gravity, and promote stability and balance become less effective. Combined with muscle strength and mobility losses, these declines increase the risk of falls. Falls are the primary cause of injuries and death from injuries in older Americans. The CDC reports that a senior falls every second daily in the United States.
As with all new exercise programs, it is essential to check in with your doctor first, who can give you a balance test. It is important to start slowly and work your way up. The following exercises can help maintain and improve balance:
- Head rotation – This exercise improves balance when vision changes are involved. Try this exercise sitting down first, and work up to standing. Gently rotate your head left to right, then up and down for 30-second intervals.
- Foot taps – Stand in front of a step or sturdy stepstool with your feet hip-width apart. Slowly lift your left leg, tap the step, and return your foot to the floor for 15 to 20 repetitions. Repeat with the right leg. As your balance improves, switch to fully stepping up instead of tapping.
- Marching in place – Stand with feet hip-width apart. Slowly bend your left knee and lift your foot until your thigh is parallel to the floor (or as high as you can go). Repeat with your right leg, then alternate until you’ve done 10 repetitions on each side.
- Walk the tightrope – Use a piece of tape or a line on the floor as your “tightrope.” Putting your arms out to the side, walk the tightrope from heel to toe, taking about five seconds between steps. Walk from one end of the room to the other and back.
- Sit-to-stand – Stand in front of a sturdy chair with your feet hip-width apart and arms extended in front of you. Slowly sit back and lower your hips to the chair. Pause, then push yourself to a standing position through your heels. Do 10 repetitions.
Each of these exercises can be done with support from a cane, walker, countertop, wall, or another sturdy surface, particularly in the beginning. There are many other exercises for improving your strength and balance. Our senior health and wellness coordinator at Buckner Villas will design a program for your unique needs.
Exercises for Seniors to Improve Strength and Balance
Exercise is crucial for seniors’ health, but it can be hard to know where to begin. If you are 65 or older, are generally fit, and have no health conditions restricting mobility, you should get 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly and muscle-strengthening activity at least twice weekly.
Some of the best exercises for seniors to improve strength and balance include:
- Resistance band workouts
- Yoga or chair yoga
- Swimming and water aerobics
- Stationary cycling
- Bodyweight workouts
Ideally, an exercise program for seniors includes aerobic exercise, strength training exercises, and exercises for flexibility and balance.
Learn More About Senior Balance Exercises at Buckner Villas
At Buckner Villas, our faith-based nonprofit senior living community is committed to providing you or your loved one the highest quality of living and care at the highest level of independence possible. Our senior living options include:
- Independent living
- Assisted living
- Memory care
- Long-term skilled nursing care
- Respite care
We provide various health and wellness programs to ensure the well-being of our residents. Contact Bucker Villas today to learn about our programs, including balancing exercises for seniors, and discover what makes us more than just a senior living facility. Call 512.580.9882.