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5 balance exercises for seniors. Reduce your risk of falls

reviewed 11/27/2018

5 balance exercises for seniors

These exercises can help you take a stand against falls

Falls are a common problem for adults age 65 and older. But there are plenty of steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling.

These balance exercises are a great place to start.

For safety's sake:

  • Check with your doctor before beginning any home-exercise program.
  • When doing the exercises, position yourself near a countertop or other sturdy surface you can hold on to for support if needed.

SIDESTEPPING

  1. Step sideways in one direction with your toes pointed straight ahead. Move 10 steps in one direction, then return in the other direction.
  2. As this exercise gets easier to do, try using a resistance band stretched across your legs just above the ankles.

SIT TO STAND

  1. Rise out of a chair without using your arms to push yourself up. Too difficult? Place a firm pad on the chair seat to raise your sitting height as needed.
  2. Do this exercise 10 times.

STAND ON ONE FOOT

  1. Shift your weight onto one leg. Stand on that foot and stretch the other leg out in front of you, a few inches off the floor.
  2. Hold that position for a count of eight.
  3. Slowly return your leg to the starting position. Repeat with your other leg.
  4. For an extra challenge, flex and point your lifted foot: Bend your ankle so your toes first point away from you, then flex the ankle up to point your toes toward you.
  5. Do this exercise 10 to 15 times with each leg.

BALANCE WALK

  1. Raise your arms to the side until they're even with your shoulders.
  2. Focus on a spot in front of you to steady yourself as you walk.
  3. Walk with one foot in front of the other in a straight line.
  4. As you walk, lift your back leg and pause in this position before stepping forward.
  5. Do this for 20 steps.

As this gets easier to do, try looking from side to side as you walk. (Skip this step if you have inner ear problems.)

HEEL-TO-TOE WALK

  1. Raise your arms to the side until they're even with your shoulders.
  2. Position the heel of one foot just in front of the toes of the other foot. Your heel and toes should touch—or at least almost touch.
  3. Take a step. Put your heel just in front of the toes of your other foot.
  4. Do this for 20 steps.

Avoid getting tripped up inside your home. Here's how to fall-proof the rooms in your house.

SPOT HAZARDS

Sources: American Heart Association; American Physical Therapy Association; National Institute on Aging

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