There are several reasons older people are more likely to fall than their younger counterparts.
Chronic illnesses are a significant factor, but older people also contend with eyesight impairment, potential side effects of medication, and reduced physical fitness.
These factors are understandable as people tend to become less active the older they get, and older bodies take longer to recover. Even so, it is vital that people practice balance exercises to stay fit, healthy, and on their feet.
Here are some fun balance activities for older adults to improve balance.
1. Tightrope Walk
The Tightrope Walk is recommended for improving balance, core strength, and overall posture. The exercise is also recommended because it is so effortless to pull off and needs no equipment to do.
Start by holding your arms out to the side, ensuring they are parallel with the floor. Walk forward in a straight line, with a small pause every time you take your feet off the ground. Aim to focus on a spot in front of you to maintain balance better and hold your head straight. Take fifteen to twenty steps like this before moving on to another exercise.
We recommend that you do the tightrope walk exercise under supervision. Having someone with you means they can count your steps for you and motivate you if you feel like giving up.
2. Rock the Boat
This exercise is ideal for people who enjoy walking. Once again, you don’t need any equipment for this one. However, we do recommend using your running shoes and a yoga mat to get better cushioning for your feet. We also recommend having someone with you to supervise the exercise.
Start by standing with feet shoulder-width apart and an even weight on both sides of your body. Lift your arms to the side for extra balance. Stand up straight with your shoulders back and head facing forward. Raise one of your feet off the ground. Bring your leg up and hold the position for thirty seconds. Bring the leg back down to the floor. Repeat the exercise on the other leg. Repeat the exercise for both legs five times. You can start adding more reps as you get comfortable with the movement.
3. Toe The Line
The “Toe the Line” exercise helps increase leg strength so you can walk without falling. This exercise doesn’t need any equipment to do, but as usual, we recommend you have someone to supervise.
Start with your back against a wall and your heels touching the wall. Put one foot in front of the other, so your heel touches the toes of the other foot. Repeat the motion with your other foot. Take your time when walking to ensure you get your heels and toes in the right place. “Toe the line” for twenty steps.
After you take a few steps, and get comfortable walking like this, focus on something in front of you to ensure you stay stable while walking.
4. Flamingo Stand
The Flamingo Stand can help people who have trouble with Toe The Line. This exercise requires you to stand on one leg like a flamingo. Use a chair to support yourself as you stretch the raised leg forwards to complete the activity.
At first, you should stand on one leg for up to fifteen seconds. Repeat the exercise five times before changing legs. The exercise is simple enough, but we still recommend having someone supervise you. Having someone with you ensures you maintain proper posture. You should keep your back, head, and shoulders straight as you exercise.
5. Back Leg Raises
This exercise is another simple but effective strength exercise for seniors. Outside of improving balance, this exercise helps build endurance and muscle strength while supporting the lower back.
You’ll need a chair for this exercise. Start by standing behind the chair. Lift your right leg backward without bending your knees. Hold the position for a few seconds before bringing your leg down. Repeat the exercise for the other leg. We recommend repeating the movement up to fifteen times per leg.
6. Side Leg Raise
The side leg raise shouldn’t be a problem for anyone who could do a back leg raise. You’ll need a chair and someone to supervise again.
Start the exercise similar to the back leg raise; stood behind a chair with feet apart. Lift one of your legs to the side instead of behind you. Make sure to stand up straight while doing the exercise. Raise your foot off the ground, bringing the leg up. Hold your leg in place for a few seconds before bringing it back down. Perform the exercise with your other leg and alternate between legs five times. Feel free to exercise more as you get accustomed to the movement.
7. Balancing Wand
This exercise doesn’t require much from you. All you need is a broom, cane, or umbrella. You can even do the exercise while sitting down if you want.
Hold the bottom of the object so that it rests firmly against your palm. Don’t forget to take the broom handle off of a broom if that’s what you use. The aim of the exercise is to hold the stick as long as possible. Don’t focus so much on one side. Switch hands every so often to balance your body with the exercise evenly.
If you’re having problems with balance, strength, and coordination, the first step is to recognize it and take action. Sitting around all day will do you no favors. Your best chance for preventing falls and accidents is to try some balance exercises and be more active. These exercises are all simple enough for most people. Don’t forget to have someone supervise you and guide you through the activity if you need it. Take steps now to ensure independence and security in the future as you get older.