Feeling shakier on your feet than you used to? You’re certainly not alone. Tons of older adults struggle with balance. However, a lot of them start avoiding activities because of it and that doesn’t help. You need to use your balance muscles in order to keep them. If the thought of exercising while feeling unsteady makes you nervous—don’t worry! With this gentle balance exercises for seniors pdf you’ll have a list of movements that is truly made for older adults so it’s safe for anyone with poor balance to use.
What are your balance muscles?
Your balance muscles are primarily made up of:
- Calf Muscles
- Ankle & foot muscles
Essentially, your lower body muscles & core are what helps provide stability. Your core is important because it links your entire body together, including your hips & glutes. So when your core is strong, it helps stabilize your entire body.
Your lower body is what provides the base of support for your entire body, so the stronger these major muscles are, the better they do their job while the smaller muscles help to stabilize your joints and bones—all leading to better overall balance!
What causes balance problems?
The most common reasons older adults are unsteady on their feet are:
- Inner ear issues
- Neurological conditions (like Parkinson’s or MS)
- Medications with side effects that cause dizziness
- Circulatory system issues (like low blood pressure or strokes)
- Joint or muscle weakness
Can seniors regain balance they’ve lost?
Absolutely! While some of the previously mentioned causes of balance problems will require a different approach (such as changing medication) the most common way to improve general age-related balance loss due to joint or muscle weakness is to incorporate a few gentle balance training exercises into your day.
13 Gentle Balance Exercises For Seniors—Without Any Floorwork
These are some of the best balance exercises for seniors who are looking for safe movements that aren’t too challenging. And guess what? You don’t even need to do all 13 of them in a day to start seeing the benefits! Try just 4 exercises per day—it’ll take less than 15 minutes.
Download and print out your PDF for quick & easy access here:
Here’s the top 13 gentle balance exercises for seniors:
- Foot Rolling
- Neck Rolling
- Toe Lifts
- Banded Ankle Inversions
- Neck Retraction
- Thumb Twists
- Foot Rooting
- Slow Standing Rotation
- Standing Forward Lean
- Single Leg Balance Against Wall
- Narrow Stance Hula Hoops
- Fencer Stance Holds
- Sit in a chair with a ball on the ground. Place your foot on the ball so it’s in the arch of your foot. Roll front to back for 20-30 seconds.
- Next, lean over slightly and continue with the ball rolling on the inside of your arch for 20-30 seconds.
- Next, put it under the ball of your foot, and move your foot to the side like a windshield wiper for 20-30 seconds.
- Switch feet & go through all 3 movements again.
- Sit upright with arms out to the side. Reach out to the side as far as you can in one direction while keeping your butt on the chair. Then shift all the way in the other direction.
- Repeat for 6 reps going back & forth in each direction.
- Put the ball on the back of your head, off to one side. Roll straight down until the bottom of your skull. Then roll it slightly side to side for 15-20 reps.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Take your shoes off. Press all your toes into the ground, try to lift your big toe for 20 reps.
- Switch sides & do 20 reps.
Banded Ankle Inversions
How to set up the band:
- Cross one leg over the other so your foot is just outside your knee.
- Holding a band in the middle, drape the middle over your ankle.
- Take both ends in your hands & pull it straight down towards the floor on the side of your foot closest to your body. Then pull it under your foot and up the other side.
How to do the exercise:
- Holding the ends of the band in your hand on the opposite side of the foot, put your leg back down, then straight out in front of you.
- Allow the band to pull the base of your foot inwards then straighten it back out.
- Do 10 reps per foot
- Pull your face straight back keeping your head level (like a turtle pulling back into its shell)
- Reverse the movement and pull your face directly forward.
- Do 10 reps.
- Sitting in a chair, bring your arms together in front of you
- Interlock your fingers together with your thumbs up
- Twist to one side then twist to the other side while maintaining focus on your thumbs
- Go as fast as you can while maintaining focus
- Do the full movement 6 times
- Take your shoes off & plant the heel of your foot, the bottom of your pinky toe & the bottom of your big toe into the ground
- Actively engage by squeezing your muscles & keep your foot from moving
- Squeeze and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat twice per foot.
Slow Standing Rotation
- Stand with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent
- From this active position twist back and forth
- Keep your feet firmly planted & actively pushing into the ground as you twist
- Continue for 30 seconds. Take a few seconds rest then repeat for 30 more seconds.
Standing Forward Lean
- Stand close to a wall, facing it with your hands in front of you
- Plant your feet firmly into the ground and slowly lean forward a tiny little bit (maybe 5-10 degrees) then come back without touching the wall, using your feet to control your range of motion
- Repeat for 10 repetitions
Single Leg Balance Against Wall
- Standing close to a wall, put your fingertips on the wall with your feet side by side
- Shift all your weight onto one foot then lift the other foot back & off the ground behind you. Remove your fingers from the wall, but keep them close in case you need it for balance. Hold for 10 seconds on 1 foot.
- Put your fingertips back on the wall, lower your foot back down, take a breath, then repeat on the other side.
Narrow Stance Hula Hoops
- Keep your feet just under your shoulders
- Rock your hips around in a circle as if doing a slow hula hoop; be sure to actively press your feet into the ground
- Do 10 in one direction. Take a short break & do 10 in the other direction.
Fencer Stance Holds
- Standing close to a wall, put your finger tips on the wall, bend your knees slightly and take 1 step back with your other foot so you’re on your toes and put most of the weight on your front foot
- Take your fingers off the wall, but keep them nearby and hold for 10 seconds
- Repeat on other side for 10 seconds
Remember, you don’t need to do all of these in one session—doing just 4 balance exercises per day can significantly boost your balance. With this balance exercise for seniors pdf you’ll be well on your way to walking confidently, reducing stumbles & living without the fear of falling.
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By following along with this Better5 balance program you’ll be walked through the best combination of these 13 exercises each day to maximize your progress. (Plus, it’s really helpful to see exactly how to do each exercise). If you’re interested in the 7 day program, learn more by clicking below:
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