Your confidence is directly tied to our balance as we get older. Good balance is important in preventing falls and maintaining mobility. There are plenty more reasons why senior citizens should perform balance exercises.
How Balance Prevents Falls
Moving through the world as we age changes. Your balance is now your greatest strength in preventing falls. We once could all bounce back after a fall. In fact most of us took an embarrassing tumble or two in the past. Most of the time we didn’t get seriously injured. But that changes over the years. A fall in your golden years can lead to injuries that can alter your quality of life.
A fall for a senior can lead to broken bones which can become even worse health conditions. If you suffer from any conditions like osteoporosis, a condition affecting bone density, or diabetes, your balance is going to be your best defence from an injury.
Why Senior Citizens Should Perform Balance Exercises—Top 3 Benefits
Exercise can sometimes feel like a four letter word, but the benefits to regular exercise can never be overstated. That’s why senior citizens should perform balance exercises to maintain, and even improve, their balance and move through the world with confidence. Some of the benefits to balance exercises are:
1. Increased Muscle
One of the best things about working out is getting more muscle. It does wonders for your balance when you strengthen your core. You can stand for longer when your legs get stronger. And catching yourself if you do fall is easier with stronger arms. While all of that helps protect you from falls, extra muscle also means improved mobility, increased bone density, and more. Here’s a 20 minute full body workout if you’re craving a comprehensive, yet gentle routine.
2. Better Sleep
A tired body leads to a restful sleep. Working on your balance with exercises is a great way to improve your sleep at the same time. On top of tiring yourself out, working out regularly can maintain healthy circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are the natural ebb and flow of our bodies and help regulate energy levels throughout the day. With healthy circadian rhythms, you wake up and want to go to bed the same time every day—making it easier to go to sleep when you’re tired.
3. Stronger Bones
Exercises that require lifting or resistance are some of the best ways to help strengthen your balance and increase bone density. If you have Osteoporosis, or have recently taken a bone density test, the strength of your bones is already a concern. Stronger bones with better balance means fewer falls, and less chance of a serious injury if you do fall.
Exercises to Improve Balance
A daily balance exercise routine doesn’t have to be intense or use a lot of machines. While all exercises should be performed to your own comfort level, there are a few exercises you can do virtually anywhere.
- Stand behind a solid chair, place your hands on the back of it and slowly bend at the knee.
- Stand on one leg for as long as possible and then switch to the other leg.
- Repeat 3 times per side.
- Stand straight, feet shoulder width apart, and use a chair for support.
- Step back with one leg, and bend both your knees toward the floor.
- When your front leg is at 90 degrees, or to your own comfort, hold for a few seconds.
- Stand back up and repeat 10 times for each leg.
- Using a chair as support, stand up straight and raise one knee to hip level.
- Hold in the air for a few seconds, and place your leg back down.
- Repeat with the other leg.
- 10 reps per leg.
- Find a space you can walk a short distance in.
- Step forward and then place your other foot directly in front of your first foot with your heel placed against your toe.
- Continue for 20 paces.
Back Leg Raises
- Holding on to the back of a chair lean forward slightly.
- Raise one leg behind you as high as you can without bending your knee.
- Hold for 10 seconds per side.
Exercise Safety Tips
Balance exercises are great ways to maintain health, mobility and prevent falls. It’s best not to start standing on one leg without preparation. As suggested, a chair will be one of the best ways to support yourself during your exercises. It’s also best to go slow and learn where your comfort zone is, and stay within it. Warming up is another important step to prevent strains and other injuries.
Balance is overlooked and forgotten throughout most of our lives—but often becomes our biggest priority as we enter our golden years. It plays a massive part in preventing injuries as we age while maintaining independence and mobility, and that’s why senior citizens should perform balance exercises. Checkout This Fall Prevention Exercises Class full of advice and exercises for more support!