Improve Balance and Prevent Falls With Exercise
Falls are a leading cause of loss of independence in seniors. Seniors are at a higher risk for falls for many reasons, including medical conditions, medications and loss of muscle mass.
At Bon Secours Physical Therapy, our physical therapists encourage all seniors to take steps to reduce their risk for falls. In addition to getting rid of fall risks inside the home, seniors can take part in exercise design to improve balance and strength. Some of the best balance exercises include:
Balance exercises help strengthen your core muscles and help teach your body how to better find balance every day. For these exercises, stand in front of a table or other sturdy surface that you can hold onto or easily reach if you begin to lose balance.
For your first exercise, simply stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your eyes open. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Do that 5 times. If you can hold it for 10 seconds, add more time until you can stand without swaying or tipping for 30 seconds.
Once you have achieved that, try standing with your feet together. After you can hold that position firmly for 30 seconds, try standing on one foot at a time for 30 seconds each. Finally, start back with the first exercise, but keep your eyes closed throughout the exercises.
You can do a wide variety of strength exercises at home to improve your balance. We recommend doing these exercises while holding onto a sturdy surface. The best strength-building exercises include:
- Side leg raise
- Marching in place
- Back leg raise
- Side twists
Do 5 reps of your favorite strength training exercises each day. You can add more reps as you become stronger.
In addition to these exercises above that you can do at home, you can also try out exercise classes like tai chi, yoga and water aerobics. All of these classes build strength and balance while giving you a chance to socialize.
At Bon Secours Physical Therapy, we offer specialized balance and fall prevention programs to help you avoid falls. Our experienced physical therapists can evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and design an exercise program just for you.
If you are concerned about balance or falls, contact Bon Secours Physical Therapy.