10 Balancing Exercises for the Elderly
In the wise words of Joseph Pilates, “physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness”. Leading a healthy lifestyle is recommended for people of all age groups. But the ones who belong in the elderly category should be taking it very seriously. In today’s day and age, physical fitness is paramount, especially for those individuals who suffer from cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. Similarly, patients who have endured neurological disorders like stroke, paralysis, etc. should also consider leading an active lifestyle. Experts of paralysis patient care often advise incorporating exercises to improve balance. However, a lot of people presume these balance exercises to be strenuous. In reality, there are several dynamic balance exercises for the elderly that will not take a toll on your health. The key is to include at least a few of them in your daily routine in order to improve your strength and balance. Moreover, these exercises ensure that the loss of endurance and flexibility for people above the age of 65 years can be regained in a seamless manner. Mentioned below are 10 exercises to improve balance for senior citizens:
1. Rock the Boat
One of the easiest balancing exercises for the elderly is rock the boat. People who enjoy walking on a daily basis can include this in their routine very easily. As this exercise does not involve any equipment it can be performed in the comfort of your home. The first thing to do is stand up straight with your legs hip-distance apart. This will ensure that your body is able to create a natural balance while exercising. After this, you have to lift both arms on the side of your body. By lifting one leg off the ground and bending your knees, the heel will be able to touch your bottom. Maintaining this position for 30 seconds with both legs is the goal that should be achieved in the first few days. Once you feel comfortable enough, the time duration can be increasing accordingly.
2. Tightrope Walk
One of the best core-strengthening balance exercises for seniors is the tightrope walk. Along with strength, this exercise helps in improving posture as well. Patients suffering from back problems such as kyphosis (an exaggerated curvature of the upper back), flatback, spondylitis, etc. should consider doing this exercise. The first thing that you need to do it stand straight with your legs apart and arms raised to the sides at a 90-degree angle. Holding this position, you have to walk in a straight line by holding your gaze on a particular object. This particular step is important to note as it will ensure that your balance is maintained throughout the entire exercise. While walking ahead, you must raise your foot and pause for 2-3 seasons. This needs to be done with both legs with 20 to 30 steps completed in one round.
3. Toe the Line
It has been observed that a lot of seniors tend to fall or slip while walking. Although this issue can be a result of certain health conditions such as poor eyesight, brittle bones, neurological issues, and the like, it does not mean that only an unhealthy individual can face this issue. Oftentimes, ageing is the main cause behind the slowing down of motors skills. In order to improve your body equilibrium naturally, toe the line is one of the best balance exercises for seniors. You have to stand near a wall with both your heels touching it simultaneously. Next, you need to place one foot in front of the other. Do ensure that the heel of your front foot is aligned with the toe of the foot behind. By walking in this position for 20 steps, your legs will be able to regain their strength.
4. Flamingo Stand
When it comes to balance exercises, some seniors can feel a little overwhelmed in the beginning. To ease into the process, the flamingo stand can be a great start. To start with, you should be in a standing position with your body weight on one side. Lift the opposite leg and extend it forward at a right angle. The idea is to balance this leg for 10 to 15 seconds and then do the same with the other leg. Holding a chair, stool, or table to balance yourself, can be done in the beginning. Ideally, both legs should be lifted and balanced at least three times. Once you feel confident, you can let go of the support of a chair or table and balance your body in a natural manner.
5. Back Leg Raise
Exercises to improve balance are essential for the elderly because the ageing process affects various organs without us even realising. The glutes or gluteal muscles found in the buttocks can experience loss of strength after the age of 65. Hence, back leg raises are recommended to seniors. This particular exercise improves posture by strengthening the glutes and lower back. The first step is to place your hand on a wall or a chair. Raise one leg at a time and hold it in a position that is comfortable for you. Repeat the same 10 times or up until you feel comfortable and then move on to the other leg.
6. Side Leg Raise
Senior citizens who have chronic diseases need hospitalisation when their condition is critical. The same goes for those who require surgical procedures. During these times, the family members of the patient experience a lot of mental and physical trauma because of the stressful situation. Keeping this in mind, respite care for the elderly is gaining a lot of importance so that seniors regain their independence after going back home. Balance exercises like the side leg raise play a big role during this transition.
Patients who feel weak should have someone to supervise them while performing this exercise. Holding a chair or table, you have to lift one leg up on the side for one to two seconds. Now, the other leg should be lifted on the side and paused for the same time duration. Alternating both legs five times will strengthen your legs, glutes, and lower back.
7. Balancing Wand
The balancing wand is one of those balance exercises for seniors that genuinely does not require a lot of effort. People who wish to take it a little easy at the start can incorporate this exercise into their daily routine. Before performing one of the simplest exercises to improve your balance, it is suggested to choose an object that you can hold easy. Be it a stick, an umbrella, or a broom, the choice is completely yours. Once you are settled down in a comfortable position, keep your shoulders straight and place the object on the palm of your hand. Balancing it for as much time as you can manage without putting too much pressure on one side of the body is the main goal. Keep alternating the object on both hands for 20 seconds.
8. Heel Raise
5-minute balance exercises such as heel raises encourage the elderly to take the process seriously because it does not overwhelm them immediately. Dedicating a few minutes to these exercises can help strengthen your core and improve body equilibrium drastically. In a heel raise, you have the freedom of using a chair for balancing your body. Start by standing straight and placing your hands on the sides. The next step is to raise both heels together. The balls of your feet would provide the much-needed support to you while performing this exercise, thus, improving stability in your ankles and feet. Our recommendation would be to repeat it 10 times. If you face any confusions while following the instructions, checking balance exercises for seniors with pictures will make the process easier.
9. Wall Push-ups
As far as fun balance exercises for the elderly go, wall push-ups are a crowd favourite. This is simply because this exercise is basic and does not require external help or assistance. The only thing that you need for it is a wall. The first step is to stand against the chosen wall with your shoulders straight and legs hip-width apart. By placing both palms on the wall, you should be able to lean forward easily. Next, you should leanin such a way that your body is back in the starting position. Repeating this for 15 to 20 seconds can help in improving your gait. This happens to be one of the easiest exercises to improve balance in the elderly.
10. Squat to a Chair
The most common issue that senior citizens face is getting up and then sitting back down. This is due to the loss of strength in their hips and knees. Squat to a chair is one of the most recommended balancing exercises for the elderly as it ensures stability with the help of squats that can be done with the help of a chair. Begin this exercise by standing straight with your legs a few inches apart. Slowly lower your body on the chair while bending your knees. It is suggested to hold the position for a few seconds before standing back up again. It would be a little difficult in the initial period but once your core body strength is regained, try to only hover on the chair without actually sitting down. This is one of the best dynamic balance exercises for the elderly as it provides stability in the knees.
With these balance exercises for older adults, improvement in body equilibrium, stability, and strength can be observed in a few weeks. Along with this, here a few tips that the elderly can follow:
1. Have an active lifestyle –
Do not panic if you haven’t been active before because it is never too late! Join a group where exercises to improve balance for seniors are taught. Not only will your health improve but you will also interact with like-minded people.
2. Focus on your body weight –
Obesity becomes a big cause of concern for the elderly as it can affect the knees and hips. Hence, consume a nutritious diet and walk for at least 30 minutes every single day.
3. Don’t shy away from seeking help –
Accepting help is the first step towards improving your health. Therefore, do not feel embarrassed and let your loved ones help you out. This includes supervision while doing balance exercises.
By taking these tips and exercises to improve balance seriously, you will be able to transform your body in the most natural way!
Keeping #EldersFirst at all times, EMOHA offers the most reliable Elder Care Services in the country. It is the first company to develop a 10-point Emergency Responder System designed for senior citizens in India. Moreover, well-trained nurses and medical staff offer at-home critical care services to the elderly. This is further supplemented by vibrant and interest-based activities which are offered to the elderly to feel connected and stay engaged.