Balance Exercises for Seniors for Seniors to Maintain Stability | Everdays

Balance Exercises for Seniors

As we age, our bodies grow and change. Performing balance exercises for seniors can increase strength, stability, independence, and reduce the risk of falling. Today, we’re highlighting the importance of maintaining your balance as you age and sharing key balance exercises for seniors—so you can gracefully and confidently.

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The Importance of Maintaining Balance as You Age

During the aging process, it’s common to feel a little disoriented or uncomfortable in our bodies. While these thoughts and feelings are normal in the aging process, it’s important to focus on maintaining balance as you age. Maintaining your balance as you enter your golden years can help reduce your fear of falling, increase your walking speed, and improve your overall physical function.


Your balance plays a significant role in your quality of life as you age. One of the most important reasons why senior citizens should perform balance exercises is to reduce the risk of falling—in fact, the CDC estimates that every second of every day, an older adult over the age of 65 suffers a fall in the United States. But — as you’ll learn on this page — there are several other benefits of balance training for older adults.


Falls for seniors are common—and can be quite costly—but they are largely preventable and do not have to be an inevitable part of aging. One of the best ways to decrease your risk of falling is by performing stability exercises for seniors. Making these exercises part of your day can go a long way to help you improve and maintain balance over time.

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Safety Tips for Balance Training for Seniors

When it comes to doing exercises to improve balance for seniors, it’s important to do so in a safe and comfortable manner. If you experience dizziness, discomfort, any sort of vertigo, or lack of breath, it’s best to stop in the moment and return to the exercise at a later time.


Here are a few tips to help you find your balance as you get started:

  • Distribute your weight evenly. Do you tend to place more weight on one foot? Does your weight shift forward and backward?
  • Focus your gaze. Pick a fixed point straight ahead of you and focus on this spot—this practice will help you maintain your balance during the exercise.
  • Determine your dominant leg. Everyone has a dominant and non-dominant leg. You’ll likely notice within moments which side is easier. Consider starting each exercise with your non-dominant side, so that the second side will be easier for you to complete.

If you continue to suffer any complications during these exercises, consider asking for assistance from a friend or professional, such as a physical therapist.


Ready? Let’s get to the list of balance exercises for seniors!

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Stability Exercises for Seniors

When we think about balance as a whole, it’s important to note that some of us naturally have better balance than others. All the exercises listed below are considered beginner balance exercises for seniors—so if you find them too easy, you can increase the difficulty by removing any stability aids, experimenting with closing one eye at a time, or even gazing up to the ceiling. And, as our list includes only at-home balance exercises for seniors, they can be done anywhere.


We recommend practicing these balance improvement exercises for seniors at least a few times each week to improve overall strength, stability, and balance.


Clock Reach

What is it:

One of the best balance exercises for seniors is the Clock Reach—and it’s an easy one to start with. The Clock Reach works to engage movement in your upper body, while (ideally) balancing on one of your legs. The goal is to differentiate the moment from your upper body to isolate your balance in your lower body.


How do you do it:

  • For this exercise to increase balance in the elderly, you’ll begin standing.
  • Position yourself next to a chair, a wall, or a handrail for additional support if needed.
  • To start, pick up the foot opposite the stability assistant you’ll use. For example, if your chair is on the right, pick up your left foot.
  • Next, take your left arm and extend it parallel to the ground in front of you.
  • Now, imagine you’re a clock—12 o’clock is directly in front of you, which means that 6 o’clock is directly behind you.
  • Now, slowly move your arm from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock by extending your arm fully to the side before directing it behind your body.
  • If you can’t reach 6 o’clock, that’s totally fine! Just go back as far back as you can.
  • Repeat 10-15 times on each side. When you go to switch sides, be sure to move your stability aid or turn 90 degrees to ensure you’re practicing this exercise safely.

What it looks like:

Here is a great example of the Clock Reach.


Flamingo Stand

What is it:

One of our favorite exercises for better balance for seniors is the Flamingo Stand. This is a standing balance exercise to help you build strength in your legs, hips, and core.


How do you do it:

  • Begin by positioning yourself with a balance aid to your right or left.
  • Pick up the foot farthest away from the balance aid until your thigh is parallel to the ground.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times per side.
  • Your ultimate goal is to develop enough strength and balance to be able to perform the 10 reps on each side without a balance aid—and then to be able to hold the exercise for 60 seconds on each side without a balance aid.

What it looks like:

Here is a video example of the Flamingo Stand.


Head Rotations

What is it:

Head rotations are fantastic seated balance exercises for seniors! Head rotations help increase the amount of movement your head can handle, decreasing your risk of dizziness and falling.


How do you do it:

  • Choose to either sit in a comfortable chair that promotes good posture, or lay down on a comfortable but firm surface.
  • Slowly turn your head towards your shoulder. Hold for 10-15 seconds.
  • If you’re looking for a deeper stretch, you can use your opposite arm to gently push your head towards the opposite shoulder.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Alternating sides, perform this exercise as often as you would like.

What it looks like:

This video is a great example of a seated head rotation.


Heel-Toe Raises

What is it:

Heel-toe raises are one of many helpful balance exercises for seniors to prevent falls. They help strengthen and refine the way the muscles in your ankles react to forward and backward movement—so it’s easier for your body to stay upright.


How do you do it:

  • Position yourself next to a stable chair or in front of a handrail or counter.
  • Beginning on flat feet, slowly lean your body forward and raise yourself up onto your toes as high as you can go.
  • Hold for a moment when you can’t go up any higher and then slower begin to sink back toward your heels.
  • Repeat this exercise 10-15 times, completing 3-5 sets at a time.

What it looks like:

This video shows how to successfully practice heel-toe raises.


Lunges

What is it:

Lunges are a single-leg exercise that helps develop each side of your body independently. Practicing these single-leg movements will help develop the muscles that stabilize you, including your legs, hegs, and core.


How do you do it:

  • You may want to have a handrail or a stable chair to your right or left as a stability aid if needed.
  • Begin standing with one foot in front of you and one foot behind you.
  • Slowly begin bending both knees until your front thigh and back calf are parallel to the ground.
  • Make sure your front knee doesn’t go over your front toes.
  • Slowly return to a standing position.
  • Repeat 8-10 times per leg, and perform 2-3 sets at a time.

What it looks like:

This video shares some tips, tricks, and advice to start practicing lunges.


Over-the-Shoulder Walks

What is it:

Over-the-shoulder walks are a simple and effective exercise to help increase your balance and prevent falls.


How do you do it:

  • Begin in a standing position with an open space.
  • Slowly walk forward while looking over one of your shoulders.
  • After 5-10 feet, transition your gaze to your other shoulder.
  • Continue walking for another 5-10 feet.
  • Repeat 3-5 times every time you practice this exercise.

What it looks like:

Here is an example of an over-the-shoulder walk.


Single-Leg Balance

What is it:

This exercise works to develop your leg and ankle muscles helping you become less susceptible to falls on unstable surfaces or rough terrain.


How do you do it:

  • You’ll practice this exercise standing.
  • Position yourself on a flat, stable surface with a stability aid like a hand rail or chair next to you.
  • Raise the foot opposite the stability aid 1-2 inches away from the ground.
  • Hold this position for a count of 10.
  • Rotate 180 degrees so your stability leg is on the other side and repeat.
  • Practice this exercise 6-8 times on each side.
  • The ultimate goal is to be able to perform this exercise with a hold of 60 seconds without the help of a stability aid.

What it looks like:

This exercise is shown here.


Sit to Stands

What is it:

This exercise works to increase the strength of your core and leg muscles, helping to improve your overall balance and mobility.


How do you do it:

  • Begin by sitting on the front edge of a sturdy chair.
  • Position your knees and feet shoulder-width apart. Your knees should be bent, with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Breathe in and slowly begin to lean forward and place your weight on the front of your feet.
  • Breathe out as you raise yourself up into a standing position.
  • Pause for a whole breath in and out.
  • Breathe in as you slowly sit back down. Activate your core muscles to ensure you’re not rushing the movement.
  • Once seated, exhale.
  • Repeat this exercise 10-15 times before taking a longer break.
  • Ideally, you’ll perform this exercise with any assistance from your arms and you’ll be able to perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 sit-to-stands.

What it looks like:

Learn how to practice this exercise today.


Tree Pose

What is it:

Tree pose is known to improve your balance, stretch your feet, and increase your stability/core strength. For this reason, it’s a great exercise to focus on in your balance training for seniors.


How do you do it:

  • Start standing on a stable surface with your feet positioned next to each other and flat on the ground.
  • Pick one foot to begin with.
  • Stand tall and slowly pick your foot of choice up off the ground.
  • When you can’t pick it up any higher, place your raised foot flat against your other leg—or ideally, flat against your inner thigh.
  • Hold this pose for 1-2 cycles of breath and then slowly lower your foot back to the ground.
  • Repeat with your other leg.
  • Practice this exercise for 2-3 cycles on each leg and as often as you can.

What it looks like:

This video provides detailed instructions on how to practice this exercise.


Tightrope Walk

What is it:

The last of our exercises for better balance for seniors is the Tightrope Walk. This exercise works to build your core muscles and your leg strength at the same time. Due to the nature of the exercise, you’ll also see overall posture improvement if practiced regularly.


How do you do it:

  • Begin on a floor with a line or by placing a strip of masking tape on the floor to help guide you.
  • Start standing on the line and practicing walking heel to toe, for about 10-15 feet.
  • We recommend stretching out your arms and using them for balance.
  • Ideally, you’ll want to focus your gaze 1-2 steps ahead of you.
  • If you’re unable to walk with both feet on the line, you can still benefit from practicing this exercise with a narrower gait than normal, while you work your way up to walking in the ideal heel-to-toe pattern.

What it looks like:

This is an example of a basic Tightrope walk, along with some variations to increase or decrease the difficulty.

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Learn and Plan With Everdays

As you prepare for the next phase of your life, Everdays is here to help. From learning how to improve your exercise as your age to preparing for your end-of-life plan, our comprehensive platform helps you get access to all the resources and information you need so you can live out your golden years with joy, confidence, and fun.

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© 2022 Everdays, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Everdays mark and the Everdays logo are registered trademarks of Everdays, Inc.
* This app is owned and operated by Everdays, Inc., a Delaware corporation doing business in California as Everdays Moments Insurance Marketing.