Posted on Dec 30, 2019, 6 p.m.
For anyone that worries about falling, especially seniors, having better balance may help, and there are exercises that may help to improve your balance to help avoid experiencing serious injuries from trips, slips, tumbles, and falls.
With age sometimes people feel unsteady on their feet, but this doesn’t have to be the case as something you just need to simply accept. There are a few easy exercises that only take a few minutes a day which may help you to improve your movement to have more confidence and better balance.
For most people with age we begin to lose muscle mass and strength to go along with reaction time beginning to slow which all affect our balance, and as a result this makes us more susceptible to trips and falls. One bad fall can cause serious injury to a body part and unfortunately for some may put independence in jeopardy.
Falls are the leading cause of injury related emergency department visits and the main cause of accidental deaths among Americans aged 65+. Falls, slips, and trips can happen to anyone at any age, and naturally being in slippery, cluttered, or uneven conditions can cause them to happen more frequently. Most falls are suggested to be preventable according to studies, making it important to watch out for hazards as much as possible.
Balance exercises can help to improve lower body strength and the ability to control as well as maintain you center of gravity. Most of these exercises from the Cleveland Clinic Senior Health Essentials are fairly simple, can be done any time, any place, for free, and they only take about five minutes.
The single leg stance is done by standing on one leg while maintaining your balance, if needed, use a sturdy chair for support. Hold this pose for 10 seconds, then repeat with the other leg to complete one set. Try to do 1-3 sets at least once a day.
The tandem stance and walk is done by standing with one foot directly in front of the other so that the toes of the back foot will touch the heel of the front foot. Move forward by taking steps that will put your toes in heels touching with each step while maintaining your balance. Hold each step for three seconds, and try to take three steps like this at least once a day.
The single leg stance forward is done by standing on one leg while maintaining your balance, try to maintain a slightly bent knee while in the stance pose. Move the free leg out in front of your body to hold there for ten seconds before returning to the original position. Repeat with the other leg to complete one set. Try to do 1-3 sets at least once a day.
The single leg stance lateral is done by standing on one leg while maintaining balance, try to maintain a slightly bent knee while in the stance pose. Move your free leg out to the side of your body to hold there for ten seconds before returning to the original position. Repeat with the other leg to complete one set. Try to do 1-3 sets at least once a day.
Even though these exercises may seem simple it is still a good idea to talk with a certified medical professional before beginning any exercise program, who may have other suggestions of how you can improve your balance and stay active as you age. Once you have the green light to go, please take the time to do these exercises every day, they can help to keep you on your feet for the long term. If they seem too easy try to hold the poses for a little longer, or increasing how much/often you do them. Yoga or Tai Chi are other fun options that you may want to consider as well.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.