Health and Lifestyle for the over 50s
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Simple Balance-Improving Exercises for Older People

Posted by The Best of Health
Categories: Fitness /

As you age, you may worry about losing your balance and experiencing falls. Many people over the age of 65 suffer from falls which lead to problems such as broken bones and loss of mobility. However, engaging in exercises which improve your balance and strength can help to prevent this. Here are a few simple exercises which will help and are easy to do even if you’re not used to doing much physical activity.

One-Leg Stand

Stand on one foot and hold that position for ten seconds, then do the same on the other foot. Repeat this five to ten times. Make sure you do this in front of a wall or a sturdy table in case you need to hold on to something for balance. If standing on one leg is a challenge, stand with your arms outstretched and your fingertips touching the wall.

Sideways Walking

Stand with your feet together and your knees slightly bent, then slowly step sideways, moving one foot first then the other to join it. Perform ten steps each way or keep stepping sideways from one end of the room to the other. Try to avoid dropping your hips as you step.

Grapevine

This is similar to walking sideways, except you’ll cross one foot over the other. Start by crossing your right foot over your left then bringing your left foot to join it. Do five steps on each side and if necessary, put your fingers against a wall for stability.

Heel-to-Toe Walking

Standing upright, place your right heel on the floor directly in front of your left toe, so that heel and toe are almost touching. Then do the same with your left heel in front of your right toe. Keep stepping forward in this manner, doing ten steps one way then ten steps the other.

Step-Up

For this exercise you’ll need a step, whether that’s a special exercise step or the bottom stair in your house. Step up onto it with your right leg then bring your left leg up to join it. Step down again and return to your start position. Repeat this ten times, stepping up and down slowly in a controlled manner. Make sure you use a step with a railing or near a wall in case you need something to hold onto for support.

Try to do these exercises at least twice a week, along with any other physical activities you usually engage in. The key is to build up these movements slowly, gradually increasing your repetitions of the exercises over time. Make sure you complete each movement slowly and deliberately, as this will really help to improve your strength, balance and co-ordination.

If you suffer from reduced mobility, you may find this article interesting:

Staying fit with reduced mobility.

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