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6 Best Balance Exercises for Seniors to Improve Stability

When we’re young, we take staying upright for granted. We don’t really worry about falling—it might not even cross our minds

But over the years, things change. The body’s systems that detect gravity, identify exact body positioning at any moment, and promote balance and stability become less effective, wish is why Integrated Physical Therapy and Advanced Therapeutic Care have created a health and wellness program, which focuses on helping adults improve their balance and stability

On their own, these declines increase your risk of falling, but they often occur alongside losses in muscle strength and mobility, says Barbara Bergin, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon in Austin. She adds that type 2 diabetes, which affects about 25 percent of older adults, is one of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy, or nerve damage that can result in numbness in the hands, feet, and other parts of the body

Put all of that together, and it’s easy to see why falls are the number-one cause of injuries and death from injuries among older Americans

In fact, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an older adult falls every single second of each day in the United States

It’s never too early to start thinking about improving your balance and preventing falls. Below, are six of our favorite balance exercises. Perform these bodyweight moves as often as possible: when you’re standing at the kitchen counter or waiting in line while running errands

1. Foot Taps

This exercise strengthens the core muscles that helps stabilize your spine

How to do it

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart in front of a step (the bottom step of a staircase will work) or low piece of furniture

If needed, hold on to the wall or a sturdy piece of furniture for balance. As you get stronger, perform the move without holding on to anything

From here, slowly raise one foot to tap the step in front of you, and then slowly return it to the floor

Perform 15 to 20 taps, then repeat on the opposite leg

2. Head Rotations

This exercise increases the mobility in your neck, which in turn helps with good posture and balance

How to do it

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart

If needed, hold on to the wall or a sturdy piece of furniture for balance. As you get stronger, perform the move without holding on to anything

From here, slowly move your head from side to side then up and down while keep your body as still as possible

Do this for 30 seconds, and repeat. If you get dizzy, pause and move your head more slowly

If you’re still dizzy, stop.


3. Standing Marches

This core-strengthening exercise helps shore up the muscles that support your spine. How to do it

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart

If needed, hold on to the wall or a sturdy piece of furniture for balance. As you get stronger, perform the move without holding on to anything

From here, lift one knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor (or as close to parallel as you can go) while keep your torso straight and avoiding any leaning

Pause, then slowly return your foot to the floor

Perform 20 marches, alternating between legs with each march

4. Sit-to-Stands

This exercise not only strengthens your core muscles but is a good alternative to squats if you have knee problems.

How to do it

Stand tall with your back facing a sturdy chair and your feet hip-width apart

If needed, hold on to the wall or a sturdy piece of furniture for balance. As you get stronger, perform the move without holding on to anything

From here, sit back and slowly lower your hips on to the chair as gently as possible

Pause, and without swinging your torso, push through your heels to stand up

Perform 10 repetitions

5. Single-Leg Stands

This is a good balance exercise to try anytime of the day, such as when you are waiting for your coffee to brew

How to do it

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart

If needed, hold on to the wall or a sturdy piece of furniture for balance. As you get stronger, perform the move without holding on to anything

From here, lift one foot an inch off the floor while keeping your torso straight and without leaning toward your planted foot

Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, then slowly return your foot to the floor

Repeat on the opposite leg

Perform five stands on each leg

6. Over-the-Shoulder Walks

This exercise challenges your brain and your body to work together to stay upright while doing two different tasks at the same time

How to do it

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart at one end of a hallway or room

If needed, hold on to the wall for balance. As you get stronger, perform the move without holding on to anything

From here, look behind you over one shoulder

Maintaining this gaze, take four to five steps forward

Then, look over your other shoulder, and take four to five more steps forward

Perform five repetitions on each side

SAFETY FIRST!! Do NOT attempt these exercises if you have a history of falls or potential for falling. Always consult your MD or therapist before starting any balance program to set safety parameters for you

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