As a senior, one of the most important things you can do for your health is to maintain regular daily physical activities. Easy-to-do fitness programs like simple balance training are designed to help to build the strength you need to stay fit and enjoy the pleasures life has to offer in your golden years.
At The Villages, we ensure our residents have the support they need for living a full life, including movement activities to help with cognition and balance. Learn why balance exercises are crucial for seniors and get inspired by some fun examples.
Things to Know About Falls
The majority of physical injuries reported by seniors are a result of simple falls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says every second of every day, a senior suffers a fall. Among seniors, 1 out of 5 falls results in long-term health issues such as hip, back, and joint pains. This is why balance training is paramount to living a healthy, rich, and pain-free life
.Maintaining independence is usually a top priority for seniors. Everyday activities like sitting down to tie your shoes, going up the stairs, or even standing up to open the door are all put in jeopardy when your balance is compromised.
Here are a few things the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants you to know about falls:
- Falling once doubles your chance of falling again
- 1 out of 5 falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls
- Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury in seniors
- Each year 3 million seniors are treated in hospital for fall-related injuries
Benefits of Maintaining Balance Exercise Training
Balance exercises improve more than just your coordination. Here are 6 extra benefits of maintaining balance exercises in your daily routine:
- Better reaction time
- Stronger bones
- Better cognitive functions
- Reduced risk of falls
- Improved sleep
- Improved coordination
A better quality of life is the ultimate byproduct of maintaining a daily exercise routine. However, this doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore or extra work—you could make it as fun as you’d like. Invite a friend or family member to join you, dress comfortably, and play some of your favorite tunes!
Examples of Balance Exercises
Here are some examples of easy-to-do balance training exercises for you to try at home:
- Walking heel to toe (like a tightrope)
- Raise your arms to the side
- Walk forward, placing one foot in front of the other, keeping your eyes forward
- Take 25 to 35 steps each way
- Leg raises (flamingo stand)
- Stand in place with your legs shoulder-width apart, holding onto a chair with one hand for extra balance if needed
- Bend one knee and lift it up towards your chest
- Hold for 15 seconds one leg up towards your chest and hold for 15 seconds
- Put your leg down and repeat on the opposite side
- Clock reaches
- Hold a chair with your left hand, imagine you are standing in the middle of a clock
- Lift your right leg off the ground
- Extend your right hand in front of you at 12 o’clock and slowly begin to reach to the side, then to the back, aiming for 6 o’clock
- Reach to the front again, then bring your arm and leg down
- Repeat on the opposite side
- Weight shifts
- Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, and shift your weight to your left foot
- Raise your right foot up and hold for 30 seconds
- Lower your right leg and shift weight to your right foot to repeat on the opposite side
- Tree pose
- Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, and lift your right foot to rest it on your left ankle
- Keep your hands in any position comfortable for you
- Hold for 60 seconds
- Lower your right foot and rest
- Repeat on the opposite side
What Did We Learn?
With seniors being vulnerable to falls, which can lead to critical injury, scheduling in a daily fitness program will aid in strengthening your muscles, balancing your coordination, and increasing your quality of life.
Consistency is key to maximizing the benefits of balance training. It is important to maintain these exercises as part of your daily fitness routine. So, here’s a quick rundown of some of the tips we learned.
- It is important to maintain regular daily physical activity
- Include exercise programs such as balance training to help with your posture, balance, and coordination
- Seniors are at high risk of falling
- Do the exercises daily!
At The Villages, we maintain an enriching calendar of events to engage our residents, including exercise classes. Contact us to learn more about life at The Villages.