Mental and Physical Health, Mobility

Improve Your Balance to Prevent Falls and Stay Active: Balance Exercises and FAQs

seniors balancing on exercise balls

Losing your balance is an easy way to guarantee a fall. While there are lots of tools you can use to help with your balance (like a rollator or a bathroom safety bar), you can also work to improve your balance with easy exercises for seniors at home or in the gym.

Prop up your computer, phone, or tablet where you can see it, turn up the volume, and follow along.

Going to a class or watching a follow-along video are great ways to get into the habit of exercising! Find a class at your local fitness center or find a YouTube video (I’ve included a couple of my favorites here). Videos are engaging and fun! The instructor will give you lots of tips to tailor the workout to your abilities. Try starting with this simple 10-minute workout.

Once you’ve done the 10-minute balance workout 3 or 4 days a week for 2 weeks, you can move on to this 20-minute workout. This video includes a lot of dynamic exercises, which means you’ll be moving more than in the first video. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just take it slow, and use a couple chairs for support. Complete this exercise a couple times every week and you’ll be moving confidently in no time!

A list of exercises to do at home or at the gym

Follow-along videos aren’t for everyone. Maybe you feel like you can’t keep up, or you want to workout at the gym with headphones playing your favorite tune. Whatever the reason, you can come up with your own exercise routine tailored to your goals and your abilities.

Start by reading through a couple lists of balance exercises for seniors. Pick 5-7 exercises that you’re confident you can do, and pick 1-2 exercises that look like a challenge!

Once you’ve chosen your exercises, write them down along with any instructions you’ll need to remember how to do them safely.

Next to each exercise, write down a goal. The goal could be a length of time to hold a pose or a number of repetitions you want to complete.

Finally, arrange the exercises in the order you want to complete them. For example, you might not want to do two similar exercises in a row. Do not include the challenge exercises in this exercise regimen.

Your list should look something like this:

list of exercises for a simple workout

Do your list of exercises 3-4 days a week. If the exercises get too easy, increase the length of time or number of repetitions. Once you’ve worked through your list for a couple weeks, add your challenge exercises on to the end of the list. After all your training, you might find that those challenges are easier than you thought they’d be!

FAQs

Q: What exercises should seniors avoid?

A: While there is no list of exercises all seniors should always avoid, there are some general principles you can follow to be sure you don’t strain yourself while working out. First, pay attention to your body. If you feel pain or extreme strain during an exercise, stop. Exercising shouldn’t always be easy but it shouldn’t be painful either. You should feel comfortable!

Second, avoid exercises that put too much pressure on your joints. This includes things like weighted squats, routines with lots of fast movement, or excessive jumping. Remember to start with slow and easy exercises when you’re working your joints.

Third, learn from your doctor or physical therapist. You can find tons of information from follow-along videos and the experts at your gym or doctor’s office. Always go back to the first principle though. If you’re feeling uncomfortable in an exercise, stop.

Q: How can seniors improve their balance?

A: Improving balance is a slow process. You have to be dedicated, and it’s always good to start working on your balance now, even if you’re not experiencing balance issues.

If you’re wondering how to improve balance, there are a number of exercises you can do. The key isn’t a specific exercise, but to do a variety of exercises a couple days a week every week. Just 10 minutes a day 3 days a week will help with your balance. Remember  to do other exercises like strength training on the days you don’t do your balance exercises.

You can also find senior exercise programs at home! This allows you to utilize someone’s professional training in the comfort of your home. You can also get a similar experience in a gym by hiring a personal trainer.

Q: What is the best exercise for balance?

A: The good news is that there is no one best exercise! You can do a variety of exercises tailored to your abilities to improve your balance. Variety and consistency is key to work on your balance problems and reduces risk of falls.

Final Thoughts

 

Working toward good balance is a great way to be safe during your other physical activities. Stay dedicated to whatever workout you decide to do and keep moving!