Some noticeable changes have taken place in your body in the last two decades. You may have lost most of your physical strength and may find it hard to balance yourself. That’s okay, and that’s life. Statistics show that emergency rooms in America treat more than 100 seniors daily. The primary reason for this is the ‘injuries’ caused by falling while using their walkers and canes. That could be because seniors haven’t been trained to use their walkers adequately. Or that seniors are naturally at higher risk of falling because of the changes in their bodies.
In this blog, I’ll give you four simple, safe and practical walker exercises that you can do daily for ‘balance and stability.’ And yes, when you perform these exercises correctly, they’ll reduce the frequency of falls (if you have any). And make you even more fitter. Note: with a little bit of consistency, we can go a long way.
Before I jump into the exercises, it is essential to have someone with you while performing these exercises, especially if you’re doing them for the first time. Below are a few more simple rules:
- If any of these ‘walker exercises’ cause pain, stop immediately and move on to others.
- If you’re wobbly, try wearing a gait belt.
- Make sure to have a decluttered space for exercise. You don’t want any objects there and fall.
- If you have pets, make sure they aren’t around when you are exercising.
- And the most important thing is to make sure that the brakes of the walker are engaged (to protect you from slipping).
Now that we’ve established some ground rules let’s get this started.
- Stand up from your chair or your bed and take a comfortable stance. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart. A promising sign of that is when you stand, your feet should touch the walker’s wheels from the inside.
- Make sure to keep your back straight and shoulders back.
- Now, lift on your toes and gently fall back on your heels. Up and back. Alright. Give me about 10 of these. You’ve got this. Come on. Lift on your toes and fall back on your heels.
Exercise 2: Knee ups
Remember we had a wider stance in the first exercise? In this exercise, bring your feet a little closer to each other.
- Now, slowly and steadily lift your left knee till it is parallel to the ground. If that is a little hard for you, raise it to the point where you feel a slight strain on your muscles.
- Now gently bring your left knee down and do the same with the right knee. It is almost like you are ‘marching’ at the spot. If you realize it, you are shifting the weight from one leg to another.
- This exercise improves balance and is considered one of the best balance exercises for seniors. Aim for 8-10 repetitions. As you build your strength, you can progressively increase your repetitions.
Exercise 3: Squats
For this exercise, I need you to have someone with you. We’ll go with the same stance we had in exercise one.
- Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, your back straight, and your chest out.
- Grip your walker firmly and squat. Perform the movement as if you’re going to sit on a chair. You don’t have to go parallel to the ground.
- Make sure to do just enough. It is a compound exercise, meaning that a lot of your lower-body muscles are getting involved. So if you’re doing ‘just enough,’ that’s awesome.
Exercise 4: Donkey Kicks
This exercise is a combination of ‘knee ups’ and ‘back kicks.’ Sounds complicated? Let’s make it simple. We’ll take the same stance as we took in ‘Knee ups.’
- Now, lift your left knee till it is parallel to the ground.
- Slowly kick it back and bring it down.
- Repeat it for the right leg. And give me 10 of those.
Note: Start slow, and with time keep adding more repetitions.
Watch this video to demonstrate how to do these exercises and how to do a few more.
You’ll gain more strength and stability with time. If you struggle in the beginning, don’t give up. It will get easier with time. If you have any questions regarding the exercises, comment below, and we’ll get back to you.
By the way, if you’re looking for walkers, The Elder Expo has carefully chosen a selection of walkers to suit a wide variety of needs. Click on this link, and it’ll take you straight to the product page.