As we age, we may experience a decline in our physical abilities, including balance. Falls are a common concern among seniors and can result in serious injuries or hospitalization.
One way to reduce the risk of falls and improve overall health and quality of life for seniors is by concentrating on wellness, particularly balance exercises. Living a healthy and active lifestyle is an integral aspect of many senior living communities.
Why Is Balance Important?
Every year, more than 25% of older adults aged 65 or older have a fall. Older adults are more at risk of falls, slips, and injuries.
Certain conditions can impair your balance or cause balance concerns, such as:
- Inner ear problems
- Heart disease
- Vision problems
- Thyroid issues
- Medication side effects
Balance can benefit almost anyone. But while you can’t prevent falls and accidents 100%, improving balance with exercise can help reduce your risk of falls. The goal of balance exercises for seniors is to improve stability and coordination.
Balance exercise aims to improve your overall stability and posture, making it easier to perform everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, and standing up from a chair. Our muscles and bones become weaker with age, which makes balance more difficult.
However, with regular balance exercises, seniors can strengthen their core muscles and improve their balance.
Reduced Risk of Falls
Falls are a serious concern for seniors, and the risk increases with age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 million older adults visit the emergency department each year for fall injuries.
However, by performing balance exercises, seniors can improve their balance and build strength to reduce their risk of falls.
A fall can seriously impact a senior’s daily life. By performing balance exercises, seniors can maintain an independent lifestyle, gain confidence, and continue to perform everyday activities without assistance.
Improved Quality of Life
Aging, with a decline in physical abilities, can significantly impact our quality of life. However, by performing balance exercises, seniors can maintain their physical abilities and enjoy a better quality of life.
Enhanced balance performance can lead to significant improvements in quality of life. It allows older adults to continue participating in recreational opportunities, activities, and events they enjoy, without fear of falling.
Balance Exercises for Seniors
There are a variety of balance exercises that seniors can perform to improve their overall stability. When done regularly, they can help you maintain the lifestyle you’re used to.
This exercise helps strengthen your legs and improves balance. It involves walking in a straight line while placing the heel of one foot directly in front of the toes of the other foot. You can perform this exercise while holding onto a chair or wall for support.
You can perform the heel-toe raise using a walker. Start by standing with both hands on your walker and raise both heels while balancing on the balls of your feet for 3 seconds. Then shift your weight onto your heels and raise your toes.
Rock the Boat
Rock the Boat is a simple balance exercise for all levels. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and arms extended to your sides. Lift one foot off the floor and bend the knee. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other foot.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Next, shift your weight onto one foot and raise the other. Hold for up to 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
How Often Should Seniors Perform Balance Exercises?
Seniors should perform balance exercises at least 2 to 3 times per week. Here are some exercise tips for seniors:
- Seniors should consult with their doctor before starting any new exercise program.
- It’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the difficulty of the exercises.
- Take breaks when needed.
- Use a chair or wall for support and to prevent falls.
- Ensure you are well hydrated and eat well to reduce the possibility of lightheadedness or dizziness.
- Cool down by stretching or taking long, deep breaths after exercising.
Find Balance in Life
Balance is integral to senior health and well-being and can help reduce the risk of falls, improve overall stability, and increase independence. By incorporating balance exercises into your routine, you can maintain physical abilities and enjoy a better quality of life.
Our community at Urbana Place Senior Living is focused on helping seniors find balance in all aspects of their lives. Schedule a tour to explore our community and learn about the health and wellness programs at Urbana Place for an active and independent lifestyle.