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Why Should Seniors Perform Balance Exercises?

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Seniors performing balance exercises while holding a wooden beam for support with their left hand and holding up their right leg in the air.

Staying active, remaining independent, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can greatly improve overall health and well-being for older adults. However, older adults with mobility and balance issues may face more challenges with activities like walking, standing, and sitting. In these situations, older adults may benefit from assisted living to get support for activities of daily living. 

As we get older. it becomes increasingly vital to take the necessary steps to prevent falls and maintain good balance. Balance exercises can reduce the risk of falls, enhance mobility, and improve overall quality of life for many older adults. 

Why Is Balance Important?

Balance is a person’s ability to move and function independently and can be crucial for older adults because it helps prevent falls and injuries. When we age, our muscles can weaken, our bones can become more fragile, and our reflexes can slow down. This combination of changes can make maintaining balance more challenging. 

Symptoms of a balance disorder can include:

  • Dizziness or a spinning sensation
  • Falling or feeling like you are going to fall
  • Staggering when attempting to walk
  • Lightheadedness
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion or disorientation

Balance exercises can benefit people with certain health conditions, such as:

  • Inner ear problems
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Vision problems
  • Thyroid issues

Reasons Why Seniors Should Perform Balance Exercises

Poor balance can restrict older adults from completing simple daily activities such as reaching for something high up, getting up from a seated position, climbing stairs, or leaning over to put shoes on. Balance exercises can improve stability and reduce the risk of falls during many of these activities of daily living. 

Improve Overall Balance

Balance can become impaired due to natural changes in the body. By incorporating regular balance exercises into your fitness routine, you can strengthen your muscles and improve nerve function, which can help prevent falls and improve overall balance. 

Enhance Mobility

Mobility can become more challenging as we age. Balance exercises require coordination between different body parts and systems, and by practicing these exercises, you can enhance mobility, flexibility, and coordination for better overall movement and balance control.

Reduce the Risk of Falls

More than 25% of older adults fall each year. Falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults and can lead to fractures, pain, and even disability. However, incorporating balance exercises can significantly reduce the risk of falls and make them less severe if they do happen. 

Improve Quality of Life 

Balance exercises can greatly improve overall quality of life. As we age, remaining independent and active can become increasingly important. Regular balance exercises can help older adults maintain independence for longer without relying on different forms of support for getting around. Not only can this lead to a wonderful quality of life, but it can also help improve mental health. 

Balance Exercises for Seniors

There are many balance exercises that older adults can do at home or in a community setting.

Sit-to-Stand Exercises

This exercise helps build leg strength and improves balance. Here’s how to do it:

  • Sit on a sturdy chair with both feet on the ground.
  • As you shift your body weight to stand, lean your chest over your toes and slowly rise.
  • Slowly sit back into the chair and repeat 10 times. 
  • The goal is not to use your hands. But if necessary, hold the arms or seat of the chair to stand and sit. 

Balance Exercises on One Foot

This exercise can help those with unsteady balance Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand in front of a counter or have someone with you for safety. 
  • With your eyes open, stand on one foot and hold steady for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat with the other foot. 
  • Work your way up from 10 seconds to 30 seconds. 
  • If you can do it with your eyes open, try the exercise with your eyes closed. First, for 10 seconds, and up to 30 seconds again. 

Tips for Doing Balance Exercises

You often don’t need much equipment when doing balance exercises. It is most important to be safe. Here are some tips for when you’re doing balance exercises:

  • Place a chair nearby or in front of you before exercising for support and to prevent falls.
  • Ensure you are well hydrated and have eaten before exercising to prevent lightheadedness or dizziness.
  • Always start with simple exercises and slowly advance to more challenging activities. Hold positions for fewer seconds first before attempting longer durations. 
  • Speak to your healthcare provider or therapist before starting any new exercise routine.
  • Remember to warm up and stretch, if possible, before exercising. 
A group of seniors in an exercise class smiling and stretching with one hand over their heads

Balancing Care & Independence 

Regular balance exercises can be the key to maintaining balance and mobility. These exercises help prevent falls, improve stability, and enhance independence and quality of life for older adults. 

Schedule a tour with us to learn how Round Lake Senior Living can support you or a loved one in living a healthy, active lifestyle. 

Written by Lifespark

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