Balance is something that we all tend to lose as we age if we do not stay on top of it. However, there are things you can do to maintain balance and even improve it over time which is important for healthy aging. Falls are one of the biggest and most devastating injuries that seniors face. A good portion of these falls can be attributed to a loss of balance and a loss of muscle strength. Maintaining mobility is a part of healthy aging so you can continue to enjoy the activities that you love. The good news is, that many of the exercises that can assist you in improving your balance can be done with minimal equipment and without a gym membership!
Healthy Aging Exercises To Improve Balance
STANDING ON ONE FOOT:
You can easily practice this at home while holding onto a chair or supporting yourself using a wall. As your balance improves, you can progress to doing this without support. Set yourself a goal to stand on one foot without support for approximately a minute. Be patient and build up to that goal over time.
Walking can help to make your legs stronger and practicing this technique at home can help improve your balance. As you walk, put one foot directly in front of the other so that the heel and toe touch for about 20 steps. You can guide yourself along a wall until you are comfortable enough to do it unsupported.
BACK LEG EXTENSION:
Back leg extensions are a great exercise to strengthen your glutes. Our glutes are important and powerful muscles, they are the main drivers of many activities of daily living such as going up and down stairs, sitting down, and getting up from a seated position. Sitting down and getting up from sitting is an important movement for everyday activities such as going to the washroom. Being able to sit and stand independently is an important aspect of healthy aging. As our glutes weaken, we tend to compensate and use the wrong muscle groups which leads to injury or needing assistance with daily tasks. In this exercise, you can hold onto a chair and extend your leg back behind you while focusing on squeezing the glutes to do so. Repeat 10-15 times per side.
Also known as calf raises, toe lifts are a great strengthening exercise for your legs and feet. Not only will this exercise strengthen the muscles of your calves, but it will also improve fluid and blood flow return from your lower extremity to prevent swelling. If you are suffering from bunions or other foot issues, you may be a little more off balance so do use the support of a chair if needed. Standing with feet firmly on the ground, come up on your toes while using a chair in front of you to stabilize. Lift and lower yourself to your comfort 20 times.
Tai Chi is a form of exercise that focuses on fluid movements, stretching, and mindfulness. It can be a great addition to your routine if you are looking to improve your balance and coordination. The low impact and slow-moving pace of Tai Chi make it suitable for all ages or flexibility levels. Many community centers offer classes in Tai Chi. You can also find videos on YouTube. Here is an 8-minute daily routine video to get you started.
Healthy aging and healthcare
Our chiropractors, physiotherapists, and registered massage therapists are here to ensure your body is moving at its best throughout your lifetime. If you’ve experienced an injury or are having trouble with your balance, we are here to help. Learn more about our healthcare services online or call the CURAVITA Byward Clinic at 613-860-8600 or the CURAVITA Glebe Clinic at 613-237-9000 to book an appointment with any of our healthcare providers.