When we’re young and able-bodied, we tend to take some of our physical abilities for granted. Once we’re able to walk on our own, it’s easy to just walk and not think about how it’s not as easy for some as it is for others. As we age, our senses start declining, which can cause issues with balance. This inevitably affects our walking and other day-to-day tasks, making it difficult to live safely on our own.
At the Mission at Agua Fria, we offer exercise classes that help our residents complete senior balance exercises, which help to improve their overall balance, thus improving safety and their comfort of moving more steadily on their own. Below are three senior balance exercises that your senior loved one can do at home to strengthen their ability to balance more easily.
1. Walk the Tightrope
Part of maintaining a good sense of balance is having muscle strength. Walking the tightrope is a great senior balance exercise that can be completed in the safety of your home.
To walk the tightrope, stand with your feet facing front, knees and hips straight, and step with your right foot, then step with your left foot, placing your foot directly in front of your right foot, with your left heel touching your right toes.
Repeat with your right foot, placing your right heel in front of your left foot, so the right heel is touching the left foot’s toes, and repeat until you are across the room or for a pre-determined number of steps. This exercise will strengthen your legs, making balancing much easier as you gain leg muscles.
2. Standing on One Leg
This exercise is a great starting balance exercise since you can start practicing while holding on to a chair that doesn’t have wheels to help steady you while exercising. If a chair isn’t handy, you can also put your hands on a wall to steady you as you work to get stronger.
With this exercise, you stand with both feet on the ground, feet pointed front, and simply lift one knee so that your foot is off the ground and your thigh is parallel to the ground and hold it for a count of 30 seconds, then place your foot back down.
Try to keep your back straight, as leaning forward will reduce the exercise’s effectiveness. Repeat with your other leg, holding the other foot off the ground for the same count, and then place it back down. If you’re using a chair or wall to steady your balance, work toward doing the exercises without needing a stability tool.
3. Toe Lifts
Toe lifts help strengthen your calf muscles to help with your balance. Stand with your feet pointing forward and your back straight. You can help steady yourself by placing your hands on a wall or by holding on to a steady chair without wheels. While standing tall with arms out, raise your heels up on each foot so that you’re standing on the balls of both feet, as high as you can, then lower your feet back down to the floor. Try not to lean forward while on your toes.
These exercises can help strengthen your legs and help either maintain or regain the sense of balance as needed. If you or a loved one is interested in joining our assisted living community and joining our exercise classes, contact us at the Mission at Agua Fria Senior Living today.