Why Should Senior Citizens Perform Balance Exercises?

Nov 8, 2022

No one wants to start feeling like their body is losing coordination or strength. Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health as an aging adult.

It can prevent or postpone many of the health issues that scan accompany aging and enhance your current lifestyle. Physical activity also helps your muscles grow stronger, helping you carry on with your daily activities and reducing your dependency on others.

Balance exercises, in particular, can help in a variety of different ways that allow you to stay mobile and strong.

How Balance Exercises Can Help Seniors

Loss of balance skills is something many people experience as they age, because of this, falls are one of the leading causes of injury among seniors.

Being afraid of falling can prevent you from living a more active life, which can then increase your risk of falling and injuring yourself. It’s okay to start with simple movements until you feel more confident in yourself; balance exercises are a great starting point for a more active and healthy life. Balance exercises can help improve:

  • Stability
  • Mobility
  • Endurance
  • Coordination
  • Strength

These activities are also ideal for getting outside and socializing. Balance exercises come in a variety of forms to meet the needs of people of all ages and abilities.

Preventing Disease

Another reason why seniors should exercise more often is disease prevention. Exercising regularly can lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Regular exercise has been shown to improve immune function by moving lymph fluids throughout the body. Even light exercise, such as walking, can help to move lymph fluids and help keep your immune system functioning properly.

Increasing Muscle

Seniors who practice balance exercises can gain the same benefits as younger people who exercise to increase muscle mass. Muscle mass helps to cushion the impact of painful falls. Older people with more muscle mass and stronger arms can often catch themselves before falling.

A female senior woke up on her bed with a smile on her face while stretching her hands.

Improved Sleep

Getting enough exercise helps seniors sleep more soundly and deeply, which is important for older people who may have disrupted sleep patterns. Sleep pattern problems can lead to foggy thinking and irritability.

Faster Reaction Time

Many younger people avoid falling because they have quick reflexes, but as people age, their reaction times slow. Balance exercises can significantly improve reaction time by strengthening muscles and encouraging them to perform quickly.

Fast reaction times can help a person stay upright if they begin to fall by placing a hand on a wall or quickly grabbing onto something stable.

It Makes You Happy

Exercising has numerous mental health benefits. Endorphins (the “feel good” hormone) are released during exercise, which acts as a stress reliever and leaves you feeling happy and satisfied.

Balance Exercises To Try

A balance exercise program can have long-lasting benefits beyond fall prevention.

Exercise is important at any age, but especially as you get older. If you’re thinking of trying out some balance exercises and don’t know where to start, here are some ideas that you can try, even as a beginner!

Single Leg Stand

Raise your right foot and balance on your left. Hold that position for as long as possible before switching feet. The goal should be to stand on one foot for up to a minute without holding onto a chair.

Rock the Boat

This exercise is done standing with your feet hip-width apart. Make sure both feet are firmly planted on the ground.

  • Stand up straight and keep your head level.
  • Then shift your weight to your right foot and gradually raise your left leg off the ground.
  • Maintain that position as long as possible (but no more than 30 seconds).
  • Slowly place your foot back on the ground and shift your weight to that foot.
  • Lift your opposite leg slowly.

Begin by performing this balance exercise 5 times per side, then gradually increase the number of repetitions.

Back Leg Raises

To keep your balance, hold onto a sturdy chair. Before beginning this exercise, take a slow, deep breath.

  • Slowly exhale as you lift one leg without bending the knee or pointing your toes.
  • Try not to lean forward.
  • Maintain this posture for a few seconds.
  • When lowering your leg, take a deep breath in.
  • Repeat this process 10–15 times.
  • Repeat the motion 10–15 times with the opposite leg.

You Don’t Have to Exercise Alone!

At Chestnut Ridge, we have a variety of enriching group activities including ones that can help you work on your balance with friends. Take a look at our calendar of events or schedule a visit and see if there’s anything you would like to try!