Finding exercises to improve your balance at home can be a challenge, especially if you’re trying to add variety into your balance training. As a senior individual, doing balance training integrated with both strength training and walking is one of the best ways to keep yourself healthy. Especially as the fall risk gets worse as you age and bad falls can be very debilitating and even lead to higher mortality rates. Let’s look at 10 balance exercise you can use to prevent falls.
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Having good balance and functional strength are key to performing day to day tasks that can keep seniors integrated into society. A drop off in balance and the ability to walk are seriously limiting factors for the quality of life for senior citizens. Walking and mortality have been shown to be heavily linked with senior citizens as has leg strength in men . Although this isn’t directly linked to balance training, we can start to build a picture of just how important physical activity is for seniors, with balance training being included.
Fall risks are a deadly issue for seniors. This may sound inflammatory but studies have shown that there is an increase in mortality rates after a serious fall. Falls are also one of the most common injuries in the elderly, “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an older adult dies from a fall every 19 minutes.” This outlines just how common falls are and how deadly they can be. Serious falls lead to serious injury, which leads to inactivity, making the body more susceptible to illness. Balance training has been shown to prevent the risk of falls as has both walking and strength training, all three behaviours could not be more encouraged for your health and wellbeing as you age.
Balance training can also improve your coordination. Although less important than the previous two factors, coordination allows people to do things like complex hikes, play sports like tennis and squash among many others. By maintaining activities such as these you’re able to prevent a decline in general activity and maintain social activities as well.
Full body resistance training is the practice of strength training that consists of moving your body through multiple movement patterns against a weight (either an external weight or your body weight). This application of resistance can increase muscle strength and improve bone health among many other benefits . Integrating balance training into this style of training can be a great way for seniors to drastically improve their health.
Small circuits of balance exercises are a great way to work some light movement into your day. These circuits can be as short as 10 minutes yet still have a huge impact when done on a regular bases. If you take two or three of the suggested exercises and repeat 2-3 rounds of them a few times a week you will be moving your balance in the right direction. Give this simple and effect balance circuit a try.
Complete 3 rounds
Salsa has been shown to be effective at improving balance in elderly individuals and also has high adherents rates unlike many resistance training programmes.
One of the best dynamic balance exercises for anyone let alone seniors is the ski jump . This however requires a great deal of strength and coordination and should only be attempted if you find the other exercises easy, meaning your a very advanced individual. Seniors should not attempt this exercise unless they are with a medical professional. Seniors balance can be impaired especially if they have impaired cognitive function, so precautions must be taken when picking exercises for seniors for balancing exercise and all other forms of exercise.
Yes, all these balancing exercises will create a great deal of muscle activation in the feet, especially when performed barefoot. This will lead to strength adaptations in feet.
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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.