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The 7 Best Exercises for Improving Balance for Seniors

physical therapist walking with an elderly woman

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

April 05, 2021


It’s not uncommon for elderly adults to experience falls due to decreased balance. Are an elderly adult living in Charlottesville, VA wondering how to improve balance in seniors?

Sometimes, falls occur because of external factors we can’t control. However, as we age, falls become more common simply due to decreased balance and muscular strength. The good news is that standing balance exercises exist for elderly adults to do at home.

If you’re an elderly adult looking for ways to increase your balance or an adult child with aging parents who need to increase their muscular strength, keep reading.

In this article, you’ll learn some of the top balance drills for seniors and tips for improving balance for seniors. Join us as we share some easy at-home balance and mobility exercises for the elderly to increase their balance and confidence.

 

4 Standing Balance Exercises for Seniors

Many geriatric balance exercises are easy to perform right in the comfort of your home. These balance and stability exercises for the elderly are beneficial for regaining balance and muscular strength.

Here are four of the easiest and most effective balance training exercises for seniors.

 

1. Standing Leg Raises

Standing leg raises provide basic balance practice for seniors. They’re a great starting point for any elderly adult trying to improve balance and stability.

How to perform standing leg raises:

You can do standing leg raises with or without a supportive object like a chair or wall. 

  • Stand up on both feet
  • Slowly lift one foot off the ground
  • Hold it off the ground for 5-10 seconds
  • Place it back on the ground
  • Pick up the other foot for 5-10 seconds
  • Repeat this process 5-10 times

For greater difficulty, don’t use a chair for support and hold each foot off the ground for 20-30 seconds per side. 

 

2. Calf Raises

Calf raises are excellent older adult balance exercises. They not only help restore balance but also strengthen leg muscles.

How to perform calf raises:

Like standing leg raises, you can do calf raises as standing balance exercises with or without something for support.

  • Stand on both feet
  • Slowly push off your heels and up onto your toes
  • Stay on your toes for 1-3 seconds
  • Slowly come back down onto your heels
  • Repeat 5-10 times

As you get stronger, you can increase the number of times you perform this exercise and the amount of time you stay on your toes.

 

3. Chair Squats

Chair squats are very practical balance activities for adults. These balance moves for seniors mimic getting out of a chair. They help to increase balance and muscular strength.

How to perform chair squats:

It’s best to perform chair squats with a wooden or metal table chair.

  • Stand on your feet
  • Position a chair behind you, like you would if you were going to sit down
  • Slowly lower yourself into the chair, but don’t sit all the way back on it
  • Once you feel the chair under you, stop for 1-3 seconds
  • Slowly raise yourself off the chair, using your legs as much as possible
  • Stand upright for 1-3 seconds
  • Repeat this process 5-10 times

You don’t want to move too quickly through this exercise. Breathe out each time you stand up out of the chair and keep your feet pointed forward.

 

4. Tightrope Walk

The tightrope walk is one of the best balance challenges for seniors to help increase walking stability. 

How to perform the tightrope walk:

All you need for the tightrope walk is a clean space of floor about 20 feet long.

  • Start on one side of the room with your back against the wall
  • Lift your right foot and place it directly in front of your left foot so that your right heel is touching your left toes
  • Lift your left foot and place it directly in front of your right foot so that your left heel is touching your right toes
  • Repeat this process for 20-30 steps (or until your reach the other side of the room)
  • Turn around, and do the same process again

You can perform the tightrope walk with the aid of a cane, walker, or another assistive device.

All of the above exercises are great activities for homebound adults to gain balance and improve stability.

 

3 Tips for Improving Balance for Seniors

In addition to practical activities to improve seniors’ balance, we’ve compiled three top tips to help elderly adults maintain improved stability.

 

1. Healthy Lifestyle

An overall healthy lifestyle can help improve your balance and stability. A healthy lifestyle promotes better physical and emotional longevity.

Some keys to a healthy lifestyle include:

You don’t need to integrate all these things into your lifestyle immediately. It can be helpful to choose one or two at a time. But adding these healthy lifestyle choices into your life will improve your overall health.

 

2. Consistency

Consistency is essential for long-term sustained success. 

Regarding performing the above balance drills for seniors, it’s critical to do some or all exercises each day. Doing these exercises regularly and consistently will provide you with greater strength and balance in the long run.

Consistency is also valuable for integrating new healthy habits into your lifestyle. Try to eat one healthy food every day or schedule a time to see friends or family once a week.

Whether it’s performing the above geriatric balance exercises, introducing healthy foods into your diet, or taking new medications on time, consistency will provide long-term results.

 

3. In-home Physical Therapy

Sometimes starting something new is the hardest part. Performing balance and mobility exercises for the elderly can be incredibly challenging for them to start independently. Hiring an in-home physical therapist is an excellent way to provide expert supervision and care.

Some of the advantages of an in-home physical therapist for seniors looking to improve their balance include:

  • Convenience: The physical therapist will assist the client at their place of residence.
  • Experience: In-home therapists are experts in their field and can provide experienced, hands-on help to seniors.
  • Supervision: A home therapist can supervise elderly adults to ensure they’re performing the exercises correctly and can help make adjustments when needed.

In-home physical therapy gives older adults the ability to receive balance training from a professional physical therapist.  

 

Need Help Understanding How to Improve Balance in Seniors?

Falling becomes more common with age, but it doesn’t need to be a regular occurrence. 

There are many standing balance exercises elderly adults can perform. These exercises will help them regain balance, muscle strength, and confidence to make walking and moving around easier. 

Living an overall healthy lifestyle is necessary for an elderly adult’s long-term coordination and well-being. Consistency is also crucial. Performing geriatric balance exercises regularly and daily making healthy lifestyle choices will provide sustained health and wellness.

If you’re an elderly adult looking to improve your balance, we’re here to help you.

At Commonwise Home Care in Charlottesville, VA, we pride ourselves on delivering quality in-home care to aging adults. Whether you need help with daily activities like dressing or transportation or you’re looking for an in-home physical therapist, we can provide the assistance you need.

Contact us today to learn more about in-home physical therapy and how it can improve your strength and stability as you age.

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