It’s perfectly natural to feel a little less sure-footed in your golden years. In fact, nearly 40% of older adults are affected by balance difficulties. The great news is that there are things you can do to improve your balance and reduce your risk of falling. Here are simple activities that will help strengthen the muscles responsible for good balance. Give one or more a try every day for a few weeks and see firsthand how they can help you get your steadiness back.
Rock the Boat
If you’re a little rebellious and like to rock the boat, do this exercise to keep yourself steady while you do.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
Concentrate on pressing your weight equally into both feet.
Carefully shift your weight to your left foot and use a controlled motion to extend your right foot out in front of you. You don’t have to lift your leg high.
Hold this position for 30 seconds.
Lower your right leg slowly back to the floor and repeat the actions on the other side (shifting your weight to your right foot and lifting your left foot in front of you).
Repeat this exercise five to 10 times on each leg.
Have you always longed to walk on a tightrope? Now’s your chance! Here’s how to perform this safe and easy balance exercise.
Place a piece of masking tape (5-6 feet long) on the ground.
Stand at one edge of the masking tape and hold your arms out to the sides.
Walk along the center of the masking tape until you reach the other side.
You can turn around and repeat this process until you feel pretty confident in your balancing abilities.
This exercise is great if you’re looking for more of a challenge. Here’s how to do it.
Place a string or long strip of tape on the floor.
Hold your arms out to the sides while you stand on one end of the string or tape.
Walk in a straight line across the string or tape, placing the back of your heel against your opposite toes with each step you take.
Move slowly! Heel-toe walking can be trickier than you expect.
You can continue this activity for 20 steps or more. It should start to get easier over time.
You’ll need a chair to perform this great balancing exercise.
Using a chair for support, stand with your weight on your left leg.
Slowly lift your right leg in front of you, bending at the knee.
Tighten your core muscles and stand tall as you bring your leg up.
Hold your leg up for 5-15 seconds before slowly bringing it back down.
Repeat on the opposite side.
You can do this exercise 5-10 times on each side. Perform it daily for optimum balance-improving results.
Remember the old days when you used to do the touch-step, rock step across the dance floor? You can work similar balance muscles by performing this fun and easy side-stepping move in the comfort of your own home.
Stand with your feet close together.
Step sideways with your right foot, while lifting your leg high (as if you’re stepping over something on the floor).
Lift your left foot and bring it next to your right foot.
Continue side-stepping until you reach the other side of the room.
To make sure you work both sides of your body evenly, repeat this process while leading with your left foot.
These exercises are simple enough for anyone to complete, and they’re safe to do at home. If you do them consistently, you’ll lower your risk of falls and related injuries. Learn more about how to stay healthy while you age here.