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Basic Balance Exercises Can Help With Stability

  • balance

    Staying stable on your feet and able to correct yourself to avoid a fall is an important skill for anyone, but is especially helpful as people age.

    Each year more than one-third of people 65 and older fall, according to

    Balancing exercises can help improve control and body position to help prevent a fall.

    While going to a gym and working out is always an option, there are simple exercises that can be completed at home to improve balance. When doing them at first it is helpful to have something to hold on to like the back of a sturdy chair, but as the exercises are practiced you may have less need for support.

    Some of the suggestions from include:

    1. Stand on one foot – make sure to keep your body balanced by doing this on each foot and hold it for 10 seconds and repeat about 10 to 15 times on each leg.
    2. Walk heel to toe – try walking in this way for about 20 steps. If necessary, put your arms out for increased balance and focus straight ahead.
    3. Balance walk – this involves walking in a straight line, but lifting the back leg and pausing for a second before setting it down for about 20 steps with each leg.
    4. Back leg raises – holding on to a steady chair slowly raise the leg straight back without bending the knee or pointing the toe. Hold for one second and repeat 10 to 15 times on each leg.
    5. Side leg raises – follow the same instructions as the back leg raise, but keep your back straight and toes facing forward as you bring your leg to the side.

    The National Institute on Aging suggests keeping a daily record to track improvement. Once you see improvement, NIA suggest increasing the challenge by no longer relying on the chair for balance or trying the exercises with your eyes closed.