14 Exercises that Help With Balance That You Can Do at Home
- 1. Standing March
- 2. Standing 3-Way Kicks
- 3. Sidestepping
- 4. 1-Leg Stand
- 5. Sit to Stand and Stand to Sit
- 6. Heel-to-Toe Standing or Walking
- 7. Toe Taps
- 8. Clock Reach
- 9. Chair Squats
- 10. Heel Raises
- 11. Back Leg Raises
- 12. Weight Shifts
- 13. Marching with Arm Raises
- 14. Dynamic Lunges
- Final Words – Exercises that Help With Balance That You Can Do at Home
Falls are prevalent among individuals aged 65 and older, leading to undesirable consequences such as injury, loss of independence, and a diminished ability to engage in meaningful activities. In severe cases, falls can even result in fatalities.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three million older adults seek emergency room treatment for fall-related injuries annually, with an average healthcare cost of $35,000 per fall.
The encouraging news is that falls are preventable, and balance training plays a pivotal role in their prevention. Engaging in safe home exercises can effectively strengthen the lower body, promoting balance and reducing the overall risk of falling. According to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, physical activity, including exercise, can decrease falls by 13% to 40% in older adults residing in the community.
A physical therapist can assess your balance and recommend tailored exercises that align with your specific needs and goals, ensuring safety for at-home practice. These movement experts enhance quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed exercises.
Here are some exercises your physical therapist might suggest:
Always consult your healthcare provider before initiating a home exercise program. For safety during these exercises, position yourself close to a countertop or sturdy surface that can provide support.
1. Standing March
Begin marching in place slowly near a sturdy support for 20-30 seconds. Your physical therapist may introduce variations in pace and surfaces, such as transitioning from hardwood to carpet or using a foam pad.
2. Standing 3-Way Kicks
Stand on one leg, slowly raising the other leg in front, to the side, and behind your body. Keep the extended leg straight and return it to the center. Your physical therapist may intensify this exercise by altering the supporting surface.
Facing a countertop or wall, step sideways in one direction with your toes pointed straight ahead. Use the counter or wall for support as needed. As you progress, resistance bands may be introduced to challenge your balance further.
4. 1-Leg Stand
Stand on one leg for up to 30 seconds, near a sturdy support. Alternate legs and repeat 3-5 times on each leg. As this exercise becomes easier, multitask by performing activities like brushing your teeth or talking on the phone while standing on one leg.
5. Sit to Stand and Stand to Sit
Rise out of a chair without using your arms for support. If challenging initially, place a firm pad on the chair seat to raise it. Lower yourself back down slowly, avoiding a sudden drop into the chair. Repeat as many times as possible, making it a convenient exercise during TV time.
6. Heel-to-Toe Standing or Walking
Place one foot directly in front of the other, holding the position for as long as possible or up to 30 seconds. Progress to taking a few steps in a heel-to-toe format, resembling walking on a tightrope. Always use support for safety.
7. Toe Taps
Stand near a stable surface and lift one foot off the ground, tapping your toes in front of you and then to the side. Alternate between legs, maintaining control and focusing on your balance. Your physical therapist may progressively increase the speed or ask you to tap to the rear for added challenge.
8. Clock Reach
Imagine yourself standing at the center of a clock. Lift one leg and reach your foot toward different “numbers” on the clock (12, 3, 6, and 9). Return to the center between each reach. This exercise enhances stability and improves weight-shifting, crucial for maintaining balance.
9. Chair Squats
Using a sturdy chair for support, stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body into a seated position without fully sitting down, then rise back up. This exercise strengthens the muscles in your thighs and buttocks, contributing to improved stability.
10. Heel Raises
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and lift your heels off the ground, rising onto the balls of your feet. Hold for a moment and then lower your heels back down. This exercise targets the muscles in your calves and helps improve ankle stability.
11. Back Leg Raises
Holding onto a stable surface, lift one leg straight back, keeping your back straight. Hold for a moment and then lower the leg back down. This exercise targets the muscles in your buttocks and lower back, essential for maintaining balance while walking.
12. Weight Shifts
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly shift your weight onto one leg while lifting the other leg slightly off the ground. Hold for a moment, then shift your weight to the other leg. This exercise challenges your balance and helps improve weight distribution.
13. Marching with Arm Raises
Incorporate arm movements into your standing march. As you lift one knee, raise the opposite arm overhead. This exercise not only enhances lower body strength and balance but also improves coordination between the upper and lower extremities.
14. Dynamic Lunges
Take a step forward with one foot, lowering your body into a lunge position. Push back to the starting position and repeat on the other leg. Dynamic lunges engage various muscle groups, including the core, legs, and glutes, promoting overall stability.
Final Words – Exercises that Help With Balance That You Can Do at Home
In conclusion, the prevalence of falls among individuals aged 65 and older highlights the critical need for proactive measures to prevent the associated consequences, such as injuries and loss of independence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports alarming statistics, with three million older adults seeking emergency room treatment for fall-related injuries annually, incurring an average healthcare cost of $35,000 per fall.
Fortunately, falls are not inevitable, and balance training emerges as a key component in their prevention. Engaging in a regular routine of safe home exercises, tailored to strengthen the lower body and enhance overall balance, proves effective in reducing the risk of falling. The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society attests to the significant impact of physical activity, including targeted exercises, in decreasing falls by 13% to 40% among older adults in the community.
Collaborating with a physical therapist adds a personalized dimension to fall prevention, ensuring exercises align with individual needs and goals, fostering a safe at-home practice. As movement experts, physical therapists play a crucial role in improving the quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed exercises.
The presented list of exercises, ranging from standing marches to dynamic lunges, offers a comprehensive approach to balance enhancement. Always prioritize safety by consulting with healthcare providers before initiating a home exercise program and positioning yourself near a supportive surface during exercises.
Incorporating these exercises into a regular routine empowers individuals to take proactive steps in maintaining stability and preventing falls, ultimately preserving independence and promoting a healthier, more active lifestyle.