Unfortunately, falls are the leading cause of injury among senior citizens today. Falls can cause brain injuries and even accidental deaths. That’s why performing balance exercises are crucial for seniors to maintain their physical health.
The Importance Of Balance Exercises For Seniors
Having good balance is crucial to preventing falls. According to the CDC, more than 9,000 seniors die each year due to at-home falls. Regular exercise, along with a good diet, are two of the best ways to ensure you stay healthy as you age. Thankfully, there are many different balance exercises, perfect for seniors of all sorts of physical conditions.
Senior citizens should choose a balance exercise program that will work for the long haul, anticipating changes in physique. Exercises can be more than just fall prevention tactics. These activities can be great for getting outdoors or socializing. For many people exercise is a good way to meditate, as well. Undoubtedly, regular exercise is a gateway to better mental and physical health.
Decreased Risk Of Falls
Regular balance exercises can greatly diminish a senior’s risk for falling. Unfortunately, seniors citizens are at a much greater risk of falling and injuring themselves than any other age bracket. Any exercise performed to decrease falls risks will also likely increase one’s ability to continue living independently.
Injuries resulting from falls can lead to broken bones, chronic issues and a lower quality of life overall. Exercises like yoga or Tai Chi are ideal for seniors because they are engaging and practical.
Disease prevention is another reason why so many seniors perform daily exercises. In fact, performing these exercises regularly can decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Regular exercise has been proven to boost immune function in part by transferring lymph fluids throughout the body. Even a light exercise like walking can move the lymph fluids in order to keep immunity functioning at a high level.
Benefits Of Balance Exercises
There are numerous benefits of performing balance exercises, including all of the following:
Get Better Sleep
Plenty of exercise during the day will undoubtedly help seniors sleep better at night. This is crucial for seniors who may already be battling irregular sleep patterns. Exercise will alert the body to the time of the day and help maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. Going outdoors to get sun while exercising will help regulate sleeping patterns, as well.
Increase Muscle Mass
Just like younger individuals working out to improve muscle mass, this same benefit can be enjoyed by seniors doing balance exercises. Muscle mass helps to reduce the blow of any painful falls. Older individuals with more muscle mass and stronger arms may even be able to catch themselves before hitting the ground.
Better Cognitive Function
It’s a fact that people who exercise regularly have better overall brain function. Exercise will promote the release of certain neurotransmitters that keep the brain healthy. Cognitive clarity and sharpness can help seniors avoid any precarious situations.
Reduced Risk Of Falling
This is perhaps the biggest benefit for senior citizens. Avoiding at-home falls is crucial to preserving your body and health. Balances exercises are simply the best way to avoid falls and injuries. Over time, these exercises will only add further health benefits.
Like balance, coordination, is something that far too many people take for granted. Good coordination could help a senior in distress to roll instead of crash when falling. Often, coordination will happen without conscious thought or effort.
Best Balance Exercises For Seniors
Here are 7 great balance exercises to try at home:
- Start by raising your arms up to shoulder height.
- Focus on one point to maintain steadiness as you walk.
- Step forward by placing your heel just in front of the foot you moved forward.
- Repeat this action for 20 steps.
Bag Leg Raises
- Grip a sturdy chair for balance.
- Slowly breathe in before beginning this exercise.
- Breathe out slowly, as you lift one leg without bending your knee or pointing your toes.
- Refrain from leaning forward.
- Hold this position for a few seconds.
- Breathe in when lowering your leg.
- Repeat this action 10-15 times.
- Do the same motion 10-15 times with the opposite leg now.
Side Leg Raises
- Again, grip a chair to steady yourself.
- Stand with your feet slightly apart.
- Slowly breathe in before exercising.
- Keep your back straight and toes pointing forward.
- Now breathe out while lifting one leg out to the side.
- Slightly bend the leg you are standing on.
- Repeat this action 10-15 times.
- Do the same with the opposite leg.
- Repeat the action 10-15 times.
- Start in a standing position.
- Shift your weight onto your left foot.
- Position your right foot to the side with your heel lifted.
- You could place the sole of your foot against your ankle, shin, or thigh, instead.
- Hold for up to 1 minute.
- Do the same action with the opposite side.
- Lifting your arms, extend them out to your sides.
- Walk a straight line all while focusing on a fixed point off in the distance.
- Pause with your foot in the air for 2-3 seconds with each step.
- Take 20-30 steps total.
Rock The Boat
- Stand while keeping your feet hip-distance apart.
- Lift and extend your arms out to the sides.
- Lift your left foot off the floor.
- Bend your knee and bring your heel towards your bottom.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
- Do the same action on the opposite side.
- Do sets of 3 on each side.
Single Foot Balance
- You will need a balance board for this exercise.
- Stand with your right foot in the center of the balance board.
- Raise your left foot and knee as high as you can.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- Do both sides 2-3 times.
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