"If you are looking for the best FREE resource on senior and elderly balance training exercises on the web, you found it! Let me show you how! Read on..."
The essential balance information you will find on this page :
The ways this section will help you improve include:
may decrease which can lead to falls due to not seeing clearly.
Your hips and legs can become weaker making it harder to walk.
We can develop poor posture or have spinal degeneration making
it harder to stand erect.
Our ability to lift our feet decreases and we can stumble.
It takes longer to react when something is in our way causing us to fall.
Many drugs interact causing dizziness or decrease balance.
Low blood pressure can
lead to light-headedness increasing our risk of falls.
balance system is truly amazing!
rise from a chair,
climb stairs and walk outside on uneven terrain there is cooperation
nervous system, muscles and
bones which help keep us from falling.
Our body can do this by way of three systems.
Visual cues come from our eyes and tell us all sorts of information about our environment. Our eyes help us see and prepare for potential dangers and obstacles which can prevent falls.
Internal spatial orientation tells us where our arms and legs are positioned in space. For example, if you close your eyes and then lift your arm and wave it about your head, you know where your arm is because of this inner sense of feedback.
also contains a fluid-filled semicircular canal which gives us
important information on the position of our head and its movement in
space in relation to gravity.
This is why we get seasick or car sick when there is a lot of head movement and ground movement.
When all these systems are working together automatically with our musculoskeletal system we can stay active and independent, preventing falls and improving your elderly balance.
Here is the light at the end
of the tunnel. I
like working with the elderly and seniors on balance simply because it
is a skill
that many of us can keep during our adult life.
Though there are often many factors involved with decreased balance as we age, a lot of this decline is simply due to our inactivity.
This can usually be improved with training. This training will involve improving your overall upper and lower body strength along with challenging your balance system daily with activities that require you to use the three systems I spoke of above.
When I talk to seniors about balance, I use the example of
tennis player posture. If you play tennis you know that there is a
server and a receiver. Think of how the receiver stands. Feet wide
apart, knees and hips flexed, upper body leaning forward.
Players use this posture because it is the most "ready for action" position they can get into in order to react to the serve. It is a very stable and safe position. That is usually also our choice as we age...finding the safest most balanced position.Unfortunately, when we make this choice, our balance system is poorly challenged and our brain begins to become lazy. Our brain says, "Well, Mary just doesn't need all that balance anymore. I'll start turning off some balance switches."
If you are working with a senior with poor balance or the frail elderly, make sure they are closely supervised at all times.
Progress to the next exercise when the preceding one can be done safely or if you have enough assistance.
Be aware of your posture. Try to maintain your weight over your ankles.
Avoid fast movements including quick turns or changes in position.
Use a chair as a place to not only perform seated exercise but also to hold on to while standing. Hold on with your finger, one hand or two hands.
Always get up slowly when rising from a chair.
Don't close your eyes when exercising or standing at your chair.
If you are taking medications, ask your doctor if there are any side effects which may cause light-headedness or decreased balance.
1. The basic piece of equipment you will need is an armless chair. Usually a kitchen or dining room chair is just fine. This will give you confidence while performing your exercises. Always keep the chair close by. It provides a great place to rest after exercising!
2. Smooth bottom shoes. Try not to wear shoes with tacky rubber or trail type shoes. These will catch on the carpet and floor which may result in tripping. I like a dance type shoe, one with a leather bottom. These allow a catch-free step. A dance shoe will also come in handy when you begin your dance class!
3. A kitchen counter to hold on to. This is a great place to walk when you are just beginning your balance exercise program. Simply hold on to the counter with one hand for balance while you step forward, sideways etc. Even if your counter is only a few feet long, just turn around and start again. Maybe you will be inspired to start cooking again!
4. Soft items to step over. I like children's stuffed animals or slippers. Make sure they are not over 6 inches high. That's all you need to step over during your stepping exercises. Don't get too ambitious and use that large stuffed panda bear!
5. Can't walk in a straight line? No problem. Take some handy painters tape, place a line of it down your hallway or in your living room. In our videos you will notice I have placed a piece of making tape on the floor to follow along with. It is especially helpful with sideways movements as these are the hardest to remain straight when performing. Make sure you have some handy when you need to take a sobriety test!
6. To get more of a workout you may use ankle or wrist weights. Don't use more than one or two pounds for either your legs or arms. More weight than this may lead to shoulder injury due to holding your arm out away from your body. Who needs a gym!
7. A sheet of paper or a note pad is a great item to add challenge to you walking exercises. As you will see in the video, try to walk while gazing at the paper. This advanced elderly balance exercise will improve your ability to walk comfortably in the supermarket or at the mall. Just don't charge too much!
8. Lastly we need YOU! This means that you can do it. I know you can. I have had every balance situation in my profession as a physical therapist. Remember to exercise everyday. "Practice makes....permanent!" You will get better at whatever you practice every day. So don't practice sitting on the couch anymore!
try these senior and elderly balance exercises alone if you
are uncomfortable about these exercises or are unsure of your ability
to complete them.
Start slowly with the first exercise until you become used to the new experience of stressing your balance system.
It is not a race to the
finish. You may be comfortable only performing the first few balance
exercises and not be comfortable doing the moving and walking
exercises. That is ok! Really!
Never do something that you are nervous about by yourself.
Much better to have a helpful, stable person around to make you more confident and secure. What else are family members for?
You will be more confident in performing the exercises and having a helping hand to hold will allow you to better focus on maintaining your balance as you get used to the exercises.
"Hey, uncle Charlie, can you hold on to me while I practice these
I have made 12
elderly and senior balance exercise videos for you to view
exercises below are a sampling of some basic balance exercises we use
in Physical Therapy.
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