At-Home Exercises to Improve Senior Strength and Balance
It’s important to maintain balance and strength as we age and become more prone to falls. By performing the right exercises each day, seniors can improve balance and strength in order to maintain great posture and feel more confident when walking anywhere.
United Methodist Communities HomeWorks has put a list together of senior exercises to improve overall strength and balance. Bonus: exercises can be performed easily at home!
#1 – Heel-to-toe walking
This exercise strengthens leg and hip muscles, helping older adults walk steady without falling. It’s also called the “tightrope walk” because it mimics the movements of balancing on a tightrope.
- Place your right foot in front of your left foot, making sure the heel of your left foot touches the toes of your right. Then, put your weight on the heel of your right foot.
- Shift your weight to the toes of your right foot.
- Move your left foot out and in front of your right, shifting weight to the heel of your left foot.
- Shift your weight to the toes of your left foot.
- Repeat for 20 steps.
#2 – Single leg stance
This has to be one of the easiest balancing exercises. The more you do it, the longer you’ll be able to hold the pose. This exercise is also known as a “flamingo stand” because you’ll be copying their signature stance.
- Stand tall with your feet together with relaxed shoulders. Shoulder blades should be flat on your back.
- Shift weight onto your right foot, keeping legs straight and strong.
- Slowly lift your left foot, extending your leg forward and keeping it as straight as possible. Feel free to stand next to a wall or railing for additional balance if needed.
- To make this pose more challenging, reach forward (hinging at the hips) as if you are going to grab your extended foot with your hands.
- Hold for 15 seconds.
- Repeat with the other leg. Perform the exercise 3 times per leg, holding it for about 15 seconds each time.
#3 – Rock the boat
This is an easy balance exercise that anyone (regardless of their fitness level) can attempt.
- Start in a standing position with your feet facing forward, hip distance apart.
- Lift your arms out to either side, holding them slightly higher than shoulder height.
- Lift your left foot, bend your knee and bring your heel in towards your bottom.
- Hold for 30 seconds (or as long as you can).
- Repeat with your right foot, and then alternate 3 times for each side.
#4 – Wall push-ups
If traditional push-ups or knee-assisted push-ups are not in your wheelhouse, then wall push-ups are a great alternative. They take a lot of pressure off the joints, so they are much more comfortable to perform and add to your weekly workout routine.
- Stand about an arm’s length away from a wall, facing it head-on. Choose a wall without windows, shelving or decorations.
- Leaning forward slightly, flatten the palms of your hands against the wall at the same height as your shoulders.
- Remember to keep your shoulders relaxed. It will also help to engage your core muscles around your stomach, bottom and pelvis.
- Keep feet flat against the floor (a yoga mat will help give you traction and stability).
- Slowly bend your arms to bring yourself close to the wall, then slowly push back to your starting position.
- Repeat 20 times.
Balancing tips for seniors at home
It can be difficult to maintain balance during these exercises, but practice makes perfect! If you or a loved one are struggling, then these tips can help maintain stability while building strength:
- Focus your gaze on a fixed point straight ahead of you.
- Place your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart during standing exercises.
- Bend your knees slightly and work up to a standing position over time.
- Try to keep your weight distributed evenly. Most of us have a dominant side we tend to favor, so actively trying to equalize the way you carry your weight will help.
- Ask for help from a family member, friend or home health aide if you are worried about falling. Having somebody there will help make sure the exercises are being performed safely and correctly.
Exercise at home with a home health aide
UMC HomeWorks provides seniors with expert care and companionship in New Jersey. Whether your loved one needs assistance with preparing meals, getting dressed, going to appointments, or performing weekly workout routines at home, HomeWorks’ caregivers can be there for them.
HomeWorks can also be a safe care option for your senior parent during this on-going pandemic. Our COVID-19 protocols implemented and updated in accordance with the CDC to help ensure we are providing safe senior care.
To find out more about our home-based senior care in New Jersey, please contact us today or visit our website at https://umcommunities.org/homeworks/senior-care-new-jersey/