Balancing Act

Each year, more than 1.6 million older Americans go to the emergency room because of fall-related injuries. Balance exercises can help prevent falls and avoid the disability that may result from falling.

You can do balance exercises almost anytime, anywhere, and as often as you like. Also try lower-body strength exercises because they can help improve your balance.
are some simple exercises to try:

Chair-Balance

Start by holding on to a sturdy chair for support. When you are able, try holding on to the chair with only one hand. With time, hold on with only one finger, then with no hands at all. If you are really steady on your feet, try doing the exercise with your eyes closed.

For an added challenge, you can try the following:

  • Stand on one foot behind a sturdy chair, holding on for balance.
  • Hold position for up to 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.
  • Repeat 10-15 times with other leg.
  • Repeat 10-15 more times with each leg.

Heel-to-Toe Walk

  • Position the heel of one foot just in front of the toes of the other foot. Your heel and toes should touch or almost touch.
  • Choose a spot ahead of you and focus on it to keep you steady as you walk.
  • Take a step. Put your heel just in front of the toe of your other foot.
  • Repeat for 20 steps.
Easy Balance Walk
  • Raise arms to sides, shoulder height.
  • Choose a spot ahead of you and focus on it to keep you steady as you walk.
  • Walk in a straight line with one foot in front of the other.
  • As you walk, lift your back leg. Pause for 1 second before stepping forward.
  • Repeat for 20 steps, alternating legs.
Tai Chi

In Tai chi, you work to improve your balance by moving your body slowly, gently, and precisely, while breathing deeply.   Other benefits from practicing tai chi include:

  • improvements in bone and heart health
  • easing of pain and stiffness from osteoarthritis
  • better sleep
  • improvements in overall wellness

 

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