Easy Balance Exercises To Keep You Steady On Your Feet

Want to stay independent, move with confidence and avoid falling? Balance exercises challenge your body's balancing systems and help keep you stable.

Don't wait until you have a fall before thinking about doing balance exercises. That's like waiting until you have a heart attack before beginning to eat healthy and exercise.

Falling is one of the leading causes of injury for people over 60. In fact, a third of the people over the age of 65 fall each year. Be one of the people who don't have a fall this year.

Being physically active keeps your muscles, nerves and reflexes well conditioned, and you, steady on your feet. Are you active enough to stay well balanced? Before you begin exercises to improve your balance, take a moment and try these simple balance tests.

Note: Do not attempt to test your balance or do balance exercises if you have recently fallen or currently have significant balance problems and/or episodes of dizziness. Instead, see your physician and be evaluated by a physical therapist.

How Do I Begin Doing Exercises For Balance?

Balance exercises can be done in as little as 10 minutes. It's best to do them several times a week or daily.

They can easily be done at home. No need to join a gym or buy expensive equipment, unless you want to.

Test your balance before beginning and record the results of you tests. You can re-test yourself in 6 weeks to see the progress you've made.

Begin with balance exercises you are able to do safely, yet feel challenging. When you no longer feel challenged by them, progress to more difficult exercises.

Standing On One Leg Balance Exercise

Beginner's Level

  • Stand up right in front of a counter, your hands lightly resting on the counter top. Use your hands only enough to get the support you need to feel safe, yet still be challenged by the exercise.
  • Bend your right knee, lifting your right foot off the floor.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • Lower your right foot to the floor.
  • Bend your left knee, lifting your left foot off the floor.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • Lower your left foot to the floor.
  • Repeat this exercise three times on each leg.

Intermediate Level

  • Keep your arms straight and raise them in front of you while doing the exercise.
  • Do three repetitions of the exercise on each leg.

Advanced Level

  • Keep your eyes closed while performing the exercise with your arms raised as in the intermediate level.
  • Do three repetitions on each leg.

Balance Exercises - Sit To Stand

In addition to helping you maintain good balance while changing positions, this exercise keeps you buttock and leg muscles strong.

Use a straight-backed chair with arms and NO WHEELS for this exercise.

Beginner's Level - For women who need to use their arms to help when standing up from a chair.

  • Sit towards the front of the chair.
  • Lightly place your hands on the arms of the chair.
  • Hinge forward from your hips, keeping your spine straight.
  • Rise to a complete standing position and return to a seated position as quickly as possible. Don't over help yourself by pushing too much with your arms. It needs to feel somewhat challenging.
  • Repeat this exercise three times. Build up to doing it 10 times as you get stronger.

Intermediate Level - For women who can safely rise to standing from a chair without using their arms.

  • Sit towards the front of the chair with your arms crossed in front of your chest.
  • Hinge forward from your hips, keeping your spine straight.
  • Rise to a complete standing position and return to a seated position as quickly as possible, without using your arms.
  • Repeat this exercise three times. Build up to doing it 10 times as your get stronger.

Advanced Level

  • Sit towards the front of the chair with your arms crossed in front of your chest.
  • Hinge forward from your hips, keeping your spine straight.
  • Rise to a complete standing position.
  • Lower back down to where your seat just begins to touch the chair.
  • Stand immediately back up without fully sitting.
  • Do this movement as quickly as possible, without using your arms.
  • Repeat this exercise three times. Build up to 10 times as you become stronger

Balance Exercises - Tandem Walking

This exercise helps you move more securely in a standing position, as well as strengthening your leg and trunk muscles.

Find a 10 foot long, unobstructed walking area to do this exercise. The floor should be uncarpeted or with a flat-weaved carpet.

Beginner's Level

You will need a counter or person to spot you while you do this exercise.

  • Stand to the side of the counter, at one end. One hand rests lightly on the counter for support. OR - Stand lightly holding someone's hand for support.
  • Imagine there's a string attached to the top of your head, the other end attached to the ceiling. It's keeping you tall and upright.
  • Place the heel of your right foot directly in front of the toes of your left foot.
  • Walk forward, as if you were walking a tight rope, for 10 feet.
  • Repeat this exercise three times.

Intermediate Level

Do the tandem walking exercise, as described in the beginner's level, without holding onto anything or anyone.

Advanced Level

Before you try this advanced level exercise, stand still and close your eyes. Do you feel yourself weaving at all? If the answer is yes - DON"T do the advanced level of this exercise. If you were able to stand still, eyes closed, without weaving - have someone spot you and give this advanced level a try...

Do the tandem walking exercise, as described in the beginner's level, without holding on to anything or anyone, your eyes closed.

Balance exercises - Heel Walking

This exercise strengthens your lower legs and improves balance and coordination.

Find a 10 foot long, unobstructed walking area to do this exercise. It should be uncarpeted or have a flat-weaved carpet.

Beginner's Level

You will need a counter or person to spot you while you do this exercise.

  • Stand to the side of the counter, at one end. One hand rests lightly on the counter for support. OR - Stand lightly holding someone's hand for support.
  • Imagine there's a string attached to the top of your head, the other end attached to the ceiling. It's keeping you tall and upright.
  • Balance on your heels, lifting the toes and balls of your feet off the floor.
  • Walk forward, on you heels, for 10 feet.
  • Repeat this exercise three times.

Intermediate Level

Perform the heel walking, as described in the beginner's level, without holding on to anyone or anything.

Advanced Level

Before you try this advanced level exercise, stand still and close your eyes. Do you feel yourself weaving at all? If the answer is yes - DON"T do the advanced level of this exercise. If you were able to stand still, eyes closed, without weaving - have someone spot you and give this advanced level a try...

Do the heel walking exercise, as described in the beginner's level, without holding on to anything or anyone, your eyes closed.

Balance Exercises - Toe Walking

Like heel walking, this exercise strengthens your lower leg muscles and improves your balance and coordination.

Find a 10 foot long, unobstructed walking area to do this exercise. It should be uncarpeted or have a flat-weaved carpet.

Beginner's Level

You will need a counter or person to spot you while you do this exercise.

  • Stand to the side of the counter, at one end. One hand rests lightly on the counter for support. OR - Stand lightly holding someone's hand for support.
  • Imagine there's a string attached to the top of your head, the other end attached to the ceiling. It's keeping you tall and upright.
  • Rise up onto you toes, lifting your heels off the ground.
  • Walk forward, on your toes, for 10 feet.
  • Do this exercise three times.

Intermediate Level

Perform the toe walking, as described in the beginner's level, without holding on to anyone or anything.

Advanced Level

Before you try this advanced level exercise, stand still and close your eyes. Do you feel yourself weaving at all? If the answer is yes - DON"T do the advanced level of this exercise. If you were able to stand still, eyes closed, without weaving - have someone spot you and give this advanced level a try...

Do the toe walking exercise, as described in the beginner's level, without holding on to anything or anyone, your eyes closed.

Beyond Balance Exercises

In addition to doing these exercises, here's how you can practice fall prevention and avoid an emergency room visit...

  • Do strengthening exercises for your legs.
  • Have your eyes checked. Your vision plays a big part in your ability to balance.
  • Talk with your doctor about any medications you may be on that could be affecting your balance.
  • Be pro-active about fall prevention. Keep your home environment free from clutter and well lit. Remove tripping hazards like electrical cords and throw rugs. Install grab bars if you need them.
  • Don't be afraid to use a walking device if you need it, at least until your balance has improved. You'll look a lot better with a walking device than you will lying on the ground!
  • If you are experiencing dizziness or light headedness, see your physician before beginning any balance training.

Staying active with any type of physical fitness, helps you maintain good balance.



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