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Strength and Balance Exercises for Seniors

Exercise for Seniors

Any of the lower body exercises for strength included in this special exercise section for Seniors are also are balance exercises. They include plantar flexion, hip flexion, hip extension, knee flexion, and side leg raise. Just do your regularly scheduled strength exercises, and they will improve your balance at the same time. Also do the knee extension exercise, which helps you keep your balance by increasing muscle strength in your upper thighs.

Fractures From Falls

Each year, U.S. hospitals have 300,000 admissions for broken hips, and falling is often the cause of those fractures. Balance exercises can help you stay independent by helping you avoid the disability - often permanent - that may result from falling. As you will see, there is a lot of overlap between strength and balance exercises; very often, one exercise serves both purposes.

Safety

Don't do more than your regularly scheduled strength exercise sessions to incorporate balance modifications. Remember that doing strength exercises too often can do more harm than good. Simply do your strength exercises, and incorporate balance techniques as you progress.

Progressing

These exercises can improve your balance even more if you add the following modifica- tions: Note that these exercises instruct you to hold onto a table or chair for balance. Hold onto the table with only one hand. As you progress, try holding on with only one finger- tip. Next, try these exercises without holding on at all. If you are very steady on your feet, move on to doing the exercises using no hands, with your eyes closed. Have someone stand close by if you are unsteady.

Anytime Balancing Exercises

Anytime, Anywhere Balance Exercises

These types of exercises also improve your balance. You can do them almost anytime, anywhere, and as often as you like, as long as you have something sturdy nearby to hold onto if you become unsteady.

Examples:

  • Walk heel-to-toe. Position your heel just in front of the toes of the opposite foot each time you take a step. Your heel and toes should touch or almost touch. (See illustration.)
  • Stand on one foot (for example, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at the bus stop). Alternate feet
  • Stand up and sit down without using your hands.

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