Life doesn’t stop once you hit a certain age. In fact, the residents at Deupree and our sister ERH retirement communities are some of the most dynamic people we know. However, we know that with age comes greater risk for certain health concerns.
Every year, one out of every three Americans age 65 and older suffers a potentially debilitating fall— a large number of which are caused by dizziness and loss of balance. The sickening sensation of vertigo is bad enough, but it can irreparably change quality of life when it leads to a fall.
According to the National Institutes of Health, about 33 million adults suffer from balance or dizziness problems that keep them from living well.
Many retirement communities offer exercise classes for older adults who want to improve their balance. At Deupree, our specialized senior wellness programs and state-of-the-art equipment help our residents stay on their feet. The Biodex system has pride of place in the Deupree Fitness Zone, testing the balance of our residents and helping design individualized programs that turn weaknesses into strengths.
If you don’t have access to a balance program, there are a few exercises you can do at home that don’t require any equipment more specialized than a sturdy chair.
Easy Balance Exercises to Improve Senior Living
These simple balance exercises can be done just about anywhere—from a local wellness center to the comfort of your own home.
Keep improving your balance by increasing the difficulty of exercises as you progress. Start out using a chair for support then as exercises become easier, gradually decrease your reliance on the chair. Keep challenging yourself even after you become steady on your feet by doing exercises with your eyes closed.
Standing on one foot.
- Holding onto the back of a chair for balance, lift one leg straight up from the ground.
- Repeat 10 to 15 times, holding the position for up to 10 seconds.
- Switch legs and repeat.
- Repeat the process several times for each leg.
Back Leg Raises
- Holding onto the back of a chair for balance, plant one foot firmly on the ground, with your knee slightly bent, as you slowly lift one leg straight back. Try not to lean forward.
- Hold the position for about a second before lowering your leg and repeating 10 to 15 times.
- Switch legs and begin again.
- Repeat the exercise a few more times with each leg.
Side Leg Raises
- Holding onto the back of a chair for balance, extend one leg out to the side, keeping your back straight and foot pointing forward.
- Hold position for about a second then lower your leg and repeat again 10 to 15 times
- Switch legs and repeat.
- Begin again and repeat the process several more times with each leg.
- Set the heel of one foot in front of the other almost touching your toes.
- Keep your head straight and focus on a spot in front of you.
- Take a step, walking forward heel to toe.
- Repeat for 20 steps.
- Raise your arms straight out to the sides at shoulder height.
- Choose a spot in front of you and keep your head focused on it.
- Walk in a straight line toward that point, placing one foot in front of the other.
- Keep one leg lifted a second during each right-left combination as you walk.
- Repeat for 20 steps, alternating which leg you hold.
These senior living exercises are easy to do at home, but remember, never attempt any exercises without taking proper safety precautions. Having a spotter or sturdy chair nearby to hold onto will help you stay upright if you start feeling unsteady. Talk to your healthcare provider before beginning an exercise regimen to make sure you can practice safely.