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4 Balance Exercises To Reduce Fall Risk

Many fitness centers, local gyms, and community centers offer balance workouts and exercise programs.

Tai Chi, Yoga, and step classes are all great workouts – but you can also do some balance exercises at home, too.

So why are they important? Each year, more than one-third of people 65 years and older fall.¹ Falls can lead to injuries such as hip fractures, which can have serious debilitating effects on your life. By improving your balance you can reduce your risk of falling.

Who should do balance exercises? Everyone! But especially for those who have fallen in the past year. Or if you’re someone who easily loses their balance during daily activities.

The following are balance exercise you can do every day, throughout the day or all at once.

4 Balance Exercises You Can Do At Home

#1 Toe and Heel Raises

  1. Stand straight and hold the back of a sturdy chair.
  2. Rise up on your toes and then back onto your heels, without bending at the waist or knees.
  3. Repeat 15 times.
  4. Use the chair for balance as needed, but try to use it as little as possible to challenge your balance.
  5. Take a 1 minutes break.
  6. Repeat again for 15 times.

Progression: When this exercise is no longer a challenge, try it with your eyes closed.

Benefit: Improves balance and lower body strength.

#2 Chair Pose

  1. Place a study chair in front of you if needed.
  2. Begin standing straight with your feet hip distance apart.
  3. Inhale and raise your arms above your head.
  4. As you exhale, bend your knees and bring your thighs as parallel to the floor as you can. (Like you are sitting)
  5. Your knees will go out slightly over your toes, this is ok!
  6. Open your chest and shoulders.
  7. Before lowering, take a few deep breaths.
  8. Start to lower your hips and sit into the pose, as deep as you can while keeping your feet flat on the ground.
  9. Draw your tailbone to the ground.
  10. There will be a slight bend in your upper back, this is ok!
  11. Shift your weight into your heels so that you can lift your toes if you wanted to.
  12. Be conscious of your breath and inhale deeply and exhale.
  13. Hold for 30 seconds.
  14. Come out of the pose by inhaling and lifting your legs out of the pose.
  15. Rest for 1 minute and repeat for another 30-second hold.

Progression: Work towards standing with your feet together and thighs pressed firmly into each other.

Benefit: Improves balance, core strength and supports the muscles of major joints (knees, shoulders, hips and ankles) by building stability.

#3 One Leg Stand

  1. Stand on one foot behind a sturdy chair, holding on for balance when needed.
  2. Hold this position for up to 10 seconds.
  3. Repeat 15 times.
  4. Switch feet and repeat 15 times.
  5. Repeat 15 more times with each leg

Progression: When this exercise is no longer a challenge, try it with your eyes closed.

Benefit: Improves balance and lower body strength.

#4 Hip and Back Strengthener

  1. Stand straight and hold onto the back of a sturdy chair.
  2. Without bending at the waist or knee, place your other hand on your side.  At the top of your pelvis.
  3. Raise your leg straight out to the side.
  4. Your toes should point forward and your pelvis shouldn’t rise.
  5. Lower your leg slowly and repeat 15 times.
  6. Change sides and repeat with the other leg.
  7. Do this exercises twice on each leg.

Progression: When this exercise is no longer a challenge, try adding an ankle weight.

Benefit: Improves balance and strengthens the hip abductor.

*Disclaimer: If you have osteoporosis or low bone density, you may need to avoid or adjust exercises accordingly. If you are unsure, you should check with your healthcare provider.

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Author: Monica Straith, BS

Monica is the PR and Outreach Manager and Fitness Lead at AlgaeCal. She’s an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist, and has a B.S. and B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she played varsity soccer for four years. Monica pulls from her experience in athletics and health to contribute to AlgaeCal and has also been featured on myfitnesspal blog, Prevention, and Huffington Post.