4 Balance Exercises To Reduce Fall Risk

Exercise / November 4, 2016

Balance exercises

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 feet 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.

Thanks for reading our blog post. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and don’t forget to share with your loves ones 🙂

Comments
birutes
birutes

Hi,
Can you suggest some exercises to strengthen shoulder area muscles. For some reason my shoulders hurt and I suspect muscle loss.
Thank you!

Monica AlgaeCal
Monica AlgaeCal

Hi Birutes,

Absolutely!

Sunshine arm circles are great to strengthen your shoulders. You can see instructions and video on how to do them here: https://www.algaecal.com/expert-insights/seated-exercises-limited-mobility/
Shoulder rolls can be done while sitting or standing. Simply shrug both shoulders up towards your ears. Then, rotate them back, down and around to the front and back to the top. You can then alternative directions. Repeat 8-10 times.
Side shoulder raise is done while standing with small hand weights. Place your feet shoulder-width apart with your arms by your sides and elbows straight. Add a slight bend in your knees to protect your lower back. Raise your arms outwards to the side and lift until they are shoulder height. Lower down to your starting position and then repeat 8-10 times.
Diagonal shoulder raise is done while standing with small weights, too. Stand with the weight in your left hand, cross over to your right hip with your palm inward (like your palm with weight is resting on your right thigh). Add a slight bend in your knees to protect your lower back. Then, lift upward and across your body back to the left side. Repeat 8-10 times and then do the same on the other side.

Hope you enjoy these exercises, Birutes!
– Monica

Purification Fiscus
Purification Fiscus

This exercises look like they would help me. I will try surely try them. Thank you so much.

Jenna AlgaeCal
Jenna AlgaeCal

So glad to hear that, Purification! 🙂

– Jenna @ AlgaeCal

Maxie
Maxie

The exercise moves are helpful.

Monica
Monica

Great to hear, Maxie! Appreciate the feedback.

– Monica @ AlgaeCal

Judy
Judy

The 4 exercises are very helpful. I appreciate the illustration which made them easy to follow.

Thanks. JT

Monica
Monica

Thanks for the feedback, Judy! Glad they were easy to follow 🙂

– Monica from AlgaeCal

Lilian Korupp
Lilian Korupp

Thank you for caring. I will start this evening with your 4 Balance exercise ?

Betsy Horn
Betsy Horn

Hello Monica
I am http://www.betsyhorn.com [email protected]
I am an AlgaeCal ‘girl’ (of 75.). I am launching a new idea which is about health for the over 50s. I would like to include the material I receive and create a link to your site. (I already post it on my site even though I receive no remuneration, because I believe in the products.) May I have your permission to link to your site and show the exercise series you are showing at the moment? If so, please tell me how you would like that happen.
Kindest regards, Betsy

Monica
Monica

Hi Betsy,

Yes of course – we love when people share our content! If you could email me at [email protected] we can discuss details 🙂

– Monica from AlgaeCal

Judy Bagalay
Judy Bagalay

Yes agree these are 4 great exercises !!! From my perspective as a Kripalu Yoga teacher.

Monica
Monica

Awesome! So glad to hear that from you, Judy 🙂

– Monica from AlgaeCal

Reardon, Cheryl Sweeting
Reardon, Cheryl Sweeting

Yes, these are all good movements for balance. I have a question about Yoga movements. I have been diagnosed with osteoporosis and am doing Yoga. I have been told not to do certain moves such as downward dog and any moves that roll the spine. A former ballerina and nurse tells me to do whatever I am comfortable with and listen to my body! Please give me your opinion on the Yoga moves and what is best when you have osteoporosis. Thank you very much!

Monica
Monica

Hi Cheryl,

Lara Pizzorno recently co-authored an article with Taffy Frost, a yoga instructor, and owner, which discusses safe yoga osteoporosis exercises. You can view that here: https://www.algaecal.com/expert-insights/yoga-for-osteoporosis/

It is excellent and should give you a better idea of the safe exercises you can perform. There is a modified version of downward dog that would be much better recommended. I would definitely be hesitant about any moves that roll the spine as you’ve heard and would double check with a certified instructor or someone who is an expert. The article should give you plenty to do that will help with your bone density without the risk!

Hope this helps,

– Monica from AlgaeCal

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