Even though we will all age, we can take steps to look after ourselves so that we can remain mobile, independent, and upright.
No matter what our age is, we can learn, or relearn throughout our life. This is especially true in relation to preventing falls as we age – and this is where strength and balance training for seniors pays dividends.
Why are strength and balance important?
Strength and balance are important – balance so that we are aware of what we are doing with our body and strength so that our muscles are strong enough to support our body.
There are six exercises that have been proven to be beneficial for seniors in preventing falls.
It’s important to make sure that any exercise is undertaken in a safe environment, and if you are just starting out it can be very helpful to do the exercises near a sturdy chair or counter.
What are the exercises?
Firstly, standing marches is a good warmup as well as a good exercise – move slowly bringing your knees as high as you feel able to.
Secondly, leg extensions. This makes leg muscles stronger. Sit upright on a chair and straighten one leg out as much as you can, bring it back, and do the same with the other leg.
Thirdly, the knee curl. Hold on to a chair or countertop, and stand on one leg. With your other leg, bend at the knee and bring your foot up behind you.
Fourthly, heel-to-toe walking. This is a good exercise for practicing to be able to pass through narrow spaces. Place the heel of one foot at the toe of the other foot and keep the feet in a straight line.
Fifthly, balancing on one foot. Lift one leg up and balance on the other leg, then swap over.
Finally, sit to stand. This focuses on being able to get up and sit down from a seated position. This is more challenging if you use a chair without arms but use a chair with arms rests if you need them to help you.
All the above exercises can be progressed over time to make them more challenging.