Before the Fall: Balance Boosters for Seniors
It’s a part of life. We age, and our body becomes a different version from our younger days. It’s a little harder for seniors to do strength training, but there are several ways seniors can boost balance right at home. Read on to see some ideas for a safe and fun workout!
Balance and mobility aren’t as proficient as they once were, likely due to weakened hips and lower body, or even vision and inner ear problems. The trick to maintaining strength at any age is to keep the muscles active.
Also remember to wear proper footwear for any physical activity. This will help with balance while getting a successful and safe workout. Arch support and finding the right width for the foot is important for comfort and added stability.
Exercise One: Brushing Teeth
Yes, you read that right. By incorporating this into a senior’s morning or bedtime routine, you fight against plaque at the same time. During different times of the day, an imaginary toothbrush will work just fine. Here are the steps:
- While standing by a flat counter, lift your right foot slightly.
- Take your right arm and brush the upper left corner of the mouth for 30 seconds.
- Switch the toothbrush to the left hand now. Raise your left foot and brush for 30 seconds on the upper right corner of the mouth.
- Put the toothbrush back in the right hand again, while now lifting the left foot. This time, you’ll brush the lower left corner.
- Repeat on the right lower corner while raising the right foot.
Exercise Two: Marching Man
Channel the beat of a marching band, or other catchy tune and follow these steps:
- If you need to hold onto something, stand next to a counter or sturdy chair.
- Lift one knee as high as possible, then alternate to the opposite knee and lift as high as possible.
- For one to two minutes, repeat these previous steps to the beat “one, two” with each lift of the knee.
Exercise Three: Living Room Walk
No, we’re not taking a walk to the couch. This exercise has the senior up on their feet doing the steps listed below:
- Slowly walk across the living room.
- Turn the head slowly to the right as much as possible as while walking.
- Go back to the starting point, and repeat while turning the head to the left as far as possible.
Exercise Four: Chair Up-Downs
- Find a chair that preferably does not have arms, and sit down.
- Place the right hand on the left shoulder, and the left hand on the right shoulder.
- Keeping the head up, stand up and sit back down.
- The key to this exercise is to not lean too far forward as you stand up.
Exercise Five: Heel-Toe
For this exercise, find a more open area such as the living room or the hallway with a clear path. Alternate between walking on the heels, and then more on the toes.
Fitness Is a Lifelong Journey, Even as a Senior
Whether your elderly father was a star quarterback in his high school glory days, or your senior mom was an avid golfer as a young woman, sports and action were always a part of their lives. Try to encourage them with the fact of fitness being a lifelong journey that doesn’t end as we age, but simply adapts.
Before you attempt any of these exercises, you should consult with your loved one’s physician. Pre-existing conditions that limit movement and balance capability need to be kept in mind and addressed to ensure that there is no added risk.
While these moves may seem simple, the impact they have on a senior makes them worthwhile. By incorporating these into a regular routine, a senior will not only feel stronger, but more confident as well.
At The Kensington Sierra Madre, we love hosting group fitness classes with our residents! We even offer on-site rehabilitation services for seniors that are in need of a more acute care plan that tailors to recovery.
We hope you enjoy these helpful tips and ideas, and get up and get moving! Incorporating these moves with a regular light walk will keep the body, mind, and spirit sharp.
If you have questions about our wellness programs and fitness classes, give us a call today to learn more about what makes us different. As a senior living community centered on family values, we promise to love and care for your loved one, as we do our own.