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Why Should Seniors Perform Balance Exercises?

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A group of seniors performing balance exercises by lifting one leg in the air and holding onto a support bar with their left hand.

As we age, maintaining balance and stability becomes increasingly important. According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults, with 1 in 4 Americans over 65 falling each year. 

The good news is that falls are largely preventable, and one of the best ways to reduce your fall risk is by practicing balance exercises. 

There are many benefits of balance exercises for older adults. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Increasing strength & stability
  • Improving coordination
  • Growing confidence
  • Preventing injury
  • Boosting brain function
  • Improving fall recovery

Heritage Pointe uses an Inspire Wellness for Life program to help older adults engage in a more active, social, and meaningful lifestyle. Encouraging our loved ones to stay active can be a key component in preventing injuries. Additionally, Heritage Pointe has scheduled events and social gatherings to encourage active living.

Increase Strength & Stability

Balance exercises are an effective way to boost overall strength and stability, particularly in the lower body. Strengthening the muscles that support your joints and keep you upright can help prevent falls and improve overall mobility. 

Strength training can also help increase bone density, which is crucial for preventing osteoporosis, a condition that can lead to fractures and other complications. Along with bone health, balance exercises can improve muscle strength and performance. 

Improve Coordination

As we age, our reflexes and coordination can decline, making it harder to react quickly and avoid accidents. Balance exercises can help fine-tune these skills, improving your overall coordination

Even simple movements like walking or standing on 1 leg can help increase your proprioception—the sense of the position and movements of your body.

Grow Confidence

One of the biggest benefits of balance exercises is that they can help older adults feel more confident and independent in their daily lives. 

Knowing that you have the strength and stability to handle basic movements like getting up from a chair or walking on an uneven surface can be a tremendous boost to your self-esteem. If you find meaning in exercise, it can also reduce anxiety and other negative emotions that impact your overall mental health.

Prevent Injury

By strengthening key muscles and improving your overall stability, balance exercises can help prevent many types of injuries, both minor and major. 

In particular, falls can be a serious concern for older adults. By incorporating regular balance exercises into your routine, you can reduce your risk of falling and the associated complications.

Boost Brain Function

In addition to improving physical health, balance exercises may have cognitive benefits. Studies have shown that balance exercises can increase brain function and memory retention in older adults. 

This likely has to do with the fact that balance exercises engage multiple parts of the brain, including those that control coordination, spatial awareness, and decision-making.

Improve Fall Recovery

In the event that an older adult does experience a fall, having good balance can aid in recovery. 

The ability to catch oneself and maintain composure during a fall can reduce the severity of injuries. Regular exercise can also improve the body’s natural reflexes and reactions, contributing to a faster recovery.

Recommended Balance Exercises 

Here are some exercises you might want to try:

  • Heel-to-Toe Walk: Walk in a straight line, placing your heel right in front of your toe each time. It’s like you’re walking on an invisible tightrope.
  • Leg Lifts: While holding onto a chair for support, lift 1 leg off the ground and hold it there for a few moments. Then switch to the other leg.
  • Rock the Boat: With your feet hip-width apart, slowly lift 1 foot off the floor and balance on the other. After a few moments, switch to the other foot.
  • Back Leg Raises: Holding onto a chair for support, lift 1 leg straight back without bending your knee or pointing your toes. Do this with both legs.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to have someone around when you’re doing these exercises, just in case you need a bit of help. Before starting a new exercise routine, check in with your primary care doctor to make sure the new routine is safe. 

A group of senior women smiling while sitting in a circle and using exercise bands

A Balanced Approach to Aging

Balance exercises can be a beneficial element of any older adult’s health and wellness plan. Whether you’re looking to build strength and stability, improve coordination, boost confidence, or prevent falls and other injuries, there are many compelling reasons to prioritize balance exercises as you age. 

Heritage Pointe Senior Living knows the importance of incorporating physical activity into a daily routine, which is why we offer a variety of options for our residents to engage in exercise. Book a tour today to learn more about our amenities and services and how we can help improve your active lifestyle! With a little practice and dedication, you’ll be on your way to a healthier, more balanced life.

Written by Lifespark

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