Fortunately, there’s one simple activity that can both improve your health and independence: strength training to improve balance.
We’re not talking about a major fitness routine. All you need are 15 to 20 minutes, 2 or 3 times a week. Plus, the exercises are simple and easy to do at home.
Most people don’t realize how important muscle strength is for stability and balance. According to research published at PubMed.gov, regular strength training for seniors (2 or 3 days a week) provides a plethora of health benefits, including:
One-Legged Stand · This exercise is so simple, yet so effective for increasing stability.
Stand in front of a chair, table, or counter for support and slowly raise one foot until you’re balancing on one leg.
Tandem Walking · This movement improves coordination and strengthens core and leg muscles.
While tightening your back and stomach muscles, walk as if you are on a tightrope, placing one foot in front of the other with the heel of your foot in motion touching the toes of your standing foot.
Sit to Stand · This activity helps seniors more easily get up from a chair or bed.
Sit in a chair and stand up without using your hands to push off the chair.
Curls · Bicep curls improve the arm muscles used to bend your elbow, making it easier to pick up and carry things.
Holding light dumbbells (or small cans of soup) at your sides with your palms facing forward, bend your elbows and bring your hands up to your shoulders. Slowly lower your hands back down and repeat.
Stand in front of a chair, table, or counter for support and lift up onto your toes and back down. Then lift onto your heels and back down.
Each of these balance exercises for seniors can be done while watching TV, talking on the phone, or even brushing your teeth! Just make sure you have something in front of you that you can grab if you need balance support, such as a counter, table, or sturdy chair; and pay attention to what you’re doing.
Strength training for seniors doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to be a big ordeal. You can get started right away with these simple steps.
The core muscles include the lower back, abdomen, hips, and pelvis. When these muscles are strong, they work together to increase balance and stability. And that can improve posture, reduce back pain, and make it easier to do everyday things, including:
Don't try to go right into an intense workout. Just like with all exercise routines, it is just as important to slowly improve balance for seniors over time. Start with 5 minutes twice a week this week. Increase it to 10 minutes 3 times a week and build from there.
If you feel you need a tailored exercise, come see us! We’ll identify why you want to make changes–from remaining independent to keeping up with grandkids. Together, we’ll create a strength and stability plan that will actually work for you.
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