In this blog, we explore the importance of achieving and maintaining good balance, along with balance exercise benefits and specific exercises to improve balance.
Understanding the Importance of Balance
Balance isn’t often something we necessarily think about—unless we lose it, fall, and hurt ourselves. Yet, the importance of balance should never be underestimated.
Balance isn’t just important because it helps prevent falls and injuries; it also improves coordination and stability, making everyday activities and physical movements easier and safer. And this is exactly why most individuals should perform exercises that improve balance on a regular basis.
What is a Balancing Exercise?
What Training Methods Improve Balance?
While we provide specific balance exercises for seniors and anyone else struggling with balance below, other training methods that incorporate aspects of balance further include:
Combining your regular exercise and balance training will only enhance your routine and your daily life. So, what exercises should you consider to improve balance?
What Exercises Improve Balance?
The following are some of the five best exercises for balance. If you’re new to balance training, these exercises are where you should start.
1. Single Legged Stance
The single legged stance is the most straightforward balance exercise. All you need is a sturdy wall or object nearby to grab hold of it if needed and a stopwatch.
Stand near the wall or sturdy object. Start your stopwatch and lift one foot off the ground. Aim to hold for at least 15 seconds. Once this becomes easy, aim for 30 seconds, then aim for a minute or more. Make sure to do each side and perform five repetitions per session.
2. Heel-Toe Walking
Using a line on the ground (or a string to signify a line), walk with one foot in front of the other. While this is similar to the tightrope walk below, the difference is that as you place one foot in front of the other, try to touch your heel to the toes of your other foot. As you bring your front foot’s heel down, come up onto the toes of your back foot, and continue doing this as you walk forward. (Yes, this can be tricky at first!)
3. Star Toe Touches
Stand in one spot on the ground. Lift one foot straight in front of you. Then, bring it about 45 degrees to your right, then directly out to your side, then 45 degrees behind you. Keep moving your leg 45 degrees around the “star points.” Make sure to repeat the same on the opposite side. And if you lose your balance, simply touch your foot down to regain it and continue.
4. Tightrope Walk
This is a really simple one, making it a great option for a senior balance training program. Simply walk one foot in front of the other in a straight line. If this is challenging, try doing this one everyday until it becomes easy.
5. Single-Leg Knee Lifts
Stand in one spot. Lift your right knee up as high as you can, without losing your balance. Pause at the top for five to 10 seconds, then lower. Repeat on your opposite side and perform about 10 to 15 repetitions per side.
How Long Does It Take to Improve Balance?
This usually depends on the effort you put into it. A regular balance and coordination workout performed three to six times a week should give way to significant balance improvements within one to three months.
The Importance of Balance Exercises for Seniors
Regular balance exercises for the elderly are crucial to prevent falls, which can then lead to a significant decline in health and even reduce overall mortality. Additionally, such programmes and exercises can balance seniors’ need for safety with their desire for an active lifestyle.
Why Does Balance Decline with Age?
Balance often declines with age due to decreasing muscle mass. After the age of 30, muscle mass decreases by about three to eight per cent per decade, with these percentages being even higher for those over 60 years of age.
Can Loss of Balance Be Restored?
Yes, balance can be restored at any age! All it takes is a little practice and knowledge regarding what balance exercises for seniors are best.
How Can Older Adults Improve Their Balance?
What Are 10 Balance Exercises for Older Adults?
10 balance exercises for older adults can include:
- Wall pushups
- Performing leg lifts on an exercise ball
- Performing arm lifts on an exercise ball
- Practicing sit-to-stands
- Tree pose or other yoga poses
And the five listed above:
- Single-legged stance
- Heel-toe walking
- Star toe touches
- Tightrope walk
- Single-leg knee lifts
However, excessively practicing balance exercises, like any other physical pursuit, can actually cause more harm than good. So, remember to always listen to your body and not do more than you are capable of.
How Often Should Older Adults Do Balance Exercises?
For noticeable improvements in your balance, it’s best to perform these types of exercises at least three times a week, if not more. Within a month to three months, you should see results.
Advanced Balance Exercises:
Some advanced balance exercise options include:
- Wobble Boards: These boards are round underneath, providing instability. In turn, this forces you to hold your balance on them. Similar to the single-legged stance, make sure there is a wall nearby and have a stopwatch to measure your progress. Once you are used to two feet on it, you can try one foot.
- Bosu Ball Exercises: You can do the same as you would on a wobble board on a bosu ball or exercise ball. A Bosu ball can also be flipped round-side down and used as a wobble board or used as an additional challenge for performing planks.
- Single Leg Lean: Once you have single leg stances down, try bringing your leg straight back and your arm forward. From here, try bending forward at the waist, creating a parallel line from your head to your toes.
Improve Your Balance and Workout Routines with Aura Leisure
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