Keeping Your Balance as You Age: How to Avoid Falls

If your exercise program doesn’t include balance exercises, you’re still at risk for falls. Balance exercises improve your strength and flexibility. They also sharpen the sensory perception needed to keep your balance.

Adding some simple balance exercises to your current workout routine can help you maintain or regain your balance, thereby reducing your risk for falls. Here are some examples, most of which can be done from your Kansas City home:

Stand on one leg. Stand on one leg for 30 seconds; then switch to the other. If necessary, find something to hold onto at first while attempting this exercise. Once you’ve gotten to where you can do this on both sides multiple times without wobbling, try doing it with your eyes closed.

Walk heel-to-toe. Look straight ahead and walk heel to toe. Try to work up to at least 20 steps.

Try sit-to-stand. Sit in a straight back chair and try to stand without using your hands. Work up to at least 20 reps.

Do squats. Stand with your feet shoulder length apart and your arms out in front of you. Lower your body as if you’re going to sit in a chair. Go as low as you can; then stand back up. Work up to at least 30 full squats (thighs parallel to the floor).

Use an exercise ball. Exercise balls are good for improving balance, and you can buy one for as little as $15 dollars at most Kansas City Walmart stores or on Amazon. Many of them come with a workout guide.

Take a tai chi class. Sign up for a membership at a Kansas City gym or community center that offers tai chi. Some Kansas City senior centers may also offer tai chi classes.

Need Help?

If mobility issues are keeping you from exercising, you might want to start with some chair exercises.

If you have very limited mobility (or are caring for someone who has limited mobility, Alzheimer’s, or other form of dementia) you may want to enlist the help of a Kansas City home care agency that provides ambulation and exercise assistance.