August 24 2018
According to the NCOA, 1 in 4 Americans over the age of 65 will experience a fall each year, every 11 seconds a senior citizen is taken to the emergency room to treat injuries from a fall, and every 19 minutes a senior citizen succumbs to those injuries after a fall is experienced. Some of the injuries experienced after a fall, such as hip fractures, can have a lasting impact on the lives of senior citizens, affecting their quality of life for many years to come.
When senior citizens pair balance exercises with strength building, they heighten their body’s ability to maintain positional control, thereby lessening their likelihood of experiencing a fall. These types of exercises don’t need to be complex or complicated, and many can be done in the comfort of one’s own home or room. 5 exercises for senior citizens to practice to build balance and strength include:
1. Standing on one foot – This exercise is somewhat self-explanatory, and with the use of a chair or other balancing surface, can be done anywhere. Simply stand on one foot holding a sturdy chair, sofa, or other balancing surface and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise with the same foot 10 times, and then move onto the other side.
2. Heel to toe walk – For this exercise, simply walk by placing the heel of your front foot to the toe of your back foot, focusing on a spot about 10 paces ahead. Do the exercise twice for a total of 20 paces at a time.
3. Balancing walk – The balance walk is similar to the heel to toe walk, but with arms outstretched as if one is walking along a balance beam. While walking, count to one with your back leg lifted before stepping down, and repeat the exercise for 20 paces.
4. Side leg raise – To perform the side leg raise, first position yourself in front of a sturdy chair, sofa, or table so you have something to help you to keep your balance. With feet slightly apart, take a breath in while lifting one leg and raising it to the side. Remain in this leg raised position for 1 count of 1 second, and repeat for 20 repetitions. When finished one leg, do the same for the other.
5. Back leg raise – With the back leg raise, perform the exercise just like the side leg raise, but instead of lifting the leg to the side, lift it directly back while bending the knee and keeping toes pointed outward. Work on one leg for 20 repetitions, then switch to the other leg.