Every second of the day, an older adult (age 65 and older) falls in the United States, making falls the number one cause of injury and injury death in the older adults.1 Just because falls are common, does not mean they are inevitable. Challenging your balance can help improve it! Below are different tools that can be used to maintain or improve your balance. Note: when doing any of these exercises, stand close to a wall, railing or chair to catch yourself. All exercises are listed from easiest to hardest:
1. Balance Pad
- Feet Together – Stand on the balance pad with both feet together so that the inner part of the heels, arches and toes are touching.
- Marching – Stand with both feet on the balance pad. Lift one knee at a time, alternating in a marching motion (see picture above)
- Knee-up Holds – Stand on the balance pad. Lift one foot for short durations (5-10 seconds) or longer durations (30 seconds or greater), if possible
- Eyes-Closed – With eyes closed, stand on the balance pad, and do any of the above exercises.
2. BOSU Ball
- Standing – On either the flat or dome side of the BOSU ball, place both feet on the surface. Stand as long as you can, using the wall to catch yourself if you lose your balance.
- Squats – With dome side up, stand on the dome with your feet spread hip width apart. With arms by your side or in front of you, slowly squat down as far as comfortable, then stand back up. Repeat 10-15 times.
- Balanced Rocking – On the flat side of the BOSU, put your feet on each edge so the surface is even. Rock from side to side, in a teeter-totter motion.
3. Line Walks
- Tightrope Walk – Starting with left foot on the tape, step forward on the line with your right foot, touching your right heel to your left toes. Walk 20 steps turn around and repeat 5 times. Try to keep your head up.
- Heel to Toe Rocks – walk stepping with one foot in front of the other leading with the heel. Then rock from that heel to toe and continue one foot in front of the other. Walk 20 steps turn around and repeat 5 times. Try to keep your head up.
- Backwards Line Walk – Walk backwards on the line. Take one step behind you, followed by the other one keeping your feet on the line. Walk 20 steps turn around and repeat 5 times. Try to not look back or down.
If you or someone you know are struggling to keep their balance, contact us today to help stay falls free!
Starting from when she was a little girl, Hillary’s passion has always been in living a healthy way of life through movement and eating right. She played many sports when growing up but ended up sticking with volleyball and softball through college at Concordia College in Moorhead. While at Concordia, she earned a double major in exercise science and nutrition, graduating in 2015. After moving to the cities from my long-time home in the Fargo area, she was not quite sure what her passion was until she started working as a personal trainer. She learned from brilliant personal trainers and physical therapists, which led to her discovery of corrective exercise being her passion. She has decided to finish up the classes needed to apply for physical therapy school, which she plans on doing soon! She is excited to be at Live Your Life Physical Therapy to learn as much as she can from Dr. Norman and all the physical therapist on staff!
1 “Keep on Your Feet-Preventing Older Adult Falls.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 Dec. 2020, www.cdc.gov/injury/features/older-adult-falls/index.html.