Simple Balance Exercises for Seniors

Posted on February 12th, 2013 by Vic in Senior Fitness Exercises

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The older we get, our balance may take a turn for the worse. The problem is that this is not just a few seniors having this problem. The deterioration of having proper balance is an effect that thousands of senior citizens are currently facing today.
In order to maintain a healthy and fit life, it is known that seniors should have a diverse active physical lifestyle. This helps make their bones and muscles stronger. The same would apply to maintaining a perfect balance. One has to regularly put in an effort of work to keep a balanced body. If one does not do this, the result would not be a positive one.  After retirement, many seniors usually tend to move around less.  Many confine their activities to sitting while reading a book, playing cards, or just watching TV. 
Upon reaching retirement elderly citizens tend to look forward to a more relaxed lifestyle.  While instead, they should consider on keeping in good physical shape by eating right and by proper exercise.  Working on exercises for balance would be time worth spent.
As time progresses and there is a decrease in physical activity, one’s balance gets affected.  Once seniors realize that they do have some problems with keeping a perfect balance, the increased fear of falling pushes them to be confined to less physical activities.  This is the point when they may have the issues with balance,  can not stand, or walk at all, without the support of a walker or a cane.  There are many special balance exercises for seniors.  The desire to do these exercises has to come from within each senior citizen’s determination to do so.
When one starts working on a balance exercise program for seniors, one should remember that they will perform the exercises with a certain amount of instability at first. This is because their brain has been trained to have a fear of balance. But once they keep working on the exercises, their brain will learn how to do this better. 
A good example to consider is when an infant is learning to walk. When they start taking the first steps, they are usually “wobbly” and they will be somewhat scared to walk. But with practice, their brains get trained on how to do this more effectively without having the constant fear of falling down.
Balance gaining exercises can be done easily with the help of a support bar. This bar can be easily found at a fitness center. However for those that prefer to do the exercises at home, one can easily use the support of a kitchen sink or have a low cost bar installed. The goal should be to only hold the support bar for as little time as possible. Most seniors usually start off by holding onto the support bar for their exercise but eventually they loosen the grip on it as they maintain their balance.
When starting out any exercises it is recommended that one put on comfortable walking shoes. It is recommended that when working on your balancing, one should always make sure that there is someone else standing close by in case of an unwanted fall. One should also make sure that the area around you has no sharp objects that can harm you in case you fall down.
Here are couple simple exercises that senior citizens might consider:
Simple Exercise 1 – Maintaining Your Balance
This exercise requires you to put the right foot in front of the left foot. You should try and make the heel of the right foot touch the front of the left foot. Both feet should be aligned in a straight line. When you are ready and in position, let go of the support you are holding and maintain as much balance as you can for half a minute. If you are afraid of completely letting go of the support, you can always have the tips of your fingers on the support. When you are done, you can repeat the same process but with the left foot in front of the right foot.
There may be times when you are tempted to look at the wall clock, but by looking away, you might find that this shift in weight could make you lose your balance. Since you do not want to be holding a timer, you can have someone else hold a watch and time you……….or you can simply count silently to 30.
Simple Exercise 2 – Retaining Your Ability To Walk 
Balance is all about your feet. For the next exercise, you will keep your right foot flat on the ground while the left foot will only have the toe touching the ground. This is the stance you would have when you are walking. While having no support or just touching the support bar with your fingertips, stand in position for 30 seconds. When you are done you can repeat the same exercise by turning around and switching your feet.
When one looses their balance, they will usually also lose their ability to walk. This is because they did not make use of their leg muscles. Usually this is a more common occurrence to people who have been in a wheel chair for a long time.  With exercise, some of these individuals can build up their leg muscles and then retain the ability to walk and maintain balance.
Simple Exercise 3 – Building Your Leg Muscles
A simple exercise to build leg muscle can be done just by sitting down in a chair. When ready, stretch out one of your legs and point your foot as far as you can.  Repeat the same process for about 15 times.  Then switch the legs and repeat the same process. When you can do the exercise for 15 times without any pain, increase the count to 20. Continue doing so in increments of five.
As time goes on, seniors may find that their body mechanisms start slowing down naturally.  To keep healthy physical fit, the elderly should consider proper nutrition and the right exercises.  For senior citizens, working on exercises for balance should be one of those exercises.  It would be time worth spent.

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