When we are young and leading an active life, we can maintain balance with ease. However, with increasing age, we tend to lose our sense of balance due to various reasons. Some of the reasons that can cause a lack of balance in elderly people are degenerative weakness, decrease in vision, degeneration of spine and nervous system, and so on. Here's a list of exercise that can halt that inevitable tide.
Balance Exercises for the Elderly
These exercises mainly aim to maintaining the center of gravity intact, while making movements in various directions. Here are a few simple and easy-to-do exercises for the elderly:
The first exercise involves simply sitting and getting up from an armless chair without using any help or support. Sit on the chair, and get up as soon as possible. You have to make sure that you do not tilt you body on any one side to get some support. Initially, you cannot make these movements quickly, and you should not expect it either. Start slowly, and repeat it as many times as you are comfortable.
Take a sturdy, straight chair. Stand straight with the chair placed at the left side of your body. Hold the chair with your left hand and put the entire body weight on the left leg. Now, bend your right leg at the knee and try to bring it near your chest. Try to maintain this position for 3 counts. Then put the right foot back on the floor. This should be repeated 5 times on each side.
Walking in a straight line is a great way of improving balance. Draw a straight line on the floor and walk along this line. To begin with, keep both your feet on this line, one in front of the other. Raise the back foot and hold it up for a second, and then place it just ahead of the toe of the other foot. Similarly, lift the other foot and place it at the front. Take 20 such steps and then turn around and retreat in the same manner.
Stand straight with your feet slightly apart from each other. Keep a table or a counter in front of you for support. Hold the support and slowly raise any one leg, sideways, up to a height of 6-12 inches above the ground. While lifting the leg, make sure it does not bend at the knees. Maintain this position for 5 counts. Then bring down the leg to its original position. Repeat with the other leg.
Stand on the floor keeping your back and head straight, and toes pointed forward. Put your right foot in front of the left foot. Next, raise your left arm diagonally across the body. While doing so, you cannot move either your head or torso. Swing the arm down and lift it all over again. Repeat this motion for 10 times. Then put the left foot at the front and do the same exercise with your right arm.
Stand in front of a chair whose height reaches up to your hips. Stand a few steps away from the chair, with your back straight and feet apart. Hold on to the chair for support, and try to lift any one leg backwards without bending the knee. Hold this position for one or two seconds. Switch legs and repeat the same. This is highly effective for strengthening the lower back, hips, and buttocks.
All these exercises should be performed under the supervision of a family member, so that you can get assistance if required. Do not try any exercise that you think is tough for you. While doing any of them, if you feel dizzy and uncomfortable, then you must stop it immediately.