Are you afraid of falling? You are in the right place. So many of the older adults that I work with on a day to day basis are in the same situation as you. They are so afraid of falling and hurting themselves, that ultimately they lack the confidence to move throughout their day to day life. This lack of confidence quickly decreases their physical activity which actually increases the risk that they might fall and hurt themselves. One of the things I have noticed when working with seniors, is that a lack of quickness also increases the risk of falling. If someone is not able to move their body quickly through life, then they simply won’t be able to react to all of the demands the unpredictable world has for them. Because of this, it is incredibly important to practice agility with seniors. Agility is simply the ability to move quickly and precisely with your body. The video above, in addition to the descriptions below, will detail a few great agility and balance exercises that seniors can do to improve their steadiness on their feet to reduce falls.
Before you Begin
Normally when doing agility and balance drills I like to use different pieces of equipment to make things more difficult. In the video above, we actually don’t use any equipment this time. I do recommend, however, having a sturdy chair to do a couple of the exercises on. In the video, we use a weight bench. The weight bench that we recommend can be purchased here on Amazon, with our associates link. In addition to this, all of the exercises in the video above, and the description below should be completed as quickly as possible. Of course, if you are uncomfortable with a movement, or need some rest, use your judgement. I do highly recommend implementing ALL of the exercises, otherwise you still might have difficulty with your balance. Let’s begin!
Agility Exercise for Seniors
Seated Log Hops
You will start in a seated position. Now, imagine as if there is a log or object down in front of you going up and down. I typically imagine my “log” to be about 1/2 foot off the ground. Next, with both feet together, alternate tapping left and right over the log numerous times.
Seated Side Reaches
For this one, you will also start in a seated position. Next, you want to reach as far as you can with your leg all the way to the side. The goal is to stretch and move your leg muscle, and tissues through a large range of motion that isn’t typically done in life. Of course, quickly reach side to side back and forth as quickly as possible.
We are on to one of my favorite exercises to improve balance and agility. This one you will start in a standing position. Next, you are going to slowly lean forward so all of the weight is in the balls of your feet, ultimately until you actually fall forward slightly. Then, you will put one foot out and quickly catch yourself. Make sure to practice this exercise on both feet for equal agility, balance, and muscle work. I would recommend looking at the video above to see how this one fully works.
Forward and Backward Shuffle
This one might seem silly on paper, but hear me out. You are going to have about a 5-10 foot space in front of you. Next, you are going to shuffle forward as quickly as you can to your 5-10 foot end point and then stop on a dime. You will then do the exact same thing going backwards. This will challenge your balance as you are rapidly changing and stopping your center of gravity. In addition your leg muscles get worked pretty well, too. In the video, we do use a walker to demonstrate the exercise. If you are in a market for a high quality, cheap walker, we recommend the one below.
Last but not least is our final standing exercise. For clock taps, you will shift all of your weight into one foot. Next, you will outline an imaginary “clock” down below your feet. Then, you will quickly tap 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 o’clock as quickly as you can going up and down the “hours.” Make sure you do this on the other leg as well going counter-clockwise.
These are just a few of MANY great balance and agility exercises you can do to improve your quickness and speed as a senior, or beginner. Be consistent, otherwise your balance likely might not improve! If you are needed some extra balance work in your life, we have also designed a great fall reduction program that has helped numerous seniors improve steadiness on their feet. It comes complete with 5 of our favorite balance drills, descriptions on how to do them, pictures, and even videos on proper technique as well. This will be detailed below.
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