Being the most steady on your feet is a primary concern in many of the older adults that I work with. When I teach exercise classes to them, they often are curious how they can improve their confidence and reduce the risk of falling for themselves. One of the activities that I always implement in my classes and programming to reduce falls is agility and quickness exercises. This is done mainly to practice the art of moving quickly, to reduce the fall from happening in the first place. If a senior or older adult is able to move their body quickly, they can essentially “catch” themselves from falling to begin with. Let’s take a look at a few great exercises that you can do to improve your quickness and reduce the risk of falls!
Before You Begin
The exercises demonstrated in the video above, and the description below, will be used in conjunction with an agility ball. An agility ball is a jagged ball that is often used for athletes to improve their quickness and hand eye coordination. The great thing about this equipment is that it can also be used for older adults as well. If you do not have an agility ball for yourselves, we recommend the ball here. This is the same ball that we use in the video, and with the Amazon associate link, you can have it as well. In addition, many of these exercises will challenge your quickness. Do them to the best of your abilities, without putting yourself in danger. Also, try to move as quickly as possible when you are doing the exercises (since we are trying to improve your agility.)
Agility Ball Exercises
For the forward toss, have a large amount of space in front of you. Next, you will toss the agility ball a few feet in front of you, and quickly chase the ball to catch it. The farther out you toss it, the harder this will be.
The backwards toss is identical to the forward toss. You will simply toss the ball behind you a couple feet, and react to turn around and grab the ball quickly. Beware that this is incredibly challenging and you may need to do it a couple times slowly, before going full force.
Drop and React
Drop and react has you holding the agility ball at your waist. You will then drop the ball, and react to whatever direction it is going in to try to bend down and catch it. If you want an extra challenge, you can try doing this with your eyes closed, and then opening once you let go of the ball.
Drop and React in a Chair
This is similar to the last exercise, but you will start sitting down in a chair. Then, you will drop the ball, stand out of the chair, and try to catch the ball. Since you are starting in a seated position, this makes it incredibly challenging on your leg muscles to get yourself up quickly out of the chair.
Ramp and React
Ramp and react starts with a chair in a reclined position. Consult the video above if you are confused on how it should look. Next, you will drop the ball on the ramp, wait until the ball hits the ground, and react to grab the ball in whatever direction it goes. If you have a sturdy wall, you can also toss the ball against the wall, and try to react to where it goes as well.
These are just a few of many great agility and balance exercises that seniors can do for themselves. Practice them consistently for the best results. If you are interested in purchasing our fall reduction program, which has helped numerous seniors we have worked with improve their balance and reduce falls, you can follow the link below.
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