Having proper balance is a concern that many of the seniors I work with often voice to me. Whether they used to have really good balance, or are simply afraid of having worse balance in the future, finding ways to remain steady on their feet is by far the most frequently addressed issue I work with for my clients. In addition to this, many of them also ask me if there balance is “good enough.” Although I don’t think you could ever have balance that is truly “good enough” to get you through anything life may throw at you, I do believe there are a few quick ways we can test your balance to see how good you are on your feet. The video above, in addition to the rest of this article, will give you a few details ideas that you can use for yourselves or a senior you work with to test their balance and work up from wherever they are at.
Before You Begin
Here’s the thing. You might be able to do one, two, or even three of the balance tests with no problem. I want to warn you that if you only are able to do the first three, but STILL can’t do the last two.. you are at an increased risk of falling. Because of that, I highly recommend to practice every exercise in the video and the description below. In addition to that, we do use a balance pad during one of the exercises. If you did not have a balance pad, feel free to use our Amazon Associate link down below. Otherwise, you can just use a rolled up towel instead. Lastly, always err on the side of caution and only try the exercises you are comfortable with.
Balance Test For Seniors
The first balance test for seniors is a tandem hold. For a tandem hold, you are going to put your feet in a “heel to toe” fashion, trying to hold it for about thirty seconds. Repeat on both feet, so the opposite foot is staggered forward. This is the first, and easiest balance test for seniors. The next few will be much more difficult.
Single Leg Hold
The single leg hold is a classic balance test for seniors. Shift all of your weight onto one foot. Then, hold your position in space, without moving for thirty seconds. Repeat once again on the other side for equal balance work and testing.
The forward reach is probably where you will start to notice some difficulty. For this one, start with both feet hip width apart. Next, you are going to shift all of your weight of your feet into one leg. Next, you are going to lean forward with both hands, until your upper torso is at about a 45 degree angle with the ground. Repeat on both legs.
Single Leg RDL
The single leg rdl is by far one of my most favorite balance test for seniors for a couple reasons. Not only does it challenge your balance, but it also challenges your leg strength greatly as well. This exercise will be the exact same movement as the last one. Instead of reaching forward, however, you will actually be reaching down towards the ground, touching your toe, and then standing back up nice and tall. Make sure to repeat the movement on the other foot. If you are confused in how the last two movement look, feel free to check the video above to see what it looks liek.
Single Leg RDL With Balance Pad
The last movement, and by far the hardest, will be a variation of the last single leg RDL. This one will use the balance pad that we recommended in the post above. For this one, repeat the same movement as described above, but with the use of a balance pad. This will make the ground much more unsteady, and the exercise much more difficult.
These are of course a few of many great balance test for seniors. For the best results, try to get better at ALL of the tests. If you did need a balance pad, OR wanted to follow a fall reduction program, that has helped numerous seniors and beginners improve their balance, I am going to link those below!
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