Balancing exercises are one of the things that I do frequently with many of the seniors that I work with. Increasing steadiness on your feet is incredibly important for seniors, as doing these exercises helps to reduce the risk of falls. One of the great ways that we can improve our balance is with a balance pad. This type of balancing exercise works well because it decreases the overall sturdiness or flatness of the ground. Doing this offers a unique stimulus not often experienced in our daily lives, but is nonetheless important.
Before You Exercise
This type of exercise requires the use of a balance pad. Numerous objects can be used around the house that would take place of a formal balance pad. A few examples of equipment that could act as a balance pad could be a pillow, folded towel, or a large piece of foam. I enjoy using the balance pad because the quality is very good, in addition to the object only being used for exercise. The last thing you want to do is have your spouse nagging at you because you are getting footprints on your 100 year old pillow imported from Italy. If you do want to purchase a balance pad, the one we recommend can be found on Amazon, here:
Low Impact Balancing Exercises for Seniors – Balance Pad Workout
Now that you have your balancing device, we can begin the exercises. The balancing exercises that we will practice on the balance pad today are the following:
- Static Hold
- Slow Marches
- Hip Circle
Being able to hold yourself straight up and down in a static position is actually a balance drill in itself. If you are very good in your balancing abilities, this exercise may seem easy at first. Once you stand on the balance pad, you will notice immediately how much balance you need to simply stand on your feet. For the static hold, simply stand with your feet hip width apart on the balance pad, with your hands planted firmly on the side. If this is easy, you can bring your feet together to where they are both touching. Again, if this is easy, you can start to stagger your feet into a “tandem” or half step hold. Doing these progressions makes your base a little less throughout the different exercises. For this balancing exercise, try to simply hold yourself without moving and flailing your arms and body.
Slow marches are a great carry over to the previous exercise. If you have mastered standing in place without moving, then adding in a little bit of movement will test your balance skills very rapidly. For the slow marches, you are going to place your feet hip width apart on the balance pad. Next you are going to slowly lift your knee up as high as you can, and then slowly bring it back down. Then, repeat the same thing on the other leg. Continue to alternate your slow marches back and forth, trying to not grab anything or use your hands as a counter balance. Remember for this exercise, the slower you move your march, the better!
The hip circle is an exercise that works on changing your center of gravity very rapidly, thus making it a potent and challenging balancing exercise for seniors and individuals with mobility impairments as well. For the hip circle, stand on the balance pad with your feet hip width apart. Next, you are going to place both of your hands on your hips. Lastly, you are going to allow your hips to create a large “circle” around your entire body. Think about slowly pushing your hips as far as you can to the left, forward, right, backward, in a nice fluid motion. This exercise is deceivingly hard, and can be made more difficult by placing both of your feet all the way together.
Listed above are a few great balancing exercises for seniors that can be used to increase steadiness and hopefully reduce the risk of falls with practice. If you did want to purchase a balance pad to try out these movements, feel free to visit amazon here to grab one! Good luck on your balance work, and remember… to get better balance you must practice!
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