All You Need is a Tennis Ball!
Among older adults, keeping their balance, coordination, and quickness in check is a top priority. For those who currently don’t have the best of these attributes, it is likely incredibly difficult to navigate through life. Whether this is playing with your grandchildren, traveling around after retirement, or even just go out to dinner, if your balance, coordination, and quickness is not kept up, these aspects of your life will be much less enjoyable. But at the end of the day, there is actually plenty of great exercises that we can do to improve your balance and quickness in your body to keep your quality of life at the highest it can be. Today, we will look some of my favorite tennis ball exercises that I use with many of the seniors that I work with that will help you too.
What’s The Purpose?
Something that often goes overlooked when it comes to older adults, is their ability to move quickly. This is exactly why many of these exercises are not only going to challenge your balance, but also a seniors capacity to move fast through space. Seniors who can move more quickly are at an extremely less risk of falling. Older adults who can manage doing these tennis ball exercises, and especially the last one, will never fall again.
Tennis Ball Exercises For Seniors
Seated Tennis Ball Drops
For this one you will start in a seated position. Next, you will extend your arm far out in front of you, with a tennis ball in hand. Then, you will drop the ball and stand up out of the chair to reach forward and grab the ball after it has bounced once. This challenges not only your leg strength but quickness as well.
Standing Ball Drops
This exercise involves you standing tall, with a tennis ball in your hand. After this, you will extend your arm once again, and drop the ball. Just like the last movement, wait until the ball hits the ground, before stepping forward quickly to catch the ball. Make sure you alternate which leg is reaching forward.
Side Ball Drops
This movement is similar to the last one, except you will be placing the ball to the side of your body, before dropping. You can make this more challenging by looking straight ahead until you drop the ball. This challenges your vision which is highly effected in balance as well. Do this drop on both sides.
For The Best Results
Those first few are excellent, but are just a couple. In fact, the seniors that I work with who have mastered not just those exercises, but the next few as well, improved their balance and quickness the most.
Double Ball Drops
For a double ball drop, this is going to be exactly like the standing ball drops variation. The only difference is that instead of waiting for the ball to hit the ground once before reaching forward to catch it, you will actually wait for a second drop. This increases the difficulty because you will have to reach down, challenging your back, core, and legs.
Once you’ve mastered those movements, you can move to a wall. For wall catches, you are simply going to toss a tennis ball against the wall, straight ahead of you, and catch it. This helps your quickness and coordination tremendously. After that, you can start tossing them to the side to make the difficulty increased.
Wall Catches With a Reach
This movement will have you do a simliar motion as the wall catches. But instead of having the ball go back towards you straight ahead, you will throw the ball down on the wall in front of you, forcing you to react to 2 bounces AND bend over to catch it. This will challenge your entire body strength and coordination.
Practice these tennis ball exercises daily and your balance, coordination, and quickness will improve extremely fast. I will go ahead and place a link below for tennis balls you can purchase if you are needing some to try these out, in addition to our fall reduction program we have designed for seniors and older adults as well.
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