Balance exercises are incredibly important for seniors, and individuals who struggle staying steady on their feet. When I work with older adults in improving their overall health and wellness, balance is a top priority. Because of this, I have spent lots of time running drills, exercises, and speaking about balance with older adults. Through this time, I have noticed a few different aspects of balance that are important to work separately. Most people, when they think about balance, simply think about standing without moving. This is important, but only a smart part. Let’s take a look at all of the different aspects of balance, from my perspective, and how you can work them. If you do get lost on the descriptions, make sure to consult the video above as it details all of the balance aspects, and exercises you can do.
Ultimate Balance Guide
This is the most common form of balance that people will practice, and what people usually think of when they think of “balance exercises.” Static balance is the ability to remain stable and steady when you are standing. Static balance is most often noted when standing straight up and down, whether you are out in public, waiting in a line, or just standing and talking with someone. Static balance is important because it is the base for all the other aspects of balance. If you don’t have good static balance, then the rest will falter. A few ways to work static balance are feet together holds, single leg holds, and even forward reach holds, all of which are in the video above.
Dynamic balance is the next portion, involving being stable when you are moving through life. This could involve walking across a parking lot, getting out of a car properly, and even getting out of your bed in the morning. If you don’t have proper dynamic balance, your quality of life will greatly suffer. A few ways to work dynamic balance are marches, single leg RDL’s, and even side leans, all of which are in the video above.
Agility is one of my favorite aspects of fitness to work in seniors. Having proper agility is incredibly important to help reduce the risk of falls happening to begin with. If you aren’t able to move quickly through space to catch yourself from falling, you will inevitably fall and hurt yourself. Practicing agility drills involves moving your body quickly and precisely through space. A few ways to work agility are quick forward taps, side to side taps, and balance catches, all of which are in the video above.
Core strength is often overlooked when improving your balance, but is incredibly important. If you don’t have proper core strength, the rest of your body won’t be strong either. Somebody with a weak core, will likely have weak legs, which increases the chance of falling heavily. A few ways to work core strength are single arm farmers marches, single arm overhead holds, and even side lean holds, all of which are in the video above.
Audio and Visual
This is one aspect that is sometimes forgotten about when looking at balance. Your audio and visual cues are heavily influenced in your ability to balance. Your body uses your ability to hear and see properly, to help assist in balance. This is called proprioception, or the body’s ability to be aware of where it is in space. If you are someone who struggles with hearing, or seeing things properly, I would highly recommend to get this checked, as it could be making your balance much worse. If they check out, you can still work them a few different ways as well. A few ways to work visual and audio cues are eyes closed holds, side to side gazes, and eyes closed with ears closed holds, all of which are in the video above.
When it comes down to it, balance is tricky to work on. When broken down, you can tackle the different aspects of balance you might have more difficulty with than others. Consistency is key, and the more you practice these movements, the better you will be! If you are interested, we also have developed an excellent fall prevention program that you can use at home, that has helped many of the older adults we work with improve their balance and stop falling. This can be found below.
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