Balance training is an important part of any exercise regimen, but it becomes even more crucial as we age. As we get older, our risk of falling increases, which can lead to serious injuries like broken bones and head trauma. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among older adults.
Balance training can help seniors reduce their risk of falling by improving their stability and coordination. Some of the exercises that can be used for balance training include:
- Standing on one foot: This exercise helps to improve proprioception, which is the ability to sense the position and movement of the body in space. To do this exercise, stand up straight with your feet together and lift one foot off the ground. Try to maintain your balance for as long as you can, then switch feet. Always be close to something sturdy when completing this exercise, so you have something to hold on to if needed.
- Walking heel to toe: This exercise helps to improve coordination and stability. To do this exercise, stand up straight and place the heel of one foot just in front of the toes of the other foot. Then, walk forward, placing each foot heel to toe.
- Tai chi: This Chinese martial art is often used for balance training because it involves slow, flowing movements that help to improve balance and coordination.
In addition to physical balance training, it’s also important to incorporate activities in daily routine that promote balance, such as walking, climbing stairs, and cycling.
It’s best to start with easy and comfortable moves, then as balance improves can progress to more advanced exercises. It is also important to consult a healthcare professional, such as a physiotherapist, before starting any new physical activity especially if the senior have any underlying health conditions or have recently experienced a fall. This will help to ensure that the exercises are safe and appropriate for the individual.
In conclusion, balance training is an important part of any exercise regimen for seniors. It can help to reduce the risk of falling and improve stability and coordination. Incorporating balance training exercises into a daily routine can have a significant impact on overall health and well-being.
If you’re looking to add balance training into your daily routine but aren’t sure where to start, contact our clinic or use the online booking tool to make an appointment with one of our physiotherapists. The physiotherapist will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your mobility, balance and strength, and provide you with a home exercises program to help you reach your balance and fitness goals.
-Hilary Veenstra, PT