The human body is designed to be active. There’s no reason for physical activity to stop as the aging process occurs. Especially in the case of those who have balance problems, maintaining a good level of physical exercise is crucial.
Balance Exercises for Elderly Citizens
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S., fall-related injuries are the seventh leading cause of death for older individuals. Adequate and appropriate exercise improves the body’s strength, posture, and flexibility, leading to much better balance (among other benefits), and therefore decreasing the risk of falls.
Here are a few simple, yet effective exercises which can be performed at home, outdoors, or at the gym to improve your senior loved one’s balance.
Day 1: Lower Body
1. Partial Squats
Squats are great for improving core, leg, and glute strength. All that’s needed is a steady chair. Stand behind the chair with legs shoulder width apart. Keep your hands on the back of the chair. Then, squat halfway down and come back up.
Do two to three sets of 5 to 15 reps of this exercise. Combine it with two other lower body exercises. The next day, focus on upper body. If any dizziness, lightheadedness, or loss of balance occurs, immediately stop the exercise.
2. Senior Lunges
Put your hands on your hips with legs slightly apart. Slowly extend your right leg out in front and then set your foot down and slightly bend the right knee. Next, straighten the leg and come back to where you started. Then, repeat the same move with the left leg.
Do two to three sets of 5 to 15 reps of this exercise with breaks of 30 seconds in between sets.
3. Side Hip Raises
You’ll need the same steady chair for this exercise, too. Stand behind it, with legs apart. Raise the right leg to the side and then bring it back down.
Repeat the exercise 5 to 15 times, for two or three sets with breaks of 30 seconds in between. Then, switch legs.
Day 2: Upper Body
1. Senior Pushups
These could also be bench or tree pushups, if in a park. To do this exercise, stand in front of the wall/bench/tree at arm’s length. Make sure there aren’t any objects that get in your way or fall on you while performing this move. Then, lean slightly forward and place your flat palms against the wall while bringing the body towards it. Afterwards, slowly push your body back by straightening your arms.
Do two or three sets of 5-15 reps each, with 30 second breaks in between the sets.
2. Arm Raises on a Chair
To strengthen the shoulders, sit on a chair with your back straight. Keep your arms by your sides. Then, raise both arms at the same time above your head. Lower them back down towards your body.
Repeat for two or three sets of 5-15 reps each.
3. Upper Body Twist on a Chair
Sit on a steady chair with your back straight. Press your shoulders down and back. Next, extend your arms out on either side of your body. Slowly push your chest out frontwards and upwards until you feel a stretch across your chest.
Do two to three sets of 5-15 reps of this exercise, with 30 second breaks between the sets.
Additionally, it’s recommended that seniors attend a fitness, aqua gym, swimming, yoga, or Tai Chi class, which all increase the body’s balance.
Medical Alert Systems That Detect Falls
Sometimes, falls happen with senior citizens. Medical alert systems can be very helpful, as most of them have an automatic fall detection feature that immediately notifies an operator if a fall is detected. Then, all the appropriate measures are taken to ensure the individual is safe or that they receive the necessary health care as soon as possible.
Best Medical Alert Systems of 2019
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