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September 28, 2021
5 Simple Fall Prevention Exercises to Improve Your Balance

5 Simple Fall Prevention Exercises to Improve Your Balance

Fall Prevention Week helps bring awareness to the important issues with falling and fall prevention.

This week, we’re going to look at how to prevent falls and some simple ways you can help prevent a fall by improving your balance.  

Why is fall prevention important?

According to the World Health Organization, falls are the second-highest cause of unintentional death worldwide. Over half a million people die per year from falling.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says falls are the most common reasons seniors visit the emergency room.

How can I prevent fall risks?

There are a few easy ways to prevent fall risks. One of the most important things you can do is to eliminate household hazards. Look for potential tripping risks from uneven flooring and rugs, consider a bath or shower chair in the bathroom, and add lighting to low light areas to increase visibility.  

Another way to prevent falls is to ensure your vision care is up to date. Vision problems can lead to a fall if you’re not careful. Regular ophthalmologist visits can help you avoid vision-related risks. Medication side effects may also lead to a potential risk, as dizziness can make walking difficult.  

However, one of the easiest ways you can prevent balance issues is by doing balance exercises.

How does exercise help prevent falls in the elderly?

Staying active is one of the easiest ways to prevent fall risks. Avoiding a sedentary lifestyle and moving regularly will help keep your legs and core strong and help maintain balance.

Walking, yoga and tai chi are all great ways to improve balance and build strength. But there are also simple, at-home exercises you can do that will help your balance.

Five good exercises for balance

All of these exercises are easy, low-impact movements for any skill level. If you experience balance issues, we recommend using a chair to help support you as a safety measure.

Head Rotations

This exercise can be done either sitting or standing. The key is to move slow and deliberately. Moving fast will just make you dizzy.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your back straight and your feet hip-width apart. (If sitting, sit up straight and space your legs and feet hip-width apart.)
  1. Slowly move your head from side to side, and then up and down
  1. Roll your head around counterclockwise for 30 seconds, then pause, then repeat going clockwise for 30 more seconds

Heel Raises

This exercise is great for ankle and knee joints. Those joints are used to maintain gait. If you have trouble with this one, hold on to a chair or table for support.  

How to do it:

  1. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart
  1. Raise both of your heels at the same time, so you're balancing on your toes, hold for a few seconds and gently lower your heels back to the ground
  1. Repeat the exercise at least ten times

Chair Sits

This easy exercise requires a chair. If you’re having issues, try moving the chair by a wall and using the wall for additional support.

How to do it:

  1. Stand upright with your back facing a chair and your feet hip-width apart
  1. Slowly lower your hips onto the chair to sit and pause for a second. Then slowly put your weight on your heels and stand back up.
  1. Repeat the exercise ten times

Marching In-Place

This is another low-impact balance option that can be done near a wall if needed.  

How to do it:

  1. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart
  1. Lift one knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor (or as close to parallel as you can get without compromising your posture)
  1. Pause, then slowly put your foot back on the floor
  1. Alternate between your right and left legs until you’ve done ten marches on each leg

Tightrope Walk

This is a great and easy exercise for core, posture and balance. And, despite the name, it can easily be done on flat and even ground, like in a hallway.  

How to do it:

  1. Standing up straight, hold your arms straight out from your sides like a tightrope acrobat
  1. Walk in a straight line, pausing for one or two seconds every time you lift one of your feet off the ground
  1. Take 15 to 20 steps, pause and then repeat once

Conclusion

Falling can be scary and dangerous, but there are easy things you can do to help prevent a bad fall. Incorporating simple balance exercises and making some small household changes will not only help make you stronger, but it might also save your life.

Luke Hockaday
By
Luke Hockaday
Luke Hockaday is a Customer Success Rep here at Medicare Allies. Luke has been helping Medicare-eligible clients with their insurance and retirement-planning needs since 2011. Luke is passionate about 3 things, and 3 things only: senior insurance, football, and food!

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