There are of course many factors that are involved that can affect ones balance for instance prescription medication, mental cognition, poor vision, and lower extremity neuropathy, and just plain overall body deconditioning and lack of lower extremity and trunk strength just to name a few.
However one of the biggest problems I see when working inside the home with patients and clients is the lack of strength in their legs, hips, their core, and generally just about any part of the body you can think of.
That’s right, many of us as we age become physically soft. Many feel that just because they are getting older, they should be “taking it easy” after all, that is what society here in the US seems to push as we approach retirement.
That cannot be further from the truth. That may be some of the worst advice you will get to be honest. In fact, you should become more aware that your body is physically breaking down and, you can fight back with a short but concise Exercise program that can buy you years of mobility along with keeping yourself independent so that you can live a higher quality of life.
There are a multitude of exercises to help strengthen your body and improve your static and dynamic standing balance, but today, I will introduce three main exercises that are not hard to do and can be done either at your kitchen counter or, inside your walker and it only takes a few minutes of your time. Now isn’t that worth it if it will help keep you upright and possibly avoiding unnecessary injuries from a fall?
- The Heel and Toe Raise
- Standing Hip and Knee Flexion
- The Partial Mini Squat
Start these three exercises and complete them for 10 repetitions. As you get stronger then you add more with a goal of 20 repetitions ultimately, one to two times daily.
Keeping an exercise simple and concise also helps tremendously with patient and client compliance. I have found if you throw 10 to 15 exercises on most people they will not follow through and before you know it your back to where you started.
There are a number of ways older adults can help in maintaining or even increasing their balance through a dedicated and disciplined approach when it comes to exercise and being sure that they are wearing proper footwear to start with.
Remember, there is more to helping improve your balance then just keeping your legs strong. A good general strengthening program for your entire body is most beneficial for improving quality of life and, keeping the risk of injury during mobility to a minimum.
Be sure to enroll in a exercise program if one is provided in your area whether its exercises that are land based like the example above or water exercises in the pool. Everyone will have different abilities so many will start with different types of exercises and movements.
This is a very simple program to start and can be followed by most anyone that is currently walking with an assistive device. If you do not feel safe with them, by all means please have someone supervise your exercise routine until you feel comfortable with it and the fear of falling is no longer prevalent.
Being pro-active in fall prevention and maintaining a healthy mind and body as we age should be priority number one in your life if we want to live a higher quality of life.
Richard Haynes PTA, CPT
Total Joint Fitness LLC
” Where Fitness and Rehabilitation Never Ends“
Total Joint Fitness LLC