Age brings several health concerns that likely never entered your mind in your younger years. Falls are one of them. At least not falls around the house moving between familiar rooms.
Fall prevention is a central component of healthy aging. Falls are a leading cause of injury and death among older North Americans, and they can severely impact mobility and quality of life.
Exercise might be the best prevention method. Strong muscles help improve balance, walking ability, and help you walk more confidently on sure feet. Here are some exercises you can do at home that may help improve balance.
This is a good starter exercise.
Stand behind a steady, solid chair and hold the top of the backrest. Lift your right foot and balance on your left foot for as long as you can, then switch feet. The eventual goal is to perform the exercise for up to one minute without holding the chair.
Heel to Toe Walk
The exercise helps improve balance and leg strength.
Put your right foot in front of your left, so your right heel touches your left toes. Then move your left foot in front of your right, putting your weight on your heel. Next, shift your weight to your toes. Repeat with your left foot and complete 20 steps.
Standing on One Foot
Stand up straight with your head level and feet about hip-width apart, and make sure both feet are pressed firmly into the ground. Transfer weight onto your right foot and slowly bend your left knee to lift your left foot off the ground.
Hold for up to 30 seconds.
Slowly return to the starting position and complete the exercise again, this time lifting your right leg. Perform the exercise five times per side.
Stand behind a chair, holding the top of the backrest with one hand. Now pretend you are standing in the center of a clock. The 12 is directly in front of you, and the 6 is behind.
Lift your right leg and extend your right arm, so it is pointing to the number 12. Next, point your arm to the three, and then six. Bring it back to the three, then to 12. Look straight ahead the entire time.
Repeat twice per side.
These are beginner exercises you can do at home to help strengthen muscles and improve balance to reduce the risk of falls. Spend some time on them daily, slowly adding more complex movements once you can do these with ease.