4 Simple and Effective Balance Exercises to Prevent Falls
Falls are responsible for 95% of hip fractures each year in the United States. If we could incorporate these easy-to-do exercises we could lower the number of hip fractures each year and reduce the medical cost attributable to these types of injuries.
Fracture recovery is a long and painful process, that requires some bed rest, and then when able, physical therapy to strengthen the muscles and joints surrounding the break.
Talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise routine.
Here are 4 simple-to-do exercises that will really help to increase your balancing skills.
- Toe Lifts while holding on to a chair or counter top, lift your toes off the floor (holding for 20-30 seconds with each lift) and then lower your toes back to the floor. Repeat this 10 times. If you experience any pain stop.
- Heel Lifts are similar to a toe lifts, except you're lifting you heels off the floor for 10 repetitions, holding for 20-30 seconds with each lift. Lift you heels, hold, and then drop your heels back to the floor. Be sure to hold onto something while doing this.
- Standing on one Leg is also great for your balance and is done again while holding onto something to stabilize your body while on the one leg. The opposing leg that is lifted is raised several inches from the floor. Try to challenge yourself and hold the pose as long as you feel safe and not wobbly. Repeat 10 times.
- Stationary Spinning is the advanced form of balance exercise among these 4 but works really well. You stand with feet shoulder width apart and slowly spin around, in a circle, with arms outstretched at shoulder level spinning 5 times. This exercise works the vestibular system in your inner ear which helps to improve your balance overall. If you get dizzy have a chair handy and sit down. If the dizziness doesn't subside you may have to eliminate this exercise.
Have fun with these and try to do them everyday and you'll notice an improvement in your balance as a result. One of the reasons we fall is due to the loss of balance we see as we age, so it's very important to improve this ability you had when you were young. If we all could improve our balance we could cut down on the numbers of fractures sustained each year. Good luck and see how you do with these easy-to-do balancing exercises.
Centers for Disease Control
Reducing Falls and Resulting Hip Fractures Among Older Women
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
Stephen B. Thacker, M.D., M.Sc.Acting Director March 31, 200
Keeping Your Balance Balancing exercises by The National Osteoporosis Foundation, 2012