7 Exercises to Improve Balance

HealthAfter50 | May 19, 2017

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Before you start

An effective way to reduce your risk of falls is to improve your balance. For the best results, perform these seven exercises daily. If your balance is poor, you may need someone to stand with you while you exercise to ensure that you do not fall. If the exercise calls for switching sides, each repetition includes doing the exercise on both sides. Stop doing any exercise if it makes your pain worse.

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1. Heel raises

• Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding onto a sturdy countertop.

• Put your weight on the balls of your feet and lift both heels, then lower. This should take about 4 seconds.

• Begin with three sets of five repetitions; slowly work up to two sets of 20 repetitions. Rest 30 seconds between sets.

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2. Ball of foot raises

• Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding onto a sturdy countertop.

• Put your weight on your heels and lift the balls of your feet, then lower. This should take about 4 seconds.

• Begin with three sets of five repetitions; slowly work up to two sets of 20 repetitions. Rest 30 seconds between sets.

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3. Standing balance

• Stand with your back in a corner but not touching it, away from any furniture or other objects.

• Place your feet together and try to maintain your balance for 30 seconds.

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4. A more challenging standing balance

• Turn at the waist to the right and hold for 5 seconds; then to the left and hold for 5 seconds. Begin with 10 repetitions; slowly work up to 25 repetitions.

• Sway slightly from your ankles to the left and hold for 5 seconds, then to the right and hold for 5 seconds. Begin with 10 repetitions; slowly work up to 25 repetitions.

• Sway slightly from your ankles to the back and hold for 5 seconds, then to the front and hold for 5 seconds. Begin with 10 repetitions; slowly work up to 25 repetitions.

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5. Standing balance with stride

• Stand with your back in a corner, away from any furniture or other objects.

• Place your feet together with the right foot slightly ahead of the left foot and hold for 5 seconds; repeat with the left foot slightly ahead of the right foot.

• Slowly work up to maintaining your balance for 10 seconds. Once you can do that, gradually bring your foot farther forward until it is completely in front of the other one.

• Perform six times.

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6. Trunk rotation

• Sit in a chair with your hands gently clasped together over your right hip.

• Looking at your hands, lift your arms up and over to your left shoulder while twisting your torso to the left. This should take about 4 seconds.

• Repeat in the other direction.

• Begin with three sets of four repetitions; slowly work up to three sets of 20 repetitions. Rest 30 seconds between sets.

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7. Mini wall sits

• Lean your back against a wall with your feet approximately 12 inches from the wall. They should be shoulder-width apart.

• Slide down the wall by bending your knees to 30 degrees; hold for 5 seconds.

• Return to the starting position; rest for up to 30 seconds if needed.

• Perform six times.

• Work up to bending your knees to 45 degrees and holding for 25 seconds.