From learning to ride a bike to preventing falls, balance is an important skill to have, especially as you get older. Did you know that each year, 1 out of 3 people over the age of 65 have a fall? These falls can lead to serious and debilitating injuries, so it is beneficial to include regular exercise routines that can help improve your balance.
The following exercises can be done anywhere and anytime so try to incorporate them into your daily routine:
- Stand on one foot: start with 30 seconds on each leg on a stable surface. For a challenge, try closing your eyes or stand on a softer surface like a cushion (be sure to have something to hold onto, just in case!). Repeat 4 times each side.
- Walk in a straight line: With arms out to the side, walk heel to toe 20 steps forward then backwards in a straight line.
- Clock with arms: Stand on one leg with one hand down. Point the other arm straight up at 12 o’clock, then to 3, 6, 9, and back to 12. Repeat with other leg and arm. For a fun challenge, have someone else call out random times and move arm accordingly.
- Leg swing: Stand on one leg and swing the other leg front and back, lifting about 5 inches off the ground. Start slow and use the ground for support if necessary when passing the other foot.
- Tip toes: Engage your cord and lift your heels with arms stretched out to the side. Face your palms forward and pulse your arms forward and backwards about an inch each direction, 25 times. Repeat with palms facing up and backwards.
- Squats: Stand with feet hip width apart and slowly lower the hips as if to sit in a chair with arms stretched forward. Get as close to parallel as possible and hold for 30 seconds before slowly returning to standing. Can also be done against a wall.
Improving your balance can increase your strength, stability and your confidence. For those who have repetitive falls or need additional help, consult with a board-certified podiatrist for support. At Your Next Step, podiatrists Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen can help assess your foot health and provide ways to increase your ankle stability, such as the Moore Balance Brace. This custom ankle foot orthotic is inserted into footwear to provide stability to prevent tripping and falling. Our podiatrists also treat common conditions such as sports injuries, heel pain, chronic tendon pain, nail fungus, diabetic foot problems, and arthritis. Please contact us for an appointment at our locations in Ardmore, Paoli, or Downingtown!