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Exercises to Improve Balance

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Updated August 12, 2007

Balance is a crucial ability, especially as we age. Every year, over 300,000 people are admitted to the hospital for broken hips, most often due to falling. Hip fractures often lead to disability and loss of independence. To avoid becoming one of this, add balance exercises into your physical activities.

Safety – Before You Start

Always hold onto a chair or table when with one hand when trying a new balance exercise. As you improve, you can just rest your fingertips on the table or chair. Also, have someone next to you when doing balance exercises for the first time – the person can help steady you or catch you if you fall.

Side Leg Raise

  1. Stand behind a table or chair, with feet at shoulder width.
  2. Hold onto the table or chair for balance.
  3. Lift your right leg to the side about 12 inches (or as far as is comfortable) while keeping your back and both legs straight. Hold for several seconds.
  4. Repeat with your left leg and continue until you’ve done 10 with each leg.

Hip Flexion

  1. Stand behind a chair or table and hold on for balance.
  2. Bend one knee slowly toward your chest.
  3. Hold for 1 second and then lower slowly.
  4. Repeat with the other leg and continue until you have done 12 lifts with each leg.

Heel-To-Toe

  • Walk while placing the heel of one foot just in front of the toe of the other. Hold onto to a table or counter while trying this.

One Foot

  • While holding onto a chair or table, stand on one foot, then switch feet.
For more balance exercises and illustrations go to NIH Senior Health, Balance Exercises.

More on Exercise:
Make Exercise Fun
Hidden Benefits of Exercise
Want Better Sex? Exercise.
Sleep Better Through Exercise
Mental Fitness and Exercise
Your Immune System and Exercise
Learn to Love Exercise
Get More Energy by Exercising
Increase Your Life Expectancy With Exercise
Strong Bones and Exercise
Your Social Life and Exercise
Improve Your Mood With Exercise

Source:

National Institutes of Health. NIH Senior Health. Balance Exercises.

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