• Five Balance Exercises To Do At Home

    Five Balance Exercises To Do At Home

Balance exercises are a vital tool that often gets overlooked. Balance assists us in daily activities like picking something up off the floor, walking to meals, or even brushing our teeth.

Before we begin practicing balance, it is important to understand what exactly it is.

Why Are Balance Exercises Important?

Balance is even weight distribution that allows a person to stay upright. Because balance is pivotal to fall prevention, it is important that we perform balance exercises to maintain and improve this skill to help prevent falls.

Balance exercises, along with other forms of regular exercise, are proven to help older adults improve overall mobility, function, and mental health while reducing symptoms and discomfort of chronic conditions such as arthritis.

Perform exercises to improve balance at home on a regular basis. It’s important to work at your own pace and incorporate stretching exercises for additional benefits.

Always make sure you have good posture when you are performing balance exercises: head up, tummy tight, and shoulders back. Find a point in front of you to focus on while performing these exercises. This will help with your balance.

Five At-Home Balance Exercises

Tandem Stance balance exercise to do at home
1. Tandem/Staggered Stance

Equipment: Chair

Starting Position: Stand behind chair, close enough that you can reach the chair and hold on with both hands if necessary.

  • Place right foot in front of the left foot, directly in front of the other, with right heel touching the toes of the left foot. Think of placing them as if you were trying to walk on a balance beam. It is perfectly fine to have them slightly separated/staggered if you cannot bring them that close together.
  • Work to balance this stance and hold for 30-45 seconds, keeping head up, tummy tight, and shoulders back.
  • Repeat with left foot, 30-45 seconds in this stance.

Expert Tip:

To make this exercise harder, you can progress to only holding on with one hand or “hovering” both hands over the chair. You can also close your eyes to add more of a challenge.

Standing on one foot balance exercise to do at home
2. Standing on One Foot

Equipment: Chair

Starting Position: Stand off to the side of the chair, allowing you to still hold on with one hand.

  • While standing on one side of the chair, you will lift the foot farthest from the chair off the ground in a position that is comfortable for you.
  • Hold position for 30-45 seconds keeping head up, tummy tight, and shoulders back.
  • Eventually, it would be beneficial to work the knee up to 90 degrees.
  • Repeat with opposite leg.

Expert Tip:

You can close your eyes to add more of a challenge with this exercise. Ensure you’re comfortable with the exercise itself before making it more difficult.

Reaching and placing balance exercise to do at home
3. Reach and Put (this exercise as it relates to everyday movements.)

Equipment: Chair

Starting Position: Stand off to the side of the chair with both feet on the ground.

  • Lift the foot and arm farthest away from the chair up as you would when getting something off a shelf.
  • Step to the side with that foot while reaching out to the side with the arm as you would when putting an item on a table.
  • Repeat this exercise 8 to 10 times.
  • Repeat with left arm and leg.

Expert Tip:

Ensure you do not lock out your knees with this exercise. Keep a slight bend in them. Move slowly with this exercise; do not allow your momentum to control your movements. This will better train your balance.

4. Abductions/Kicks to the Side

Kicks to side balance exercise to do at home

Equipment: Chair

Starting Position: Stand behind the chair with feet shoulder-width apart. Put head up, keep tummy tight, and shoulders back. 

  • Slowly raise your right leg out to the side as high as you feel comfortable.
  • Bring your right leg back down to touch the floor.
  • Perform 10 to 15 kicks on each leg.
  • Repeat with left leg.

Expert Tip:

Move your leg in a slow and controlled fashion, focusing on body control and your balance as you go through this movement. 

5. Standing Calf Raise

Standing calf raise balance exercise to do at home

Equipment: Chair

Starting Position: Stand behind chair with feet shoulder-width apart, touching back of chair with fingers. Head up, tummy tight, and shoulders back.

  • Come up onto the ball of your foot or your toes as far as you feel comfortable.
  • Hold for 30-45 seconds and work on balancing in this position.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Expert Tip:

To make this exercise harder, you can progress to only holding on with one hand or “hovering” both hands over the chair. You can also close your eyes to add more of a challenge. 

Ensure you always have a chair to hold on to for safety while performing these exercises. Work at your own pace. As you gain more strength and balance, adjust your hands on the chair from holding on with both hands to just one hand and using your whole hand to just your fingertips.

Resource: “The Human Balance System,” Vestibular Disorders Association, N. p., 2016. Web. 15 Nov. 2016. 

The fitness & wellness center at Twin Lakes, The Connection, is where you’ll find an expertly trained team who creates workout routines and exercises that are specifically designed for those aged 50+. The Aquatic Center includes a 75-foot heated pool, aquatic bikes, and a whirlpool.  The Connection is in Cincinnati, Ohio and is open to the community and memberships are available. For more information contact us online or give us a call at 513-247-1300.

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