Strength, Balance and Circulation
Each year, more than 2 million older Americans go to the emergency room because of
fall-related injuries. A simple fall can cause a serious fracture of the arm, hand, ankle, or
hip. Balance exercises can help you prevent falls and avoid the disability that may result
from falling. Being physically active can help you continue to do the things you enjoy and
stay independent as you age. Regular exercise and physical activity can reduce the risk
of developing some diseases and disabilities that develop as people grow older. Studies
show that people with arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes benefit from regular exercise.
Exercise also helps people with high blood pressure, balance problems, or difficulty
Some Easy Exercises for Strengthening and Maintaining Balance
- Strengthen the big muscles around the thighs, arms, shoulders, and back. Try working
out with resistance bands or climb stairs to build your leg muscles.
- Stand on one foot behind a sturdy chair: holding on for balance. Hold position for up
to 10 seconds. Repeat 10-15 times. Repeat 10-15 times with other leg. Repeat 10-15 more
times with each leg.
- Balance Walk: Raise arms to sides, shoulder height. Choose a spot ahead of you and
focus on it to keep you steady as you walk. Walk in a straight line with one foot in front of
the other. As you walk, lift your back leg. Pause for 1 second before stepping forward.
- Repeat for 20 steps, alternating legs.
- Tai Chi: regular Tai Chi classes improve balance and flexibility
- Endurance exercises: (aerobic) increases your breathing and heart rate. These kinds
of activities include brisk walking, dancing, jogging, swimming, biking, and climbing
stairs or hills.
Be sure to discuss your activity level with your Health Care Provider before you start a new