Balance is defined as an even distribution of weight that allows someone to remain upright and steady. Although people of any age can have balance problems, seniors 55 or older tend to experience balance issues more frequently than younger people. In part, this is because seniors are more likely to have conditions like arthritis that restrict the joints and weaken muscles. Balance training is a type of physical therapy that can be used to help seniors, and two exercises in particular can be included in this type of therapy:
- Single leg balancing
When you’re doing balance training for seniors, it’s a good idea to start out with easier exercises. Single leg balancing is an easy and effective exercise used in many balance training plans.
The first time you do this exercise you should stand behind a chair. This will allow you to hold on to the back of the chair if you need help maintaining your balance during the exercise. Once you’re holding on to the chair, lift your right foot off the ground and balance yourself on your left leg. Hold this position for as long as you’re able to, and then switch legs. Your ultimate goal should be to balance on one leg for about one minute without holding on to the chair.
- Heel to toe walking
Walking is an excellent way to strengthen leg muscles, and stronger leg muscles offer more support when you’re balancing yourself. To help improve your balance even more, balance training for seniors often includes a type of walking called heel to toe walking.
Begin this exercise by moving to an area that offers plenty of space to walk. Once you have enough room to move around, step out with your right foot, and then place your left foot directly in front of it. This means the toes of your right foot should be touching the heel of your left foot. Take another step to place your right foot in front of your left foot, and continue repeating this until you’ve taken about 20 steps. If you need to, you can use a cane or walker to help you maintain your balance when you first start doing this exercise. However, you should try to work toward completing all 20 steps without assistance.
Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation offers balance training for seniors
If you live in New Jersey and you’re looking for a therapy team that offers balance training for seniors, Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation can help. To start your training, we’ll have you come in to one of our four clinics for a complimentary screening. Our team will then use the information gathered in your screening to build you personalized balance training program, and this program is intended to offer you benefits such as:
- Increased muscle strength
- Improved ability to perform routine activities
- Decreased risk of falls
Are you ready to start improving your balance with our help? Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.