Better Balance Means Better Quality of Life, A.G. Rhodes

For a senior citizen who has suffered a fall, the idea of exercise can be quite frightening. However, there are many simple balance exercises that can help to rebuild confidence, gain strength and prevent another fall.

Seated Exercises

From a chair, seniors can engage in some fancy footwork to

  • improve circulation
  • increase blood flow
  • rebuild awareness of where their weight lives over their feet

Simple exercises such as foot raise with the foot flexed, and toes up, can stretch the back of the leg and flex the quad. From this position, pointing the toe will flex the calf and stretch the top of the foot. This can be done slowly to start, then increase the time to build strength.

The upper body can also get a workout from a chair. Small weights can be used to do a simple overhead press to start. Holding a weight with both hands and lifting from the knees to shoulder height is a simple way to engage the core. Finally, shadow boxing from a chair is a great way to build up quick movements of the hands and arms; such a motion can prevent a stumble from becoming a fall.

Standing Exercises with a Chair for Balance

Part of senior therapy and rehabilitation is working with what’s available. If your loved one has lost strength and confidence due to a fall, there are many exercise that can be done with a hand on a chair for support.

To start, they can start simply by increasing their standing strength. If they can’t get out of a standard chair from a seated position, make sure they have a chair that is of appropriate height. That means that their bottom cannot be so low that their knees are bent at more than 90 degrees.

From this position, a simple therapy routine can be building up the strength to stand without using their hands. If this is not possible from the seated position, start in a chair with arms and practice standing with as little pressure on the arms as possible.

Once standing, there are many exercises that can be done from behind the chair. Again, height matters. A chair that is at least as tall as the top of the pelvis is critical. Simple moves, such as slow leg extensions to the back, can build back and core strength.