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Improve or Maintain Balance: Exercises for Seniors

As we grow older, it is important to acknowledge the changes our bodies are going through and to make changes in our daily routine that will allow us to preserve our health as we age. One of the best ways to maintain our physical capabilities well into our golden years, and to reduce our risk for falls, is to participate in regular exercises which focus on balance. Summit Home Care Assistance offers some excellent examples of exercises from which most able-bodied seniors, and even many who suffer from limited mobility, can expect to see some benefits.

  • Yoga. Yoga is best known for improving flexibility, but through the variety of one-legged standing poses, participants also improve proprioception (your sense of where your body parts are in space and in relation to each other), strength in the working leg and overall balance.
  • Tai chi. Tai chi is a great way for seniors to work on their range of joint motion, proprioception and balance. For many practitioners, the fluid movements also produce a calming effect which can relax jangled nerves as well as stiff muscles and joints, thereby increasing flexibility.
  • Pilates. Pilates is embraced by competitive athletes and the fitness industry as a whole for providing a challenging core workout, but you need not be in top physical condition to reap the benefits. Since most bodily movement begins in the core and spine and projects outward to the extremities, Pilates exercises are a great way for seniors to work on functional movement and ultimately reduce their fall risk.
  • Barre. Like Pilates, Barre classes generally focus on exercises which strengthen the abdominal muscles, but they do so with an interesting twist: The exercises are virtually the same as those practiced by professional ballerinas, and they even incorporate the same type of ballet “barre” that dancers use for their warm-up exercises. Done regularly, these exercises improve balance by strengthening muscles in the abdomen and lower extremities in a fun, dance-oriented environment. Great for seniors willing to try new things.

Whether you are new to regular exercise or an exercise enthusiast who is interested in improving or maintaining physical mobility for activities of daily living, any of the above exercises is a smart way to do so, while keeping exercise fun. As the Summit live-in care specialists, we always encourage clients to participate in these exercises as well as others that focus on balance. Doing so will keep you fit and healthy and allow you to maintain your active lifestyle into your 60s, 70s and beyond.

For more information about in-home care services provided by Home Care Assistance of Summit, contact a Care Manager at 908.450.9400 and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.