Most of us take the act of standing upright on our feet for granted. However, as we age, maintaining good balance can become increasingly difficult. Older adults need to take steps to prevent falls and stay active. A key component of improving balance is strengthening the muscles that support our posture and stability. But who says exercise can’t be enjoyable?
Here are five fun and effective ways for seniors to strengthen muscles and improve balance:
1. Yoga and Tai Chi.
Yoga and Tai Chi are ancient practices that blend slow, controlled movements with deep breathing and mindfulness. These activities engage multiple muscle groups while focusing on stability and flexibility. Poses like the tree pose in yoga and the one-legged stance in Tai Chi challenge balance and build muscle strength in the lower body. Seniors can attend classes tailored to their fitness levels or follow along with instructional videos at home.
“A recent review of studies found Tai Chi to be effective for fall prevention short-term in older adults,” reports Osteoporosis Canada, “In fact, it can reduce the rate of falls by almost 50% during the first year that people are practicing Tai Chi. Research has also shown that Tai Chi may improve balance, which is an important part of reducing the risk of falling. People who practice Tai Chi regularly do better on balance tests and their bodies sway less when they are standing.”
2. Resistance bands.
Resistance bands are versatile tools that can be used to target various muscle groups. Seniors can use bands to perform exercises that challenge their balance and build muscle strength simultaneously. Leg lifts, arm raises and seated rows are just a few examples of exercises that can be done with resistance bands. These bands come in different resistance levels, making it easy to customize workouts to individual fitness levels.
Dancing is a joyful way to improve balance and muscle strength. Whether it’s ballroom, salsa or line dancing, moving to music engages muscles and enhances coordination. Dancing also stimulates cognitive functions as you learn and remember steps. It is a holistic workout for the body and mind. Consider joining a dance class or simply having a dance party in the living room!
“Senior dance classes, such as ballroom dancing and Zumba (and dancing in general), reduce falls by 31% and the risk of falling by 37% for older adults,” informs Julianna McLeod of All Seniors Care, “The balance training from dancing also helps a person react faster to prevent a fall should they lose control while walking.”
4. Water aerobics.
Water aerobics is a low-impact exercise option that takes advantage of the natural resistance provided by water. It’s gentle on joints while offering an effective way to strengthen muscles and improve balance. Seniors can participate in water aerobics classes held in community pools or follow guided routines in shallow water. The buoyancy of water provides support, making it an ideal option for individuals with mobility challenges.
5. Walking and hiking.
Walking is a simple yet effective way to build leg muscles and enhance balance. Seniors can take leisurely walks in their neighbourhoods or explore nearby trails and parks. Hiking on uneven terrain further challenges balance and strengthens muscles. To make it even more enjoyable, consider inviting a friend or joining a walking group to stay motivated and engaged.
At LifeCare Mobility Solutions, we offer a wide variety of home bathroom modifications and mobility solutions to bolster fall prevention in the home. To learn more, please don’t hesitate to call us at 416-267-9800 or email us at email@example.com. You may also contact us by filling out the form on our Contact page!