Older woman leaning with arm overhear, stretching

From Sharp Health News, a publication of Sharp HealthCare

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of five falls causes a serious injury, which is why balance exercises are important, especially as we age.

Here are three easy exercises you can do almost anywhere to improve balance and strength:

  1. Standing. It seems basic, but this drill helps you feel what is going on below your knees.
    • Equipment needed: None
    • Directions: 
      • Stand feet shoulder-width apart at your kitchen countertop.
      •  Lightly place both hands on the countertop.
      • Practice shifting your weight from one foot to the other for 30 seconds.
      • Relax and repeat two to three times daily.
      • Use your hands only if you feel unstable. Tune in and focus on where you feel your weight is shifting. You should feel your weight evenly distributed between the ball and heel of the foot.
  2. Get up and go. This exercise helps build lower limb strength while testing your balance.
    • Equipment needed: A chair and a “marker” (an object, such as a cone, or another chair).
    • Directions:
      • Start by placing your marker about 10 feet away from your chair.
      • Sit in the chair.
      • Stand up using minimal assistance from your arms and hands.
      • Walk around the target marker and sit back down.
      • Repeat 10 laps (alternating which way you turn around the marker), three times daily.
  3. Sit to stand. This exercise builds strength through the lower extremities for a solid foundation.
    • Equipment needed: A chair.
    • Directions: 
      • Start in a seated position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Angle your toes outward slightly and position your arms however they are most comfortable andhelp you balance. (Straight out, in front, is the most common position for this exercise.)
      • Sit in the chair.
      • Shift your weight onto your feet from your bottom.
      • Stand tall by pushing evenly through your feet.
      • Control your way down by pushing your bottom back while maintaining even pressure through your feet.
      • Complete four rounds of 15 every other day.

The VEBA Resource Center offers Mat Pilates. Mat Pilates is a training program of repetitive exercises performed on a mat to promote strength, stability and flexibility. It includes core exercises, such as planks, to build your muscles and core strength. This class allows for modifications, so all levels are welcome! Check out our calendar to sign up for an upcoming class.