Everyday Activities to Improve Balance and Prevent Falls

Image of a happy senior practicing easy and safe exercises to help prevent falls.

As we age, we tend to lose strength, flexibility and balance, which puts us at a much higher risk of falling. According to the CDC, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries annually. A fear of falling is a Catch-22 that can prevent older adults from engaging in the physical activity that can improve balance and prevent falls.

Fortunately, exercising doesn’t have to consist of high-cardio workouts that will stress the body. Instead, there are much easier, safer and less intense exercises for seniors that align perfectly with everyday activities.

Stand on One Leg

One of the most basic exercises involves balancing on one leg. Simply shift your weight onto one foot while raising the other foot slightly off the floor. Hold the position for up to a minute before switching legs and repeating. You can make it more challenging by closing your eyes, moving your arms, swinging your non-standing leg or tilting your head from side to side. Or try counting backwards while balancing.

Climb the Stairs

The process of climbing stairs means taking one step after another and having to balance when standing on one leg. Increasing the ability to balance by climbing stairs can improve balance when walking on the ground. It also improves flexibility, making you less susceptible to hip, ankle and knee injuries. Make sure to start with just a few steps and hold both railings to avoid accidents. Progressively take more steps and rely less on the railings as you feel comfortable.
Preserving balance isn’t the only benefit of doing this everyday exercise; climbing the stairs every day also builds lower body strength, improves heart health, maintains mobility and improves bone density.

Go for a Walk

Believe it or not, going on a brief stroll can do wonders for preserving balance as you age. Walking has similar benefits as climbing the stairs, building lower body strength, and improving balance and coordination. Walking is a simple yet effective exercise that keeps you in shape and even lowers your blood pressure.

Walking regularly also prevents osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, hip fractures and other injuries that can lead to falls.

As you become more stable with walking on even surfaces, try walking on uneven surfaces such as gravel, grass, sand, etc., to further improve your balance and prepare yourself for all types of surfaces to avoid falls. Remember to take things slowly.

Balance Walk

This activity is much like walking but focuses more on improving your balance rather than exercising. Imagine someone walking on a tightrope and how balanced they must be; this exercise will do the same for you as you are practicing supporting yourself on one leg at a time. Here is a quick tutorial on how to balance walk.

  • Imagine a straight line when you are walking.
  • Put one foot in front of the other, and make sure they don’t touch each other.
  • Walk forward on that imaginary straight line, heel to toe, and make sure to take one step at a time.

To be safe, walk with a stable object near you. Walk along a wall, a counter or even someone to guide you so you can grab onto them for support if you lose balance.

Other activities such as yoga, tai chi and dance can also improve balance. The social aspect of such group activities can be tremendously motivating for seniors.

Whether you choose to do balance building exercises alone or in a group, you will take a positive step forward in reducing your risk of falls.


For more fall prevention tips, download SYNERGY HomeCare’s free Fall Prevention Guide.

SYNERGY HomeCare offers no obligation home assessments. Find a location near you or Contact us to learn how we can help identify fall risks and make recommendations to create a safer home environment.

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