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August 22, 2012

Age in Place: More Home Exercises for Improving Balance

Today, we continue our series on balancing exercises that you can practice in your home to help prevent falls. When performing balancing exercises, always keep a sturdy support handy to prevent inadvertent tumbles. For added safety, you may want to practice with someone else present until you become proficient. To reduce the risk of falling, stand as straight as possible to keep your center of gravity over your ankles. As you become proficient in performing these exercises, you can increase the difficulty level by looking up and around the room instead of at your feet.

Figure Eight.

Place two objects on the floor 3 feet apart. Walk around each object in a figure eight pattern. Repeat 10 times. This exercise may make you dizzy, so start slowly and practice with a helper present. As you improve, use a cane for support instead of your helper's hand.


Heel to Toe.

Using blue painter's tape, which is easy to remove and won't damage surfaces, lay a tape line 10 feet long on the floor. Place your tape line parallel to a wall or counter for support. Stepping heel to toe, walk the length of the line, turn and return. Repeat the circuit five times.


Dynamic Walking.

As you become more confident about your balance, practice turning your head and scanning the room from left to right and back again as you walk. Being able to search for possible tripping hazards while you’re moving can help reduce falling risks. 



Facing a countertop or wall (with your hands on the counter or wall for support as needed), step sideways in 1 direction with your toes pointed straight ahead until you reach the end of the wall or counter. Then, return in the other direction. 


For more tips on aging successfully at home, download our free guide here


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