Older people often suffer from limited strength and mobility that makes regular exercise impossible. However, balance exercises can be done at home without using any equipment, and they're low impact enough for most seniors to handle them. Common balance exercises for the elderly include side leg raises and standing on one foot.
Here are just five reasons why proper aged care should involve regular balance exercises.
1. Prevents Falls
The most important reason for seniors to perform balance exercises is to prevent the likelihood of falling. When you suffer from limited mobility, anything from carrying groceries to reaching for a high shelf can cause you to fall, and elderly people are more at risk of injury when they take a tumble. By performing regular balance exercises, seniors can reduce their risk of falling. Beyond better balance, reaction times and coordination should also improve.
2. Strengthens the Body
Balance exercises might not involve lifting barbells or performing press-ups, but they're still a good way to maintain and even build a little muscle. Older people tend not to use their muscles as much, which means those muscles can begin to waste away. This makes it harder to move around and decreases support around the joints. Balance exercises also provide some resistance, so they can help strengthen bones to prevent fractures if an accident ever does take place.
3. Improves Mobility
When you perform balance exercises, you strength the ligaments surrounding joints and stretch out the muscles. As such, older people often find their mobility increasing as they continue to go through those exercises. They may suddenly find it easier to get up, reach a high shelf or take a short walk.
4. Burns Calories
Balance exercises doesn't burn calories like running, cycling, or rowing, but it burns more than sitting doing nothing, especially as people grow stronger muscles. Balance exercises can become part of an older person's healthy lifestyle. By burning calories, older people can keep off excess weight, which often leads to further health problems and reduced mobility.
5. Improves Circulation
You need to move around and stay standing for relatively long periods when you perform balance exercises. When your body is upright and active, circulation is improved, which helps carry oxygen around the body and remove waste products. Older people often suffer from poor circulation related to limited mobility, and balance exercises are a great way to combat that issue.