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Exercises to Prevent Falls and Enhance Stability for Seniors

Exercises to Prevent Falls and Enhance Stability for Seniors

As we age, maintaining balance and stability becomes increasingly important for preventing falls and staying active. Fortunately, this article provides effective exercises that can help seniors improve their balance, reduce the risk of falls, and embrace a lifestyle of health and independence.

Aging is not something most of us enjoy thinking about, but it is an experience that, with any luck, we will all enjoy or at least endure. As our bodies move through time, or more accurately, as time moves through our bodies, certain changes in our muscles, bones, and joints become more readily apparent in terms of how we look, feel, and perform.

These changes can have a wide-ranging impact on the quality of our lives, depending on our physical activity levels leading up to our golden years. The difference between enjoying our senior years and merely enduring them often comes down to the habits we keep leading into them.

The bad news is that a sedentary lifestyle can wreak havoc on bone density, muscle strength, and joint health. These deficiencies culminate in an increased risk of falling and, in the event of falls, an increased risk of broken bones.

The good news is that it’s never too late to take action to prevent or lessen the damage and improve our overall health and well-being. By incorporating some simple balance and strength exercises into our routines and improving our daily nutrition, we can all lessen the risk of falls and enjoy an active lifestyle well into our senior years.

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Exercises to Prevent Falls and Enhance Stability for Seniors is an original (OptimalPerformanceLiving) article.

Get a leg up on the aging process

Leg lifts, also called leg raises, are an excellent way to improve lower body strength by targeting your core muscles, hip flexors, and gluteal muscles. This exercise will improve your strength and balance and increase spine flexibility. This exercise can be modified for beginners by tucking the hands behind the lower back, bending the leg 90 degrees at the knee, and briefly tapping the heel to the floor.

Senior citizens doing exercise.

One foot in front of the other for balance and stability

Heel-to-toe walking may sound too basic to be included in a list of exercises, but it is deceptively effective in warding off functional declines in balance and stability. Moreover, as we age, we lose ankle and knee mobility and our bodies can begin to veer away from the ideal gait as a way to compensate. This tendency often sneaks up on us without our initial awareness. Rededicating our focus on proper walking form, however, is one of the simplest ways to recover and improve our strength and stability.

Make like a tree and leave weakened core muscles and foot ligaments behind

Tree Pose is a time-tested yoga pose that is sure to improve balance and strength. The pose works to stretch and strengthen the ligaments in our feet, strengthen core muscles, and fine-tune awareness of our bodies in physical space. This pose can be challenging for beginners, but fortunately, it can be modified by using a chair or practicing against a wall until proper form is achieved.

Yoga exercise.

Compound exercises and the power of lunges to make us all a little more graceful

When we lose our balance while walking, our natural instinct (in addition to feeling embarrassed) is to take a step forward or back in order to regain our footing. Lunges are the perfect exercise to improve our ability to do so. Working our quads, glutes, and hamstrings, lunges are classified as a compound exercise. Compound exercises are superior, because in addition to saving time by working multiple muscles at a time, they also improve intermuscular coordination, burn more calories, and improve overall movement efficiency.

Tai Chi and the slow dance toward healthy aging

Rather than a single exercise, tai chi is a highly accessible Chinese martial arts discipline that incorporates slow, intentional movements to boost both upper and lower body strength and flexibility. This form of exercise is sometimes likened to a kind of slow-motion dance and is key for improving proprioception – the physical awareness of space and how our bodies occupy it. This ability declines naturally with age and the practice of tai chi has been shown to improve it and therefore reduce the risk of falling in our later years. Tai chi is one of the most gentle and comprehensive approaches to gaining and maintaining physical health as we age.

Tai Chi exercise.

It’s not all about exercise:

The importance of nutrition and feeding our bodies for physical health as we age

Maintaining an active lifestyle is perhaps at its most important to our overall well-being as we age. Regular physical activity keeps our muscles strong, our joints snug and lubricated, and our balance more in tune.  But even with proper nutrition, as we age, our bodies become less naturally able to produce and maintain proper levels of enzymes needed to maintain peak performance levels. Supplementation can often be the key to bridging the gap.

Gladiator Barley, made by Boomers Forever Young, is an ideal source of an important antioxidant enzyme called Superoxide Dismutase (S.O.D.). In stabilized form, this enzyme helps to protect the body from inflammation, a process known to contribute to premature aging.  Gladiator Barley is so effective, in fact, that it helps to repair damage caused by inflammation and toxins, “faster than it can burn itself up.”

Additionally, barley has been shown to improve heart and circulatory health and contains pre-digested proteins that help to build and maintain muscle. All Boomers Forever Young products are 100 percent natural and organically grown and are vegan-friendly and GMO-free. Adding a scoop of Gladiator Barley to your morning smoothie is an easy way to slow the aging process, increase muscle and heart strength, and improve your overall health and well-being.

Big improvements begin with small adjustments

At first blush, the prospect of beginning a new health routine to regain or improve strength and stability may seem daunting, but it is important to remind ourselves that our bodies possess a remarkable capacity for transformation and improvement, even in our later years. Beginning even a basic daily routine of a few simple exercises can make a world of difference over a short period of time and significantly improve our mobility and reduce the risk of falls as we grow older. It is never too late to make positive changes and choose the path that champions more freedom and independence. Every step taken is one that brings us closer to a healthier, more empowered way of living.

Morning exercise.

For further reading:

Mayo Clinic: Healthy Lifestyle Balance Exercises

 Interim Healthcare: The Risk of Falling Increases with the Aging Process

Europe PMC author manuscript via Pub Med: Improving nutrition to support healthy aging: what are the opportunities for intervention? By Sian M. Robinson

Cleveland Clinic: Slow and Steady: The Health Benefits of Tai Chi

Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet, fitness regimen, or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your health care professional to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.

Regarding Nutritional Supplements or Other Non-Prescription Health Products: If any nutritional supplements or other non-prescription health products are mentioned in the foregoing article, any claims or statements made about them have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and such nutritional supplements or other health products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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