Do you know how important it is for our elders to do physical exercise? And, most importantly Why Should Senior Citizens Perform Balance Exercises?
Well, according to data from the WHO [World Health Organization],
- It is vital to avoid worsening of the muscular and cardiorespiratory system;
- To significantly improve bone density and functional health;
- To combat diseases such as hypertension, congestive heart failure or diabetes,
- To fight against the feeling of loneliness of our elders.
The WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate or 75 of intensive training activity per week.
As we age, changes occur in our body that will condition, among other aspects, the regulation of posture and balance. Two fundamental factors to avoid risk of falls. How can we prevent them?
We can prevent these common incidents through a regular exercise program that combines balance, stability, control, and body awareness.
There are many reasons why it is common for older adults to stay at home more and more. It may be due to reduced mobility or simply for pleasure. However, this should not be an excuse to stop moving.
In the same way, the doctor explains that the physical activity carried out by people over 65 years of age must be associated with some specific action in daily life, such as Strengthening the Lower Extremity (LES) to prevent the risk of falls or that seek to enhance balance and coordination, such as standing and sitting, as well as walking and moving.
As long as you can do it, you should always avoid making the exercise painful, and you should never hold your breath.
Types of Exercises
- Resistance or aerobic exercises: this type of exercise is characterized by the fact that they are regular exercises that must be repeated for a while and maintain a certain intensity, like aerobic dancing.
- Strengthening or bodybuilding exercise: these exercises enhance the muscles and reinforce them. They help improve metabolism, build stronger bones and control diabetes and cholesterol. We can include arm lifts with or without handheld weights, calf stretches, leg exercises, shoulder flexion, stretching biceps, triceps, knee, hip, and plantar flexion.
- Balance exercises: these are slow exercises that seek to maintain the position. Tai-Chi is a healthy discipline for the elderly since it combines resistance and simple balance exercises. These simple exercises help improve balance, thus decreasing the likelihood of falls.
Exercise for balance includes: walking along a straight line, walking on your toes or heels, going up or downstairs, balancing on one foot, etc.
- Flexibility exercises: These slow stretching exercises aim to improve the significant muscle groups, joints and range of motion. However, you have to be very careful because, with age, you lose flexibility and elasticity, and it is easy to hurt yourself. It is better to start small. The customary practice of regular exercise will favor the improvement of the muscles.
We can include respective exercise: stretching of the thigh tendons, calf, chest, ankles, triceps, quadriceps, wrist, shoulder, hip, and back rotations.
Why Should Senior Citizens Perform Balance Exercises? Why Are They Important?
Balance is part of the functional capacity of a human being. It is used at all times in daily life, and, like most skills, it is necessary to work on it and maintain it.
As we get older, it is essential to do balancing exercises since alterations can arise in our body and even chronic diseases that can affect our balance, such as:
- Alterations in the ear can cause dizziness and loss of balance.
- Different vision problems such as cataracts, macular degeneration, or glaucoma influence our ability to maintain balance.
- nervous system disorders
- Loss of muscle strength.
What Benefits Does Physical Activities Bring to The Elderly?
Community-dwelling Older adults become more dependent as they age. And as a result of aging, the body begins to deteriorate and affects the cognitive function if we do not establish a habit of practicing physical activity almost every day. To have good health, it is recommended to perform 30 minutes of physical exercise a day, five days a week. Although we have to consider each person’s situation, and if half an hour is a long time, it is possible to consider doing 10-minute sessions three times a day.
Physical Fitness in older people favor mobility, improves blood flow and prevent the appearance of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome caused by a sedentary lifestyle. As we have seen previously, the additional health benefits of exercise, such as improving at an emotional and mental level since physical workout makes them feel better and improves their quality of life. On many occasions, physical activity postpones the brain’s aging and deterioration of motor function to help prevent chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s or senile dementia.
What Are Different Balance Exercises for Old People?
If you are an older adult or care for someone, we advise you to consider the exercise recommendations presented below. These must be included in the weekly activity or routine and performed under the supervision of a professional in the area to avoid any risk of injury or significant problem. Healthy adults with no chronic conditions can simply practice moderate exercises without an expert opinion.
1. Common Gait
Everyday brisk walking is not only an exercise to strengthen dynamic balance in the elderly but also works to diagnose how the person is. For obvious reasons, it does help define how this capacity is and what weaknesses the person has. It is done as follows:
- Draw a straight line on a flat surface.
- Typically perform 20 steps -as the person usually walks-.
- Depending on the older person’s condition, it can be 20 steps out and 20 steps back.
2. Static Lift
It is the turn of the static balance, which is just as important as the dynamic one. The first exercise is to stimulate the ability is the leg lift in place. The steps are the following:
- Get a suitable surface to support your hands, it can be a chair or another similar element, but it should not be taller than the person who will perform the exercise.
- Stand facing the back of the chair and rest both hands on it.
- Raise your right leg and hold the place for approximately 10 seconds. When executing the exercise, it is advisable to support only the hand opposite to the leg that is raised.
3. Lateral Displacements
In addition to stimulating dynamic balance, side shifts can also help strengthen underused muscles, such as the abductors. The technique is this:
- Draw a straight line on the ground for reference.
- Carry out lateral displacements by raising the leg as high as possible.
- Execute at least 20 steps with each leg.
4. Static Gait
The static walking exercise acts like you are walking without moving forward. This helps to stimulate the muscles of the legs and the core area. Thus, it can also be applied to people with little to no mobility.
- Have a comfortable chair where your back is straight and your feet can be fully supported.
- Resting your hands on your thighs or sides depends on each person’s comfort.
- Raise your legs alternately. Here it would help if you simulated walking and harmoniously elevated each limb.
- Complete at least 20 steps, 10 with each leg.
What Other Exercises Should Senior Citizens Perform
Falls are one of the leading causes of emergencies like broken bones, in the elderly population —about 30% of the people over 65 fall within a year. Sometimes a fall can lead to fractures (especially hip), head injury and poor health issues. Doing light exercises for older adults focused on keeping your balance maintains your physical fitness and helps you stay on your feet when you trip accidentally.
1. Flamingo Posture
- We will start with the feet together, and the arms at the sides stretched and relaxed. If necessary, we can use a chair for external support.
- Second, we will slightly lift one foot off the ground and balance on the other leg. We must maintain this position for approximately 10 seconds.
- We will repeat the same place balancing on the opposite leg.
- As far as possible, these regular workouts should be complemented with long walks.
2. Standing On One foot
This exercise is similar to flamingo but less dangerous. It helps you find your center of gravity which is essential to maintain balance.
- You have to stand sideways to the right of the back of a chair, one that is very stable and heavy.
- Raise the left foot and balance with the right foot as long as possible, always holding onto the chair with the right hand.
- Lower the left foot and lift the right foot alternately. After a set of 10, turn and repeat with the chair to the left.
- The goal is to stand on one foot without holding onto the chair for one minute.
3. Pointe Foot
Although classical dance is not her forte, this exercise imitates the dancers’ movement. It is about strengthening the calf muscles, thighs, and buttocks along with improving balance, precisely the two most vital points of ballet dancers.
- Stand next to or behind a high chair or table and place your hands on the surface for support.
- Push your toes up as high as possible, then return your whole foot to the ground. Repeat about 15 times.
4. Side Leg Raise
It is a straightforward exercise:
- We will stand behind a chair with one or both hands resting on it.
- We will raise one leg energetically to the side. We will repeat this movement about ten times.
- We will do the same action with the other leg.
Aspects of being taken into account during the execution of the exercises
- Concentration (the place of training should facilitate it).
- Breathing is controlled and coordinated with movement.
- Emphasis on the work of the core to perform the regular exercise.
- The logical progression of exercises. If there is one that doesn’t come out, I don’t move on to the next one if it’s more complicated.
It is also advisable to make them your weekly activity or atleast dedicate one day a week to these back stretches or contact a professional for an individual patient.
Thus, if you prefer to do daily activities in the company, you can plan casual walking at a brisk pace, with moderate intensity. Just choose the right type of activity, tailor the duration of activity, keeping in mind your health issues and basic exercise principles. Take breaks during activities, if needed. Exercising is also very healthy because it activates the major muscle group of the lower body, promotes social relationships and happiness in adult age. Other fun and effective workouts may include sports like tennis, golf, running and cycling, unless you practice them regularly. Some aquatic exercises like swimming really helps in the toning of muscles.
It is best to plan the week by combining exercises from all groups. Start little by little and as we notice that our body accepts more effort, increase the time or the number of activities.
The World Health Organization says that falls are the number one cause of injury. Fatal in older adults and just tripping and losing balance can be avoided in most cases with physical exercises.
So, even with all this scientific, disease-oriented evidence, the most important thing is that fitness along with a healthy diet is good for your body and mind; it helps you feel better to continue doing what you love for much longer.
Thus, exercise means to improve your health status, not to harm you.
So get moving with these easy exercises for seniors that are also very safe for any physical condition.
1. What happens to your balance as you age?
During older adulthood, balance becomes more relevant due to muscle mass, bone, and joint deterioration. This increases the probability of collapses, one of the most pertinent problems at this phase of life.
2. What causes balance problems in old age?
The main symptoms of loss of balance are lack of stability, vertigo or a sensation of movement or spinning, and dizziness.
3. How can seniors improve their balance?
Both joints and muscles require rest and recovery. On the other hand, joint activation and the corresponding muscle-strengthening activities should not be lacking before each session.
4. At what age does your balance decline?
To people over 60 years of age who actively participate in society, with a high degree of autonomy, without functional limitation or disability. That is to say, we can affirm that they are in the vital stage before when the falls mentioned above occur.
Approximately 30% of individuals over the age of 65 fall each year; 5% have significant injuries such as fractures, 2% require hospitalization, and of these only, 50% survive a year after the fall.
5. What is vitamin good for balance?
Vitamin B12 is good for balance.
We hope that we were able to answer your question about Why Should Senior Citizens Perform simple Balance Exercises. Drop your comment about your favourite exercise.