If an elderly loved one has lost body strength and balance over time, then they may be at risk for a debilitating fall. A fall can lead to an extended hospital stay and can even cause negative long-term effects on you and your loved one’s quality of life. While preventing falls isn’t guaranteed, there are some home exercises that your loved one can do to help increase strength and balance.
Balance on One Leg
While holding onto someone else for support, lift one leg so it’s hovering a couple inches off the ground. Hold the position for ten seconds. Then switch legs. The goal is to be able to do this pose unassisted.
Heel-Toe Balance Distribution
Reminding your body how to properly walk is important to remaining stable with every step. For this exercise, stand tall and lean into your heels slightly so your heels gently press into the ground. Then switch your weight to the balls of your feet. Do this ten times.
This exercise is best executed facing a wall using both hands to lean into it slightly. Separate your feet so they are six inches apart so you’re sturdy. Then raise high up onto your toes. You should feel a stretch in your calf muscles. To make this harder, stand further away from the wall.
Stand sideways next to a wall. Put one palm of your hand flat against the wall. Lean into the wall to feel the stretch. Then flip over and gently press the back of your hand against the wall.
When seated on the floor or the edge of the bed, touch one shoulder with your hand so your elbow is in the air. Make large circles in the air going slowly. Then switch arms. For an extra workout, do this exercise standing and try to pull your stomach in towards your spine to strengthen your core.
Using a small soft exercise ball or small firm pillow, practice gripping as tightly as you can. Hold for three seconds, let go, and repeat. Modify this exercise by opening and closing your fingers slowly ten times.
Standing firmly in place, tuck your elbows into your sides and put your arms out at 90 degrees parallel to the ground. Raise one knee as high as you can, trying to touch the palm of your hand. Then switch sides. You should get into a rhythmic marching movement.
On the floor, belly down, stretch your arms above your head. On the count of three, raise your legs, arms, and chest off the floor as if you’re flying through the air like Superman. You should feel this stretch in your lower back.
Stand firmly with your feet in a wide stance. Take one arm up and over your head and reach towards the opposite side as if you’re trying to touch a wall next to you. Switch sides with the other arm. As an added stretch, lace your hands together behind your back, lean forward and raise your arms gently up and over your head. Come back up slowly, one vertebra at a time.
If you already have some arm strength, lean forward into a wall with a slight bend in your arms. Slowly press into a wall and push back up at your own pace. You can also strengthen your bicep muscles with light hand weights. Seated, press the weights above your head and back down so your arms are at 90 degrees.
The Santé team provides a comprehensive and compassionate range of services. If you’re interested in learning more about our home health services, call us at (480) 563-2402.