Establishing a healthy lifestyle starts with making healthy habits. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1️⃣ Start small: Choose one habit to focus on at a time. Once it becomes part of your routine, add another.
2️⃣ Consistency is key: Stick to your routine even when you don't feel like it. The more consistent you are, the easier it will become. Try something consistently 5 days a week for 30 days.
3️⃣ Be accountable: Find a workout buddy or coach to help keep you on track.
At inbalance FITNESS, we provide personal training and fitness coaching to help you establish healthy habits and achieve your fitness goals.
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As you get older, your balance may not be as good as it used to be. This can affect your ability to do everyday activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, or dancing. It can also increase your risk of falling and injuring yourself.
Balance exercises are an important part of your fitness routine, especially as you age. They can help you improve your stability, coordination, and posture. They can also strengthen your core muscles, which support your spine and pelvis. And they can boost your confidence and well-being, as you feel more independent and mobile.
In this post, we will share some of the benefits of balance exercises for seniors, and show you some simple moves you can try at home. You don't need any special equipment or a lot of space to do them. All you need is a chair for support, and a yoga mat for comfort.
Benefits of Balance Exercises for Seniors
Balance exercises can help you:
- Prevent falls and injuries. Falls are a leading cause of injury and death among older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of four people aged 65 and older falls each year. Balance exercises can help you improve your reaction time, reduce your fear of falling, and increase your ability to recover from a loss of balance.
- Improve your mobility and function. Balance exercises can help you maintain or improve your ability to perform daily tasks, such as getting out of bed, dressing, bathing, cooking, or shopping. They can also help you enjoy recreational activities, such as gardening, golfing, or dancing.
- Enhance your brain health. Balance exercises can stimulate your brain and improve your cognitive function. They can also reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, which are associated with impaired balance and gait.
- Support your mental health. Balance exercises can boost your mood and self-esteem, as you feel more capable and confident. They can also reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, which are common among older adults.
Balance Exercises for Seniors: 3 Moves to Try
Here are some balance exercises you can do at home. You can do them while wearing shoes or barefoot. Shoes may give you more grip and stability, while being barefoot can help strengthen the muscles that stabilize your feet.
Use a chair for support if you need it. Modify the poses as much as you need. Over time, you will increase your balance and be able to move onto more difficult variations and exercises.
Start with a simple warm-up, such as marching in place or doing some shoulder rolls. Then try these 11 moves:
1. Rock the boat
![Rock the boat](https://www.healthline.com/hlcmsresource/images/healthline_content/health/exercise-fitness/balance-exercises-for-seniors/rock-the-boat.jpg)
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Lift your arms and extend them out to the sides.
Lift your left foot off the floor and bend your knee to bring your heel toward your bottom.
Hold this position for up to 30 seconds.
Then do the opposite side.
Do each side 3 times.
2. Weight shifts
Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
Shift your weight onto your right foot.
Raise your left foot.
Hold this position for up to 30 seconds.
Then do the opposite side.
Do each side 3 times.
3. Tightrope walk
This simple exercise improves balance, posture, and core strength.
Lift your arms and extend them out to the sides.
Walk in a straight line while focusing your gaze on a fixed point in the distance.
Place one foot directly in front of the other with each step.
Take 10 steps forward, then turn around and walk back.
Repeat 3 times.
Recovery time after moderate to intense exercise is essential to allow the body to repair and adapt to the stress of exercise. The amount of recovery time needed depends on the intensity and duration of the exercise, as well as an individual's fitness level and training goals.
For moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming, it is recommended to have at least one day of rest or low-intensity exercise between sessions. This allows the body to recover and adapt to the stress of exercise, reducing the risk of injury and improving performance in subsequent sessions.
For intense exercise, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or heavy weightlifting, it is recommended to have two or more days of rest or low-intensity exercise between sessions. This allows the body to fully recover and repair any damage caused by the exercise, reducing the risk of injury and improving performance in subsequent sessions.
It is important to note that recovery time also depends on an individual's fitness level and training goals. Someone who is just starting an exercise program may need more recovery time than someone who is more fit and accustomed to intense exercise. Similarly, athletes or individuals training for a specific event may need to adjust their recovery time to optimize their performance.
In general, listen to your body and allow for adequate recovery time after exercise. If you feel excessively sore, fatigued, or have any pain or discomfort, it may be a sign that you need more recovery time. Consult with a healthcare provider or a certified exercise professional to create an individualized exercise plan and determine the appropriate recovery time for your specific needs.
Let's talk about the recommended exercise duration, intensity, and frequency from the top organizations in health and fitness. In the fitness industry we call it FITT (frequeny, intensity, time and type).
Strength training is recommended at least two days per week, targeting all major muscle groups. The ACSM recommends 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions for each exercise, with a weight that is challenging but can be completed with proper form. Note that oftentimes, higher weight and lower reps will be used for improving strength and power, while lower weight and higher reps typically can improve muscle endurance.
For cardiovascular exercise, the ACSM recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week, spread throughout the week. The ACE also recommends a similar duration of exercise, with a target heart rate zone of 50-85% of the individual's maximum heart rate.
Stretching exercises are also recommended, preferably after a warm-up and at the end of a workout. The ACSM recommends holding each stretch for 10-30 seconds, repeating each stretch two to four times. Stretching can improve flexibility and range of motion, reduce risk of injury, and improve posture.
As with any new endeavor, go slow. Focus on getting the form right first, then you can increase intensity. The goal is establishing a lifestyle change that follows you throughout your life. So consistency is key.
It is important to note that the exercise recommendations may vary depending on an individual's age, health status, and fitness level. Therefore, it is recommended to consult a healthcare provider or a certified exercise professional to create an individualized exercise plan.
Strength training has been proven to provide numerous benefits for older adults. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), strength training can help increase muscle mass and bone density, improve joint flexibility, balance and stability, reduce the risk of falls, and enhance overall functional ability. Additionally, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends strength training as a way to combat age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia.
Strength training also has a positive effect on chronic conditions that are common in older adults. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), strength training can help lower blood pressure, improve blood glucose levels, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Moreover, strength training can help manage symptoms of arthritis, osteoporosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
To achieve these benefits, older adults can perform strength training exercises using free weights, resistance bands, machines, or bodyweight. It is important for older adults to work with a certified personal trainer to ensure proper form and technique, and to develop an individualized strength training program that meets their specific needs and abilities.
In conclusion, strength training is a safe and effective way for older adults to improve their health and well-being. As stated by NASM, ACSM, and ACE, strength training can help increase muscle mass and bone density, improve joint flexibility, balance, and stability, reduce the risk of falls, and enhance overall functional ability. It can also help manage chronic conditions commonly found in older adults. Therefore, older adults should prioritize strength training in their exercise routine to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.