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Fall Prevention: Balance and Stretching Exercises for Seniors

Triangle Region / 28 Feb 2024

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by EmergeOrtho
Fall Prevention: Balance and Stretching Exercises for Seniors

With age comes wisdom, experience, and, unfortunately, a greater risk of falls. According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults. One out of four seniors will experience a fall every year. However, seniors can reduce their risk of falls and injuries by improving overall senior fitness and functional ability by focusing on balance, mobility, and stretching exercises for seniors.

Understanding the Risks of Falls for Seniors

As people age, their bodies undergo several changes that can affect their balance and coordination. Age-related changes in muscle mass, bone density, and sensory function can contribute to losing balance. Additionally, health conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke can affect mobility and increase fall risk.

The consequences of falls can be severe. Falls can cause fractures, head injuries, and hip fractures, requiring surgery and extensive rehabilitation. They can also lead to a fear of falling, social isolation, and depression. Fortunately, balance, mobility, and stretching exercises can reduce fall risk.

Types of Balance, Mobility, and Stretching Exercises for Seniors

Balance, mobility, and stretching exercises are vital for maintaining physical function and reducing the risk of falls in seniors. Senior-specific exercises can improve mobility and increase strength and stability. Different types of balance, mobility, and stretching exercises for seniors can be incorporated into a daily routine.

Standing Senior Balance Exercises

Standing balance exercises are performed on a stable surface. These senior balance exercises may improve balance, stability, and coordination. Here are some of the best exercises for balance for seniors to prevent falls:

  1. One-legged Stand: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold onto a stable surface for support. Lift one leg off the ground and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  2. Tandem Stand: Stand with feet in a heel-to-toe position, with one foot just in front of the other. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch feet.
  3. Heel-toe Walk: Walk in a straight line, placing the heel of one foot directly in front of the toe of the other foot.
  4. Flamingo Stand: Stand on one foot with the other leg lifted behind you. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

Mobility Exercises for Seniors

Mobility exercises may help improve a person’s range of motion and flexibility. Mobility exercises aim to increase joint mobility, muscle strength, and balance. Here are some examples of mobility stretches:

  1. Hip Circles: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on your hips. Slowly rotate your hips in a circular motion, clockwise and counterclockwise.
  2. Ankle Bounces: Stand with feet hip-width apart and bounce on the balls of your feet, lifting your heels up and down slightly.
  3. Trunk Twist: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Twist your torso to one side, reaching your opposite arm across your body. Hold for a few seconds and then twist to the other side.
  4. Seated Leg Lifts: Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair with your feet flat. Lift one leg, extend it before you, and lower it.

Stretching for Seniors

A senior couple works on mobility stretches to build strength that helps reduce the chance of a fall.Stretching exercises may help increase flexibility and range of motion, reducing joint pain and stiffness. Here are some examples of stretching exercises for beginners as well as stretching for seniors to prevent falls:

  1. Standing Quad Stretch: With feet shoulder-width apart, bend your right knee, bring your right heel toward your buttocks, and grab your right ankle with your right hand to pull your heel toward your buttocks until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat with your left leg.
  2. Toe Taps: Stand facing a step or low platform. Using alternating feet, tap your foot up onto the step. Tap the other foot onto the step and alternate with both feet for 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Standing Hamstring Stretch: Starting by standing upright, extend one foot forward with toes pointed forward. Hinge forward at the hips until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
  4. Calf Stretch: Stand before a wall with your hands on the wall for balance. Step back with your right foot, bend your left knee, and lean toward the wall to stretch your calf. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.

Incorporating these exercises into a daily routine can help seniors improve their physical function and reduce fall risk. Exercises should be performed comfortably and safely, and seniors should consult their healthcare providers before starting new routines. Seniors may also work with a certified personal trainer or physical therapist to develop a program tailored to their needs.

Emerge Stronger. Healthier. Better.

EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region is dedicated to improving the quality of life for seniors by offering customized solutions to prevent falls. By working with skilled professionals specializing in balance and stretching exercises, seniors can improve their mobility, agility, and overall balance, reducing the risk of falls.

To meet with one of our specialists, we encourage you to schedule an appointment, request an appointment, or call us at any time at (919) 220-5255.

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