There are luckily many types of balance support products as well as balance exercises for the elderly that can help them to get better balance and stability, especially as they get older.
Before looking balancing equipment and balance exercises for the elderly, we need to realise that you may need a major shift in your mindset first.
There are thousands of seniors who vehemently refuse to use walking canes or braces. They feel that it makes them look handicapped or worse… like an old person.
Getting old is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. This is especially so for people who led active lives and slowly find that as they age, their strength and speed is diminishing. This can be depressing to say the least.
They feel like it’s an insult and a sign of helplessness to use balancing equipment to help their stability, as they need to appear strong and independent, so would rather endure the struggle.
The truth of the matter is that a walking cane is not a sign of weakness. You cannot afford to have this mindset. Walking aids are designed to help you. Using one effectively and helping yourself is a sign of strength and independence.
If you need balancing equipment, get it… and use it. Never ever regret growing old because it is a privilege denied to so many.
The best person to speak to in regards to using walking aids will be your doctor. If your problem is due to a lack of strength, you could make your muscles stronger and the problem would probably resolve itself.
However, if the issue is due to something else that can’t beresolved and your only option is a walking cane, then you will definitely need to get one. Your doctor will be able to tell the difference and let you know if you really need a cane or not. Of course, ultimately, the choice will be yours.
Now let’s look at the different types of balancing equipment and walking aids. If you would like to find out any more information on them or other devices, simply click on the link, or the picture.
Walking canes are usually made of aluminum with one end being a handle and the other having a rubber tip. Some walking canes are adjustable (about 33 to 37 inches) and some are foldable for convenience. When choosing a cane, make sure it is sturdy, yet lightweight and easy to carry. The one below is a lovely example of a ladies cane and is very attractive.
- This walking cane on the left is lightweight and sturdy with an offset shape that provides excellent support for the wrist. Weighs only 1 pound with a 300 pound weight capacity.
- Handle height adjustable from 30″-39″ (approximate user height 4’11” – 6’4″).
- Chip and fade resistant designer style, comes with a soft foam grip which is comfortable for the hands.
- Locking silencer keeps the cane safe and prevents rattle.
- Comes with convenient carry strap and long lasting slip resistant rubber tip
These provide more support and balance than canes. However, there is a certain social stigma to using these and many older people prefer walking canes because they’re less obvious.
Seniors who are weaker and unable to stand for long would be best off using walkers.
Most walkers are foldable and have 2 wheels in the front (about 5 inches in diameter) which are fixed.
- This Four Wheel Rollator on the left provides reliable support with maximum comfort and is ideal for uneven/outdoor terrain.
- Features deluxe loop locks for safety, and a convenient basket for personal belongings.
- Built-in padded seat with backrest and adjustable handle heights ensure customized comfort.
- Easily store and transport the walker by removing or folding backrest into a compact size.
These are usually the most convenient and because you’re seated and zipping around from point to point. The only downside is that they can be pricey. However, this is a one-time investment that will pay dividends many times over in terms of convenience and safety. In fact even though I don’t need one of these, I would just love to have one for the convenience.
- Challenger Mobility Patriotic Accessory Bundle is included with this scooter.
- U1 Batteries Std for maximum range.
- Smoother ride – Comfort Spring Suspension.
- Full Size 4 -wheel scooter yet Portable and Easy to Disassemble.
- 1-Year Hassle Free In-Home Service Plan included.
Balance Exercises For The Elderly
If you don’t have too many health issues, the best way to improve your balance is to work on getting a stronger core. Pilates classes are excellent for this purpose, and you will find a class that accommodates from beginners to advanced.
The exercises are designed to strengthen your entire body, as well as get you more mobile and you will be amazed at how much your body can do.
If you can’t get to a Pilates class, here are some simple balance exercises for the elderly that can be done at home to help improve your health and mobility.
If you haven’t done much exercise for a while, don’t worry as these balance exercises for the elderly are gentle and easy to follow.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing and keep some water handy. Build up slowly and aim to gradually increase the repetitions of each exercise over time.
Do the exercises near a wall or a stable chair just in case you lose your balance, so you have something to grab onto.
Try to do these exercises at least twice a week.
Balancing On One Leg
Start by standing to face the wall, with your arms outstretched and your fingertips touching the wall.
Lift your left leg and keep your hips level. Bend the other leg slightly while doing this.
Gently place your foot back on the floor.
Hold the lift for 5 to 10 seconds and perform 3 on each side.
Start by standing with your feet together and your knees slightly bent.
Step sideways in a slow and controlled manner, moving one foot to the side first.
Move the other to join it.
Avoid dropping your hips as you step. Perform 10 steps each way or step from one side of the room to the other.
Toe To Heel Walks
Standing upright, place your right heel on the floor directly in front of your left toe.
Then do the same with your left heel. Make sure you keep looking forward at all times. If necessary, put your fingers against a wall for stability. It’s like walking on an imaginary tightrope.
Try to perform at least 5 steps. As you progress, move away from the wall.
This involves walking sideways by crossing one foot over the other.
Start by crossing your right foot over your left.
Bring your left foot to join it.
Attempt 5 cross-steps on each side. If necessary, put your fingers against a wall for stability. The smaller the step, the more you get to work on your balance.
Stand at the bottom of a flight of steps and hold onto the railing.
Step up onto the first step with your right foot and bring your left foot onto the step ending feet together.
Step backward off of the step with the right foot and then bring the left foot to join the right.
Do 5 steps up and down with each leg.
Back Leg Raises
Back leg raises are one of the best and simplest strength training and balance exercises for the elderly. Apart from improving your balance, it will help in building your strength and endurance while still supporting your lower back.
Start by standing behind a seat, or holding onto a wall for balance.
Lift your right leg straight backward. When doing this, try your best not to bend the knees. Remain in this position for a couple of seconds before returning your leg back down. Do the same for the other leg. The recommended frequency for this physical activity is fifteen times for each leg.
If you can, walking backward is a great way to improve your balance and strengthen your feet. Try to do this for at least five minutes a day.
Strengthening your feet is very important for both balance and also to spare your hips and knees in the long run. Work up to twenty rises with most of your weight on the first three toes. Don’t let your foot sway back towards your baby toes.
Next, put your back up against the wall and lift your toes keeping your heels on the floor. This is great for strengthening the lower leg.
Gaiam Balance Ball Chair – Exercise Stability Yoga Ball Premium Ergonomic Chair for Home and Office Desk with Air Pump, Exercise Guide and, Black
- Alternative desk chair created by leading health & fitness experts to improve overall well-being and provide an active outlet for having to sit for long periods of time
- This is great for improving balance and stability while strengthening those core muscles and can support your balance exercises for the elderly.
- Featuring the same yoga ball as the exercise guide, this chair helps to boost energy levels and increase productivity with an active body and a focused and engaged mind.
- Designed for users 5′ to 5’11” tall and fits most standard-height desks. For a taller chair, add 2 inches with Gaiam’s compatible leg extenders, sold separately. 300-pound weight capacity.
Now that you know what to do in terms of balance exercises for the elderly and the balancing equipment available, you will be better prepared to help yourself regain your balance and stability.
Always remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. It will take time for your body to adapt and get stronger. You will need to be patient and consistent with your balancing exercises.
It is the consistent daily effort that matters. Like Buddha said, “A jug fills drop by drop”. There is no need to rush.
Make a plan and stick to it. If you commit to 15 minutes of exercise daily, then stick to it. Aim for small and incremental improvements in your performance.
Last but not least, stay positive and do not feel depressed about aging. Have a sense of humor. Be proud of your achievements and that you have made it this far. Age is just mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
“Aging can be fun if you lay back and enjoy it.” – Clint Eastwood