Senior couple jogging in a park.

The Benefits of Balance Exercises for Older Adults

We all want to stay active and healthy as we age. A key part of this equation is maintaining and strengthening your balance. This can help prevent falls, the leading cause of injuries to Americans over age 65. Fortunately, balance exercises are one of the best fall prevention strategies, and most of these activities require no special equipment to perform.

The Biggest Benefits to Balance Exercises

There are numerous benefits to regularly practicing balance exercises. For instance, doing so can reduce your risk of experiencing a fall, help you maintain your independence and positively impact your health in many other ways.

Reducing Health Risks

It’s well known that millions of adults fall each year, with 20 percent of falls causing injuries. However, practicing regular balance exercises can increase your chances of staying safe. These exercises only take a short amount of time, but can improve your coordination and agility immensely.

Maintaining Independence

We all want to maintain our independence as long as possible, and by investing time in improving your balance, you can do just that. Adults with better mobility are more likely to retain their ability to perform daily tasks without assistance, thereby improving quality of life.

Aging Well

Exercise is key to healthy aging. By staying active, you can slow muscle atrophy and bone loss from osteoporosis. This improved health can, in turn, improve quality of life and general overall mental and physical health.

Assess Your Fall Risk Factors  

As you create a balance exercise strategy, you want to have an understanding of your current abilities and areas to improve. At Friendship Village of Bloomington, our residents have access to VSTBalance and VirtuSense, an automated fall-risk assessment tool that utilizes artificial intelligence with machine vision to objectively identify fall risk indicators.

In a few minutes, the evaluation examines your balance, gait and function and then populates a report that helps residents detect fall risks that can be mitigated with skilled treatment. After the assessment, a treatment plan with engaging biofeedback activities can be created.

This type of risk assessment and the creation of these personalized plans has been shown to:

  • Minimize post-acute care falls by 73%
  • Enhance mobility for residents by 85%

Those without access to a program like this should speak to a healthcare provider about alternative ways to identify their risk factors.

Four Simple Ways to Improve Balance

If you’re wondering how to improve your balance and stability, here are four easy ways to get started. Many of these exercises can also be performed from anywhere.

Please note that before beginning any exercise program, you should speak to your doctor. You will also want to discuss with them any mobility issues you may have. Many of these exercises can be modified so that they can be performed at varying levels of strength and ability.

Participate in a Casual Sport

If you’re already active and wish to maintain your lifestyle for as long as possible, casual sports can be a great way to preserve or improve muscle mass, bone density and coordination. Whether you enjoy tennis, swimming or something else, using your body regularly can help to keep you fit and benefit your balance, too.

Need an example? Here are eight health benefits of golf!

Perform Bodyweight Workouts

Effectively moving your own body weight is a great way to maintain your health during your retirement years. For this reason, bodyweight exercises are a great way to maintain muscle strength as you age. Here are some exercises to consider:

Practice Balance Exercises

The best way to get better at something is to practice. This holds true for balance as well. Here are some balance exercises that can improve your coordination. 

If you’re looking for an activity you can do with others, many organizations offer yoga for seniors, so be sure to keep an eye out for options near you.

Walking

One of the easiest balance exercises of all is simply walking. In fact, walking can even be more effective than specialized balance training for many older adults. Whether it’s a stroll on the beach, a walk through the woods or a few loops around your neighborhood, just getting out and walking can be a great way to improve your balance.

Explore Lifestyle Options at Friendship Village of Bloomington

Did you know that community living leads to a more active lifestyle? Community life can also help you stick to a fitness routine. These are just two of the many great reasons why a senior living community like Friendship Village of Bloomington could be the perfect place to spend your retirement years.

Friendship Village of Bloomington has been awarded the ICAA NuStep Pinnacle Award, recognizing us as one of the “Top 5 Best in Wellness” senior living communities in North America. Here, you’ll have everything you need to make the most of your retirement years, from access to premier dining options to exemplary health care services and more. Residents also get access onsite to VirtuSense and VSTBalance, a rehabilitative technology that reduces falling risks by improving balance and increasing mobility through biofeedback activities. 

Schedule a tour to see for yourself what life in Bloomington is like.