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fall prevention exercises

7 Fall Prevention Exercises to Help Seniors Regain Strength and Balance

September is Falls Prevention Month and The Kensington Reston is offering our top fall prevention exercises to help all seniors improve their mobility.

Did you know that falls in older adults are one of the leading causes of major injuries to seniors?

Falls are not only physically damaging for seniors, but they can also lead to lengthy hospital stays that can become very expensive for their families.

As your loved one ages, you can help them regain their sense of balance and strength with these simple fall prevention exercises. 

Top 7 fall prevention exercises for seniors

The following exercises are all low-impact, resistance exercises using your loved one’s body weight that can be performed anywhere, including at home.

While many of these balance exercises are simple to perform, make sure your loved one is supervised. The purpose of these moves is to build their strength which helps to prevent falls.

Additionally, you may consider placing your loved one in a physical rehabilitation program where they can be supervised by trained physical therapists and occupational therapists.

1. Knee raises

Knee raises help target hip flexors and abdominal muscles that help your loved one step into vehicles or get out of bed.

To perform this exercise:

  1. Stand perpendicular to a chair, table, or counter.
  2. Place your closest arm on the chair, table, or counter for support.
  3. Raise each knee to hip level and hold it for a few seconds.
  4. Perform 10 repetitions per leg.

Another variation of this exercise is marching in place. Have your loved one stand in place, and raise their knees to their chest. Perform 10 repetitions per leg for 20 steps.

2. Standing side leg raises

Standing side leg raises target hip, thigh, and gluteal muscles for better mobility and range of motion, improved muscle endurance, and body stabilization.

To perform this exercise:

  1. Stand behind a chair, counter, or table.
  2. Place your hands on the chair, counter, or table for support and balance.
  3. Keep feet about shoulder-width apart, don’t widen your stance.
  4. Raise each leg to the side, about six inches away, and hold your leg for a few seconds.
  5. Do 10 repetitions per side.

3. Standing heel raises

The standing heel raise strengthens calves, feet, toes, and ankles for improved agility while walking.

To perform this exercise:

  1. Stand behind a chair, counter, or table.
  2. Place your hands on the chair, counter, or table for support and balance.
  3. Widen your stance so both feet are hip-width apart.
  4. Raise your heels off the ground, placing your weight on the balls of your feet
  5. Do 10 repetitions.

4. Standing back leg raises

Standing back leg raises target the hamstrings, which are responsible for walking, jumping, and balance.

To perform this exercise:

  1. Stand behind a chair, counter, or table.
  2. Place your hands on the chair, counter, or table for support and balance.
  3. Raise one leg behind the body about six inches.
  4. Hold the leg out for a few seconds.
  5. Repeat for 10 repetitions per leg.

5. Sit to stand or chair squats

Sit to stand or chair squats target the entire lower body and thigh muscles, including quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

To perform this exercise:

  1. Sit in a chair with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold hands together in front of your body or with arms crossed.
  3. Stand up using your clasped hands as momentum to propel your body up into a standing position.
  4. Sit back down and repeat for 10 repetitions.

Warning: if your loved one has balance issues, let them use support such as grab bars or chairs with armrests to help them get out of their seat.

6. Climbing steps

This common aerobics exercise targets the lower body to improve endurance and strengthen leg muscles. This exercise can be performed on a set of stairs or on an aerobics stepper.

To perform this exercise:

  1. Hold onto a rail (if necessary)
  2. Go up and down a single step.
  3. Repeat for 10 repetitions.

7. Heel-to-toe walk

This exercise is a bit more challenging and it’s meant for improved balance. It recreates walking on a tightrope and involves walking with one foot directly in front of the other foot.

To perform this exercise:

  1. Stand next to a counter or table and place and place an arm on the table for support
  2. Walk alongside the table walking in a straight line, placing the heel of one foot directly in front of the toes of the other foot, simulating walking on a tightrope.

How a physical therapist can assist with fall prevention

If your loved one is unable to perform these exercises at home safely, you may consider asking for a referral to physical therapy.

There are also assisted living communities that have their own specially trained physical therapists on-site using state-of-the-art equipment.

These multidisciplinary teams can evaluate your loved one’s mobility and create a specially tailored program that can include the following. 

Physical therapy

Help your loved one get stronger and heal faster by improving their mobility, balance, and range of motion through a series of exercises based on their condition.

Occupational therapy

If your loved one has suffered a stroke or has Parkinson’s, or experienced a weakening of their muscles, occupational therapy can help them regain coordination, strength, and fine motor control skills to help them eat, bathe, and groom themselves.

How a community setting can keep your loved one safe

You may worry about your loved one’s safety after you leave them, particularly that they’ll fall when you’re not around to help them.

Aside from mobility issues, another main cause of falls in seniors is tripping hazards inside and outside the home.

For example, if your loved one lives alone, they may not have anyone around to shovel their sidewalks, which can increase fall risk.

Additionally, if your loved one’s home hasn’t been fall-proofed, you’ll need to make necessary adjustments to their homes, such as removing clutter and adding assistance devices like walkers or grab-bars.

However, in a community setting such as The Kensington Reston, your loved one will receive a higher level of supervision, and won’t have to worry about shoveling snow or mowing the lawn, letting them live a hassle-free lifestyle with fewer fall risks.

Our community has also partnered with HealthPRO Heritage therapists who work on-site to provide the ideal environment for your loved ones to regain their strength and stability.

Our physical and occupational therapists can help your loved one recover after falls, fractures, strokes, or post-operative joint replacements.

Join The Kensington Reston neighborhoods for various levels of care 

The Kensington Reston is an assisted living and memory care community for seniors specializing in Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

Our community began as a dream for the Kensington founders who aimed to build a residence where they would want their own parents to live.

Our residences include all-day premium dining options, a busy calendar of life enrichment classes, as well as specialized memory care communities to provide additional care for our residents with advanced medical needs, including geriatric psychiatry. 

If your loved one’s mobility, balance, or strength is worsening and think they may need additional help and supervision, please contact us to learn more about our community and physical therapy services.

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