It’s never too late to adopt a healthier diet and lifestyle, especially when you reach 50 and beyond. As you get older, it’s even more important to keep your body healthy and flexible. Fortunately, there are unique exercises that are geared toward this, plus they will also improve your balance.
Some people say that life is just beginning once you hit 50. It’s often an age where couples have their children raised, and they are welcoming grandkids. They are having more discussions about retirement and about securing their life’s savings.
Does that sound familiar? Yes, these can be the best years of your life, especially if you take care of your health. However, you are also getting to an age when the aches and pains get a little more frequent, and you don’t bounce back as quickly when you are ill or get hurt. The good habits you develop in your fifties can carry you into your later years!
Senior Balancing Act
Did you know that slip and trip accidents at your home are among the main causes of death among seniors? You may only be in your 50s, but now is the time to be more careful. You may avoid slips, trips, and falls with better balance and coordination.
If you don’t have an exercise regimen in place, you can discuss it with your primary healthcare provider or a certified fitness instructor. They can tailor a fitness program that’s right for you and your body. Some of the exercises they suggest may include ones for better coordination and balance.
The good thing about most of these exercises is that you needn’t buy an expensive gym membership. You can do them right at home, where you have more comfort and privacy. Even better, as you don’t need to buy bulky workout equipment that eventually ends up as an expensive clothes hanger.
You may even consider doing this easy workout with your partner, family, or friends. Exercising and maintaining proper balancing is beneficial for all ages. Here are six balancing exercises for you to try today.
1. Walking the Tightrope
Remember when you were in high school gym class, and the teacher had you walking on a balancing beam? It’s an excellent way to teach kids how to keep good posture and to practice proper balance. This exercise mimics the toe to heel walk, just without the beam.
You can do this exercise indoors or outside, and you don’t need an exercise mat.
•Stand straight with your shoulders aligned under each ear with your arms naturally at your sides. You may feel like a little toy soldier.
•Now, smoothly turn your left foot so that it is directly in front of your right foot. If you’re doing this correctly, then your left heel should be on top of the toes on your right foot.
•Raise your right foot slightly until your weight shifts to the ball of your right foot and toes. Move your right foot until the heel is now in front of your left toes. If done correctly, it should be like you’re walking on a tightrope.
•Feel free to use your hands and arms for balancing and keeping your body and legs straight. Repeat these steps until you’ve taken 15-20 breaths.
2. Big Ben
Who would have guessed that becoming a clock for a few minutes could help you with coordination? As you know from experience, you need your arms and hands to center your body and balance. This whimsical exercise can strengthen and tone your arms and can expand your reach. Use a sturdy chair for this workout.
•Place the chair on your workout mat and stand to the left of it. It would help if you were standing straight with your arms relaxed naturally by your sides.
•Pretend that you are standing in the center of the face of a large clock. You are facing directly at the number 12. The number three is to your right, nine is to your left, and six is straight behind you. Consider your legs as the big hand and your arms as the little hand.
•First, put your left hand flat on the top of the chair.
•Gently lift your right leg and right arm, so they are pointing directly in front of you at noon.
•While keeping your right leg extended to 12, smoothly move your arm to the left to three, as if you are signaling three o’clock. Now, gently bring your arm behind you to point at six o’clock.
•For the second phase, slowly bring your arm back to three o’clock, then back to the starting position at noon. Try to keep your arm and leg as straight as possible. If you need, take a few seconds of rest before switching.
•Stand to the chair’s right and place your right-hand flat on the top of the chair. Repeat the same steps with your right leg and right hand. The only difference is that you will be pointing to nine o’clock instead of three. Try to do at least two repetitions on each side.
3. Merlin’s Magical Wand
Hocus, Pocus, now let the balancing workout begin. You don’t need a wizard school or a magical touch to see the benefits of this exercise. All you need is a short stick. (This one is a lot of fun!)
•You can perform this simple exercise standing or while sitting in a chair.
•Grasp the end of the stick with your right hand, keeping it flat against your palm.
•Slowly extend the stick until it is parallel to the floor, and hold it out for 15-20 breaths. Change to your left and repeat the steps. Try to do 3-5 repetitions.
•If you want to ramp up this exercise, you can also add holding the stick straight up toward the ceiling and each side. Alternate each movement for both arms.
4. Wall Pushups
Did you know that you can do effective push-ups even while standing? Use a wall in your house that doesn’t have a window or hanging decorations. These pushups build strength in your core and arms and can improve your balance.
•Stand up straight facing the wall that you’re using. Hold your arms straight out at shoulder distance apart.
•Slightly lean forward until your palms are flat against the wall and your feet are together firmly on the floor.
•Lean your body slowly against the wall while gently bending your arms at the elbow, like a traditional pushup. Then, push gently against the wall to bring yourself into the starting position. For optimal benefits, strive to do at least 15-20 repetitions.
5. Tippy Toes
If you’ve ever danced or done ballet, this leg toning exercise should be a cinch. It’s also a simple way to help your coordination and balance. If you need to, use a sturdy chair or your kitchen counter to hold on to while doing these to prevent any falls.
•Stand straight with your arms straight out or resting on your chair or counter. Gently raise on your tiptoes for 2-3 breaths and lower your feet again. Keep your back as straight as possible without leaning too much.
•Repeat the up and down motion 15-20 times.
6. Surf’s Up
Here is a fun exercise that may remind you of catching a few waves on the beach. The only difference is that you are doing one foot at a time. Do this exercise on your workout mat or outside if you like.
First, stand up straight with your feet aligned at hip’s width. Pretend like you’re standing on a surfboard about to catch the big wave. Your head should be level, and your feet planted firmly on the ground.
•Now, lean slightly to the left as you shift your body’s weight to your right foot. (You can use a chair for stability, as well until you gain confidence).
•Simultaneously, slowly extend your right leg off the mat and try to stay balanced like that for at least 20-30 breaths. Come back smoothly to the starting position.
•Switch to your right foot and repeat the same steps for it. If you feel any pain or dizziness, stop what you’re doing immediately. If you can, do 3-5 repetitions for each leg.
•If you are a bit wobbly on your legs, this may be an exercise that you can do small steps at a time. You can also do a modified version by holding onto a sturdy chair or counter with one hand.
Word to the Wise
Before you start these or any other exercise regimen, make sure to discuss it with your primary healthcare provider or a certified fitness trainer. Additionally, stop any movement or exercise that causes pain or dizziness. Be cautious if you already have issues with muscle coordination and balance.
Final Thoughts on Balancing Exercises
With a healthy lifestyle and fitness routine, you may stay active well into your senior years. Consider supplementing your training with these workouts that can enhance your coordination and balance, plus exercise helps keep depression at bay. It may be the thing you need to be more active and minimize the risk of slips, trips, and falls.