Simple exercises to improve your balance
Balance is key to everyday movement.
Having good balance is important for much of what we do every day. For example, you need good balance to walk and go up and down stairs. Exercises that improve balance can help keep you from falling. Falling is a common problem for older adults and people who’ve had a stroke.
Balance exercises can also be good for people who are very overweight. Often, we don’t realize that we have weak balance until we try balance exercises.
How much do I need?
Balance exercises can be done every day or as many days as you like and as often as you like. If you’re 65 or older, aim for three or more days a week. To get started, talk to your doctor.
Here are some simple balance exercises:
- Walk heel to toe for 20 steps. Steady yourself with a wall if you need a little extra support.
- Walk normally in as straight a line as you can.
- See how long you can stand on one foot. Or try holding for 10 seconds on each side.
- If you find standing on one foot hard to do at first, try this:
- Hold on to a wall or sturdy chair with both hands to support yourself.
- Next, hold on with only one hand.
- Then support yourself with only one finger.
- When you are steady on your feet, try balancing with no support at all.
You may also want to try yoga or tai chi to help improve your balance. They don’t need expensive classes or equipment. Find an instructional book, DVD or website to get started at home. Check out our free online classes.
You can do balance exercises anytime or anywhere
- Try standing on one foot while working in the kitchen, waiting in line or brushing your teeth.
- Walk heel to toe around the house or office.
What if I’m recovering from a heart attack or stroke?
Some people are afraid to exercise after a heart attack. But it can help lower your chances of having another heart attack. The American Heart Association says exercise after stroke can strengthen your heart and your arms, and make it easier to walk.
If you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, talk with your doctor before starting any exercise. You want to be sure you’re doing what’s best for you and your health.
Heart.org. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/getting-active/no-time-for-exercise-here-are-7-easy-ways-to-move-more. Accessed on May 20, 2020.
The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.