Falling is the main complaint among the elderly population and medical professionals. The best way to prevent falling is by exercising. Strengthening, stretching and balancing maneuvers all play a crucial role in keeping people on their feet. Do any number of the below exercises and watch the senior gain confidence and functionality.
1. Water leg swings
Water aerobics are wonderful for reducing joint aches and pains. The water’s natural buoyancy supports the individual’s body weight. This makes joints easier and less painful to move. Have the individual get into the waist-deep water. Do some leg swings. Leg swings strengthen all leg muscles including the quadricep, or thigh, muscles. Strong quadricep play a major role in supporting the individual’s body weight.
For extra support, have the person stand with the right side of their body against the poolside side. Have them place their arm onto the surface. Gently and slowly lift the leg forward. Keep the left leg firmly planted on the pool’s floor. Keep the right knee straight. Hold this position for five seconds. Now have the person swing their leg behind them. Do 10 swings. Relax for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise. Do the exercise again by rotating the body so the individual’s left side is touching the poolside side.
Walking is a fantastic exercise that provides an all-body workout. Medical experts realize the importance cardiovascular health plays in an individual’s overall balance. Be sure the elderly person wears a well-fitted and comfortable pair of walking shoes. Walk on a paved trail. Start out at a slow pace and gradually increase the time and intensity level. For optimum cardiovascular benefits, walk at a moderately brisk pace. This level involves being able to carry on a conversation while still walking. You must know that the inability to talk signifies overdoing the exercise.
3. Ankle lifts
Strong ankles improve body stability. This lowers the risks of falling, tripping or shuffling the feet. Have the person stand with his or her back against the wall. For best positioning, have the ankles be about 8 inches from the wall. Gently and slowly have the person shift their body weight onto the balls of their feet. This maneuver will lift the ankles from the floor. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Have the person slowly lower his or her body back to the original standing position. Relax for 10 seconds. Do this exercise 10 times.
4. Hamstring stretches
Joint mobility is crucial for maintaining a good sense of balance. Have the elderly individual do some simple sitting stretches. Find a firm surface. Place a yoga mat down onto the surface. Have the individual sit on the mat with their legs extended in front of them. Make certain the upper torso is as straight as possible. Slowly move the upper body toward the knees. Do not have the person try to touch his or her toes. When possible, direct the person to slide their arms along the outside of their legs. This increases the stretch. When done correctly, the person will feel a stretch alongside the back of their legs. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Slowly return to the original position. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Be sure to consult with the individual’s medical care provider before starting any new exercise regime. Talking with an elderly care provider may be the perfect decision to protect everyone involved.