The following are guidelines for performing balance training as a part of a well-rounded exercise program. It is important to review these guidelines with the older adult prior to the start of his or her balance training program.
•Most of the balance exercises can be done almost anytime, anywhere, and as often as older adults would like, as long as they have something sturdy nearby to hold onto if should they become unsteady.
•Simply start balance training by incorporating balance training into daily activities, such as standing on one foot while doing dishes or brushing teeth.
•Balance exercises should be performed in sturdy shoes or bare feet.
•Having a sturdy object (e.g., kitchen or bathroom counter) in front to grab is important in case a loss of balance occurs.
•The older adult can begin with five balance-specific exercises, performed two times per week with each exercise lasting for 10 to 15 seconds.
•Exercises based on the older adult’s needs and abilities should be selected. If you are unsure which exercises to do please consult with another member of the healthcare provider team.
•With safety being a critical factor, it is important for older adults to clear their environment of any obstacles.
•It is also important to remember that if the older adult has poor balance or is nervous about trying these exercises, he or she should have someone assist with the exercise, especially when certain medical conditions exist. As a member of the healthcare provider team, it may be beneficial for you to have the older adult try these exercises for the first time with your assistance.
•A cell phone or portable phone should always be nearby in case the older adult falls or needs some help.
In the beginning, older adults should always have an object or person close by for assistance if needed. Many of the examples will require older adults to hold onto a sturdy chair or table for balance. Older adults should hold on to the chair or table with one hand. As they progress, they should try holding on with just the fingertips then maybe with one finger. As they continue to improve, they can try to not hold on at all. When they become very steady on their feet, they can try to do some of the activities with their eyes closed to improve your balance even more.
Balance Exercises to Try Single Leg Stand
Instruct the older adult to… Beginner:
1. Stand up straight behind a tall chair or at a countertop. Lightly grasping the chair or countertop with his/her fingertips.
2. Raise one leg a foot off the ground. The leg can be lifted out to the side, back, or front (Figure 54). Find which position is the easiest or the hardest.
3. Maintain balance while standing on one leg.
4. Hold for a count of 10-15 seconds. Repeat with another leg.
5. Perform five times on each leg.
1. Stand up straight behind a tall chair or at a countertop for safety only. Without holding on to the chair or countertop raise one leg a foot off the ground.
2. Maintain balance while standing on one leg.
3. Hold for a count of 10-15 seconds. Repeat with another leg.
4. Perform five times on each leg.
1. Stand up straight behind a tall chair or at a countertop for safety only.
2. Close both eyes.
3. Without holding on to the chair or countertop raise one leg a foot off the ground. 4. Maintain balance while standing on one leg.
5. Hold for a count of 10-15 seconds. Repeat with another leg.
6. Perform five times on each leg.