As we age, our ability to maintain good balance when standing and walking decreases over time. As a result, individuals 65 or older and at a higher risk for falls. Hospitalizations due to falls occur in 800,000 individuals every year.1 Injuries from these falls include hip fractures, traumatic brain injury in addition to less serious injuries like bruises.Studies have shown that balance training for older adults improves static, dynamic, reactive and proactive balance responses which in turn can minimize fall risk and reduce hospitalizations.2 Setting up an area to safely practice working on balance is incredibly easy. Performing exercises at a kitchen counter gives you an extra surface to grab on to for safety. You can also place a chair behind you when practicing for an additional safety measure.
- Place feet close together and try to balance without using your hands. (For an additional challenge, try with your eyes closed!)
- Standing with heel to toe like you are walking on a balance beam
- Stand on one leg, tapping fingertips on counter for if needed for extra support.
- Tapping your foot as far forward and backwards while standing without losing balance
- Walking down a hallway or across a room in your house while turning your head vertically or horizontally
If you are concerned about your balance, or want to reduce your fall risk, call Atlas Physical Therapy at Central Park, Congress Park or Downtown Denver and we will work on increasing balance capability as well as leg strengthening to lower your risk!
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web–based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. Accessed August 5, 2016.
- Lesinski M, Hortobágyi T, Muehlbauer T, Gollhofer A, Granacher U. Effects of Balance Training on Balance Performance in Healthy Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Sports Med. 2015 Dec;45(12):1721-38. doi: 10.1007/s40279-015-0375-y. Erratum in: Sports Med. 2016 Mar;46(3):457.
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