9 Balance Exercises for Seniors

Fitness tips for seniors
Fitness tips for seniors

Balance Exercises for Seniors

Did you know that about 6.5 million falls happen every year, and over 800,000 of those result in injuries serious enough to require medical attention? Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths for seniors living at home health care or assisted care facilities. Luckily, senior care workers can prevent falls with proper training and awareness! Exercises focused on improving balance are a great place to start preventing falls. 

Knee surgery
Seniors after Knee surgery

Exercise is also recommended after surgeries such as knee surgery, shoulders, and more. Physical therapy after shoulder surgery and other surgery are also highly encouraged. Moreover,  Exercising regularly is already known to improve balance, but adding these nine balance exercises for seniors will give your body even more support while also increasing muscle strength and endurance.


If possible, perform these exercises for seniors on the floor or on an exercise mat. If you need footwear during any of these exercises due to cold weather or injury, make sure to use a shoe with good support and slip resistance.

9 Exercises To Help Elders with Balance :

1.  Heel-toe Rocking

  • Stand straight with feet together and arms at sides.  
  • Balance on your heels while lifting your toes. 
  • Hold for 5 seconds before rocking back to the starting position. 
  • Repeat ten times daily/as directed by a physical therapist or occupational therapist. 

Make sure that you do both legs without any pain in the ankles and lower leg before increasing the number of repetitions or time spent in this exercise!

2. Single Leg Standing Balance Exercises:  

  • Stand straight with your feet together. Balance one leg while lifting the other leg in front of you, knee bent, toward your chest. 
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds before lowering the lifted leg. 
  • Repeat ten times daily/as directed by a physical therapist or home healthcare professional.

3. Unilateral Standing Exercises:

This balance exercise for seniors requires standing on one foot with the opposite arm overhead and balancing in this position for at least 10 seconds (or as long as you can without falling).  

Once you can do that successfully, switch arms and legs. Perform ten times per side daily/as directed by a physical therapist or home health care professional.

4. Push-up Hold Exercises

This exercise strengthens the anterior core, which is important during daily activities like walking, standing, and sitting up straight! 

To perform the push-up hold exercise properly, start in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. 

Tighten your core and glutes as you hold the push-up position for 10 seconds, then lower yourself to the floor or an exercise mat on your stomach without letting your hips sag toward the ground.

5. Wall Squat Exercises

These exercises help increase muscle strength and endurance in the legs, which are important for daily activities like walking upstairs and standing from a seated position! 

Wall squats
Wall Squats

To perform wall squats, stand with your back against a wall and feet about three feet out from the baseboard behind you so that legs form two 90 degree angles at the knees. Then slide down with flat back touching the wall until thighs form right angles (90 degrees) at the knees. Keep buttocks and abdomen muscles tight as you slide down the wall, then slowly slide back to start position for one repetition.

6. Heel Raise Exercises (Gastrocnemius)

Isolated Exercises for the Calf Muscles

The gastrocnemius muscle is one of the calf muscles. Exercising this muscle can increase strength, flexibility, and range of motion!

Heel raise exercises

Stand with feet hip-width apart with an exercise band or towel wrapped around the bottom of your right foot. Then lift your right heel off the ground as high as you can without arching your back while keeping your left leg extended straight out in front of you (keep your knee slightly bent). 

Hold for 1 second at maximum contraction before slowly lowering your entire right leg to starting position. 

Repeat ten times on each leg daily/as directed by a physical therapist or occupational therapist. Remember to maintain proper posture with head up, back straight, and core engaged while performing heel-raise exercises.

7. Straight Leg Lift Exercises (Lying or Standing):

This exercise strengthens the hamstring muscles, which are important for daily activities like walking upstairs and standing seated! 

To perform straight leg lifts, you can either lie on your back with both legs extended flat or stand with one leg slightly in front of the other while holding onto a chair for support. 

Then lift your right leg two inches off the ground, then slowly lower it back down to starting position. Repeat ten times on each leg daily/as directed by a physical therapist or occupational therapist

8. Standing Towel Curls Exercises

This exercise strengthens the biceps, which are important for daily activities like standing from a seated position! 

To perform this exercise, you will need an exercise band or towel and something to anchor either end of it. Start with one end of the band anchored under your foot with your palm facing forward, then raise your hand toward ear-level while keeping your elbow by the side pointing straight down. 

Then slowly lower the arm back to the starting position without letting the elbow go past shoulder level. Repeat ten times on each arm daily/as directed by a physical therapist or occupational therapist.

Stand on an exercise band or towel so that each end is approximately at ankle level. Keep feet hip-width apart with knees slightly bent, tummy pulled in, and back straight. 

Relax your shoulders down away from your ears, then slowly bend forward at the waist to pick up the ends of the band or towel with both hands, keeping elbows by sides pointing straight down.

9. Exercises for Balance

Balance exercises are great for improving balance and coordination, which is extremely helpful during activities of daily living like walking downstairs! 

To perform these balance exercises, stand with feet together (heel to toe) on a rolled-up towel or yoga mat. 

Close your eyes, relax your shoulders down away from your ears, then slowly bend one knee until the thigh is parallel with the floor before slowly straightening the leg back out to starting position.

Repeat ten times on each leg without letting the opposite knee touch the floor before switching legs/toes/legs/toes. Continue alternating between bent and straight leg repetitions while maintaining stability without letting a towel or mat slide out from under you as you go through a range of motion.

Exercises Are Essential 

Exercises are essential for maintaining balance as we age, especially if you have any health conditions that affect balance! Start by standing near a wall with your feet about hip-width apart and your hands touching the wall at eye level. Lean forward until your hips are almost facing forward but not quite, then hold that position without dropping your head or arching your lower back until it starts to get uncomfortable. Repeat three times on each side daily/as directed by a physical therapist or occupational therapist. Seniors should perform exercises with a partner or hold onto a sturdy chair's back for support.

Exercising arms and shoulders helps with balance and coordination! 

Start by standing with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Extend arms out sideways at shoulder height, then raise arms to ear level while keeping elbows straight without locking them (you should feel a slight stretch in the muscles). Exercises should be performed on each arm ten times daily/as directed by a physical therapist or occupational therapist. Seniors should perform exercises with a partner or hold onto the back of a sturdy chair for support.

Exercising the core helps improve balance and also provides support to other exercises!

 Sit up straight on an exercise ball, so your hips, ankles, and shoulders are all roughly even. Keep your tummy pulled in and engage your abdominal and lower back muscles to keep your back straight. Exercises should be performed on the ball 20 times daily/as directed by a physical therapist or occupational therapist. Seniors should perform exercises with a partner or hold onto the back of a sturdy chair for support.

Exercising legs helps improve balance and coordination! 

Stand upright next to an exercise ball, wall, or other sturdy surfaces that can hold your weight (you may want someone to watch you do this one first). Extend arms out in front at shoulder height, then step forward with the left leg while engaging core muscles and reaching hands straight down toward left foot until they almost touch it. Exercises should be performed on each leg ten times daily/as directed by a physical therapist or occupational therapist. Seniors should perform exercises with a partner or hold onto the back of a sturdy chair for support.

Author: Jia Gadot is a health and beauty journalist living in sunny Miami. She writes about healthy habits and caregiving tips for 24-7 Home Health Care. She holds a degree in nutrition and has been writing about healthy lifestyle choices for several years. Jia enjoys hiking and spends her free time learning new healthy recipes with her husband.

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