Older man practicing yoga in class
Healthy Aging

Build Better Balance as You Age

As we age, we realize there were many things we took for granted in our youth. Whether it’s skin elasticity, more stamina or better hearing, we can’t help but notice physical changes. One change that may come as a surprise is that our ability to balance decreases as we get older.

Although falling in your 20’s or 30’s may not have been a big deal, falling after age 60 can cause a lot more damage.

Bayhealth Staff Development Educator Dan Wagner, who teaches free A Matter of Balance classes at Bayhealth, helps older adults learn how to improve balance.

“You shouldn’t have to restrict the way you live out of fear of falling,” he said.

Here are some simple exercises you can do to strengthen your legs and improve your balance:

1. Marching in place
Start marching, alternating your steps at a slow to moderate pace. Continue for 15 to 30 seconds. Increase duration or add sets as appropriate. Use a table or the back of a chair for stability if needed.

2. Side steps
Step one foot out to the side and then follow with the other foot. Continue stepping side to side for 15 to 30 seconds. Add time and sets as appropriate.

3. Heel raises
Stand behind a chair with a back rest, or somewhere you can stabilize if needed. Place your feet about shoulder width apart and lift your heels, rising up on your toes. Return the heels back to the floor and repeat 10 times. Add sets or practice on one foot, if appropriate.

4. Seated Knee Raises
From a seated position, lift one knee and then lower it. Then lift the other knee and continue alternating as if you were marching. Repeat 10 times on each leg. Add sets or repetitions as appropriate.

While some things in life are inevitable, maintaining balance is something you can control.

Visit Bayhealth's Classes and Events page or call 302-744-7135 to learn more about the A Matter of Balance classes.

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