Balance Exercises for Seniors

balance exercises

Balance exercises help build strength in your leg muscles in order to maintain balance and prevent falls.

These particular types of exercises help seniors improve balance and stability. Before you begin these balancing routines make sure you have a table or chair that you can hold on to.

As with any new exercise routine, do not over do it and cause injury or pain. If you are not sure of your balance, do this with a friend or have someone nearby in case you need them.

Start out by holding onto the table or chair with one hand. As you proceed through the exercises try using just your finger tips to improve balance and stability. As you get comfortable with using just your finger tips, try a few of these exercises for balance without holding on to anything. Make sure that the chair or table is still next to you if you need it for balance.

List of Balance Exercises

There are five different exercises in this series. Use the links below to jump to the one you want or do each one in order by scrolling through the page.

Benefits of Balance Exercises

Approximately one third of adults over the age of 65 will experience some type of fall each year. This puts them at risk of potential injury that can limit their mobility while healing.. or can be a permanent disabilty. Balance training can help prevent falls and minimize the risk of injury for seniors. In addition to helping them maintain their balance, it can also provide better mobility and independence.

Daily activities can be completed easier such as making the bed, tying shoes and more. With an increase in balance, seniors can enjoy walks more without the worry of falling, or even do some gardening and enjoying time with their grandchildren more. While these types of exercises are not strenuous, they will still burn some calories.

Sit to Stand

This one requires a chair that is the proper height for you. A kitchen chair (not the stool height) works best. Although sitting and standing doesn't seem to sound like an exercise, this move helps build your leg muscles and improve balance.Try to do this three to four times a week.


How to do the Sit to Stand

  1. Start by sitting in the chair. Make sure your buttocks are scooched forward and not all the way to the back of the chair. 
  2. Take a deep breath and as you exhale, slowly lift up off the chair using your leg muscles. As you do this, lean your chest forward a bit and hold onto the chair for support.
  3. Stand up straight and take another deep breath.
  4. Making sure the backs of your legs are touching the chair legs, lean over slightly and return to a sitting position as you exhale.
  5. Repeat this several times.

Back to List

Knee Raise

This one helps build strength in your thighs and hip flexors. Get your chair or table set up where you will be exercising. Follow the steps below to begin improving your balance and stability.

How to do the Knee Raise

  1. Stand next to or behind the chair
  2. Place your left hand on the back of the chair. Put your weight on your left leg keeping your knee soft and slightly bent.
  3. Focus your eyes on something in front of you. Take a deep breath.
  4. Now as you exhale, bend your right knee and bring it towards your chest. Don't bend your waist or hips as you do this balancing move.
  5. Inhale and hold this knee up for a count of 1 to 3 while holding onto the chair. 
  6. While exhaling, return your leg back to the floor.
  7. Repeat this several times and then switch legs.

Back to List

Side Leg Raise

With this balance exercise you will want to hold onto something as you do the leg raises. The back of your chair or even a flat surface like the wall will help you maintain balance while doing this training. This workout will target the hip flexors and thighs, which are part of your core muscles. Keeping your core strong can help prevent falls and injuries.


How to do the Side Leg Raise

  1. Stand directly behind or beside the chair with your back straight.
  2. Place your feet flat to the floor with feet slightly apart. Hold onto the back of the chair or the table.
  3. Take a deep breath and as you exhale slowly lift your right leg about 6 to 12 inches off the floor to the side. Keep both legs straight and your toes pointed forward
  4. Inhale and hold this pose for a few seonds. As you exhale return to starting position.
  5. Repeat this several times on one side then switch to the other leg.

Back to List

Chair Hip Extension

This hip extension is the last of the balance exercise for seniors series. Keeping your hips and all the core muscles strong can help prevent injuries and falls. Try to do these types of exercises a few times each week. As you find you are getting stronger, add a few more repetitions and perhaps even another day for these workouts.


How to do the Hip Extension

  1. Stand behind your chair or table with feet flat to the floor and slightly apart. 
  2. Your feet should be slightly less than shoulder width apart.
  3. Take several steps back away from the chair with your back straight.
  4. Slowly lift one leg straight back keeping the leg and knee straight. Remeber to keep your back straight as you do this move.
  5. Hold the pose for a second and then slowly return your leg to starting position.
  6. Repeat this several times and then switch legs.

Back to List

These are just a few of many balancing workouts seniors can do to seniors to gain leg strength and stability. You can try these other balance exercises from the Mayo Clinic. It includes instructions and a picture to ensure you are doing them correctly.

Featured Articles

Additional Articles

Diabetes and Exercise
Exercise is great for losing weight, keeping bones and muscles strong and many other health benefits. It's also a great way to help with your diabetes and controlling glucose levels.

Senior Stretching Exercises
Check out these stretching exercises that are great for seniors and those with physical limitations. They are performed in a chair so you don't have to worry about losing your balance while stretching your muscles.

Senior Fitness Tips
Use these tips to help you start your senior fitness program. You should include strengthening, stretching, endurance and balancing exercises.