Top 7 Exercises To Improve Balance

No matter your age, minimizing the impact on your joints is necessary for long-term health. While you might be able to get away high-impact exercises in your early years, incorporating low impact exercises to your routine is key to maintaining an active retired life. Not only will it help those that suffer from arthritis and other inflammatory disorders, but it can help your joint support and help you stall your naturally reducing bone density. One major risk that occurs as we age, is your ability to maintain your balance, and decreased bone density makes you much more susceptible to bone fractures from even light falls [1]. The exercises below help maintain or build your overall strength as well as help you retain your existing bone density and improve your balance.

Top 7 Exercises To Improve Balance As You Age:

1. Pilates

This is easily one of the best workouts that you can implement to improve balance. Pilates features multiple low impact exercises that can be great for you as you age. Not only does it emphasize much slower and more deliberate movements, but the majority of the exercises actively engage the core muscles (the muscles in the mid-section is the area that control balance). The focus on building core strength makes Pilates one of the best workout programs that you can incorporate  because it can really help to provide better support for your spine and improve overall balance. Pilates maximizes flexibility by incorporating a lot of stretching in the various exercises. Having greater flexibility can help balance directly and it can even help minimize the natural deterioration of the joints.

2. Elliptical

The elliptical is easily one of the best low impact exercises that you can incorporate into your workout routine. In fact, it is preferred over the treadmill for exercisers of all ages. After all, the machine allows you to glide back and forth rather than put the impact of the hard ground and gravity on your body. An elliptical workout is not only low impact, but it can improve your balance because it forces you to activate your core muscles throughout the entire exercise. As long as you are using the machine properly, you  engage your core without really even noticing it.

3. Yoga

Yoga is another very effective exercise that you can incorporate into your exercise regimen when you are looking to minimize impact and improve overall balance. Yoga might even be one of the best at improving your balance because the entire focus is dedicated to it. After all, each position really requires a lot of core strength. Therefore, you will be building up your core strength by performing the various yoga poses.

4. Walking

While you might not necessarily consider walking an exercise due to it being an integral part of everyday life, it is actually one of the best exercises that you can incorporate in your routine. For older adults, walking becomes even more important because your bones naturally lose density. As mentioned previously, this loss of density can cause you to become much more susceptible to bone fractures. Counteract this loss by getting in your steps through walking outside or on a treadmill. Bone density loss can ramp up when your bones are not being actively used which is one reason a lot of older adults begin to lose bone density so rapidly when they slow down and become much less active. Walking is a fantastic low impact workout that can improve balance by reducing bone density loss and by improving leg and core strength.

5. Tai Chi

Have you ever walked through a park only to see a bunch of seniors practicing Tai Chi? The reason is simple, it is one of the most effective workouts for improving balance among adults. Not only does it provide mental exercise for older adults, but it can prove to be an incredible exercise for improving core strength and overall balance. The best part about Tai Chi is that it requires little stamina which makes it perfect for beginner or intermediate fitness levels. Along with this, it has virtually no impact which means that those with joint discomfort will have no problems integrating it into their fitness routine. It is a very adaptable exercise that can be practiced by anyone. It can do everything from improving core strength for better balance to helping improve flexibility and range of motion. All of the benefits of practicing Tai Chi can be beneficial to older adults that require better improvements in range of motion, flexibility, and balance.

6. Cycling

Another great exercise that is low impact is cycling. Not only does it provide a great cardiovascular workout, but it can be a great social outlet. It will help to strengthen virtually all leg muscles and it can even help to maintain flexibility in the hip flexors which can improve balance and minimize chances for injury.

7. Swimming

Swimming happens to be another exercise with virtually no impact that can be great for older adults. Not only can it improve cardio endurance, but it can really help to strengthen core muscles to improve balance. At the same time, it can help strengthen muscles and bones without negatively impacting your joints.

Overall, there are plenty of exercises that you can incorporate into your lifestyle that won’t require high impact. You don’t have to continue to stress your joints to get in highly effective workouts to improve your balance. There is plenty that can be done as you age that won’t require significant levels of stamina, high-impact, or repeated stress. You primarily want to focus on the exercises that actively engage your core muscles. Strengthening your core is crucial to maintaining proper posture through better spinal support and to improving your balance.

 

Before participating in any exercise, consult your physician. 

 

References:

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1839833/

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