Muscle mass naturally deteriorates with the aging process. This includes the muscles that are crucial to balance, such as the abs, lower back, glutes, hip flexors and pelvic floor. Strengthening the muscles in these areas is important for mobility as well as preventing falls.
The following exercises should be performed 1 – 2 times per week to start, and gradually increased to 2 – 3 times per week. These exercises are great for caretakers and loved ones alike.
Perform 1 – 2 sets of 12 – 15 reps of the following exercises:
- Standing leg extension – Stand next to a chair and hold on for stability. Bring the right leg up to 90 degrees, or as far as is comfortable. Extend the leg out straight while squeezing the thigh muscle. Return the leg to 90 degrees in a controlled manner for 12 – 15 reps. Repeat with the left leg up.
- Tight rope balance – Stand next to a chair and hold on if needed. Place the right foot forward and the left foot back about 6 inches apart. Bring the feet into alignment, like standing on a tight rope, for a greater challenge. Widen the stance for more assistance. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with the left leg forward.
- Chair sit ups – Sit toward the front of a supportive chair. Place the feet flat on the floor and cross the arms across the chest. Keeping the back straight and the abs pulled in tight, lean back as far as is comfortable without hitting the back of the chair. Use the abs to sit upright again. Repeat for 12 – 15 reps. Lean back further for more difficulty.
- One leg balance – Stand next to a chair and hold on if needed. Pick the right leg up to 90 degrees and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with the left leg up. Close the eyes for a greater challenge.