Balance Exercises to Keep You Steady

Every winter, RVNAhealth treats dozens of patients — both at home and at Rehab by RVNA — who are recovering from winter falls. Falls can cause broken and fractured bones, head trauma, and other significant issues.

The following progression of balance exercises, recommended by RVNAhealth physical therapists, can help you improve your lower body strength and your ability to control your body’s center of gravity — which are both very important to avoiding slips and falls.  Start with the Single Leg Stance, and add the others as you improve.  In addition to the exercises below, fun activities like Tai-chi and yoga are great ways to improve balance for some people.  Everyone’s risk of slipping and falling increases with icy winter weather.  But exercising to improve balance is a smart year-round practice for us all.

RVNA’s physical and occupational therapists can adapt exercises to fit a patient’s needs and medical history. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a balance consultation, please contact RVNAhealth at 203-438-5555

1. Single Leg Stance
Stand on one leg and maintain your balance. (You can use a sturdy chair for support.) Then repeat with the other leg.

  • Repeat:            1 time
  • Hold:                10 seconds
  • Complete:       1 set
  • Perform:          Once a day

2. Single Leg Stance Variations
Forward
Stand on one leg and maintain your balance.  Next, hold your free leg out in front of your body.  Then return to original position.  Maintain a slightly bent knee on the standing leg.  Repeat with the other leg.

  • Repeat:            1 time
  • Hold:                10 seconds
  • Complete:       1 set
  • Perform:          Once a day

Lateral
Stand on one leg and maintain your balance.  Next, hold your free leg out to the side of your body.  Then return to original position.  Maintain a slightly bent knee on the standing leg.  Repeat with the other leg.

  • Repeat:            1 time
  • Hold:                10 seconds
  • Complete:       1 set
  • Perform:          Once a day

3. Tandem Stance and Walk
Stand with one foot directly in front of the other so that the toes of one foot touch the heel of the other.  Progress forward by taking steps with your heel touching your toes with each step.  (Use a counter for support.)  Maintain your balance.

  • Repeat:            3 times
  • Hold:                1 second
  • Complete:       1 set
  • Perform:          Once a day

4. Sit to Stand

Sit down in a firm chair.  Align your feet, knees, and hips so you’re sitting up tall with a small arch in your lower back.  Put your hands on your thighs.

Stand without moving your feet.  Engage your leg muscles and lift yourself up from the chair  in one fluid motion.  Once you’ve risen to the point that your knees are straight but your back is still arched, slowly lower yourself back down into your original seated position.

  • Repeat:            8-10 times
  • Hold:                3 seconds
  • Complete:       1 set
  • Perform:          Once a day

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