Ever wondered why should senior citizens perform balance exercises? Well you’ve come to the right place for your answer.
|The main reasons why senior citizens should perform balance exercises are that they prevent falls, strengthen legs, give the body a regular workout, and strengthen bones. There are even more side benefits like improving cognitive function, improving reaction time, improving sleep and coordination.|
So why would you not perform balance exercises? Read further for more information on the important reasons to perform balance exercises.
Let’s face it, losing your balance almost always results in falling down. And for those of us in the senior community, this usually means a broken or fractured bone. Which can then lead to other serious medical problems. In fact, those other problems may require going to a care facility.
Avoiding falls is a great benefit from performing balance exercises. Be careful as you start some exercises, as you don’t want to fall as you start to do them! It is always best, and I highly recommend, that you contact your doctor before starting any new exercise.
Preventing falls is a result of balance exercises partly because of the strength you gain in all parts of your body. But even more so in your legs.
Balancing exercises can strengthen your legs as well. As we age, our muscles, bones and tendons age as well. Which means weakness in our legs and our legs not functioning as well.
Exercise means strength. The old adage, use it or lose it comes to mind. If you want your legs to be strong, you have to exercise them. Fortunately, some leg exercises can even be done from a chair!
Here’s a delightful video of some leg strengthening exercises.
Gives Body a Regular Workout
My physical therapist said to keep moving, even if I am in pain. (I have chronic pain. But a word of caution; if an exercise hurts, don’t do it. Contact your doctor.) In fact he said, “Motion is lotion.” I like that. To me that means I will be lubricating my joints if I move. So move I will.
There are so many benefits from a regular workout. Even if you can’t do much, you can still do some exercises even sitting down or holding on to a chair.
Giving the body a regular workout improves our heart health as well, and can even help us manage our weight. Surprisingly, exercise also gives you more energy! I don’t understand that, but it is true. I always felt better after I exercised.
Improves Cognitive Function
Exercise can influence the brain to improve thinking ability. Not only will we be providing more oxygen to the brain, but we will be releasing endorphins as well. These feel good hormones do just that; help us feel better. When you feel better, you think better.
Exercise also increases blood flow to the brain. Since all systems in the body need blood to function, then more blood to the brain should make for clearer thinking.
Some studies have shown that the brains of people that exercise regularly are larger than those of people that don’t exercise. Seems to be that exercise can build “brain muscles”.
So exercise to think better!
As you exercise, your bones adapt by building more bone! The inverse is probably true, where if you don’t exercise, your bones weaken and can more easily break.
Naturally high impact, weight bearing exercise is going to build the strongest bone. But we seniors can’t usually do something like that. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t do some light weight lifts and toe tapping, even in a chair.
Speaking of healthy bones, a healthy diet should also be included in your regular routine. Here is an article I wrote about that; Healthy Diet for Senior Citizens.
Improves Reaction Times
Reaction time seems to be related to clear thinking and healthy muscles and bones. Therefore, since we have established that exercise improves cognition and strengthens bones, it follows that our reaction times should improve.
This is really important when it comes to driving a car! Being alert is the most important factor when driving a car, especially for watching out for bad drivers. Along with being alert, quick reaction time can make a difference between an accident or driving away having avoided one.
If you are exercising your arms and legs, then they are ready to react when you need them the most. Keep active so you can be a safe driver!
Better coordination should be a natural result of having stronger bones, stronger legs, and better reaction time. One article I read states that coordination is a trainable skill. So, working on some sort of exercise will make you a bit more coordinated. Definitely not Olympics coordinated, but perhaps not as clumsy.
Coordination will make your movements more exact, which then helps you avoid falling. Have you found yourself bumping into walls and counters? I believe some balance exercises might reduce those occurrences.
Want improved sleep? Who doesn’t? Well, exercise can help with that. Exercise reduces stress and anxiety, thus riding the body of those hormones that make your heart race. In addition, it tires out your body so you can relax better.
Exercise has been shown to increase the amount of sleep you get. It also helps you have deeper sleep, which means a better quality of sleep.
Some factors to consider are to not exercise too close to bedtime. Exercise can elevate your body temperature, and that can interfere with falling asleep. One article says don’t exercise 4 hours before bed. But find out what works for you.
Where To Begin?
I can’t begin to include all the resources I found for some simple exercises. But I will include this one from John Hopkins that has a place to start. Very simple and easy.
But don’t stop there. Do a search for:
- Simple exercises for seniors
- Easy yoga for seniors
- Balance exercises for seniors
- What exercises should seniors do?
Those are only suggestions! Take some time to find something that you like! Share it in the comments please! We will all benefit.
Don’t let your age limit you. Find some exercises that you can do and get started! Yes, it takes some discipline and planning, but don’t the benefits outweigh the cost? I think so!
Please contact your doctor before you start any new exercise program. Safety first!
I am not a medical professional. Therefore, this article is for information purposes only. I hope it gets you moving, if only a little bit. I like to see my fellow senior citizens living their best life.
Sometimes I have affiliate links in an article where I earn a fee if a purchase is made. I do not have any such links in this article. All links are informational only.