Benefits of Balance Exercises for the Elderly
While the benefits of exercises for all ages is pretty well documented, balance exercises don’t often get their due. This is particularly true in the case of balance exercises for the elderly. These are known to have a hugely positive impact on an individual's health and happiness, with plenty of fantastic elderly exercises for balance and brain function being available to those of all mobilities.
Why Do People Struggle With Their Balance as They Get Older?
There’s plenty of reasons a person could have increasing issues with balance. For example, if you experience issues of deterioration with your vision, this can lead to you easily misjudging distance. You can therefore reach forward to steady yourself on a nearby piece of furniture and, due to poor depth perception, miss the target and potentially suffer an injury.
Slower reaction times can also contribute to this problem, as an individual might not respond in time to adjust to the situation.
Another issue is the weakening of the body in general: in particular, in the hips and leg, which leads to a loss of stability. A common cause of falls is if a person struggles to lift their foot with ease and moves forward before it is fully off the crowd. This causes them to stumble and fall.
Problems with blood pressure and any number of medications can also make a person feel dizzy, which naturally would increase their chances of suffering a fall.
So how exactly can balance exercises for elderly people improve their lives and reduce their risk?
Balance Exercises for the Prevention of Injury
It’s no secret that any kind of injury at any age can have a devastating effect on a person’s quality of life. This is particularly true as we get older and our bodies don’t heal as quickly as they once did.
Falls are a major cause of injury and improving your balance fitness can hugely reduce the risk of one of these accidents occurring.
In fact, for someone who participates in these exercises regularly, it is estimated that the chances of falling and becoming injured are reduced by 37%. Furthermore, the chances of falling and becoming seriously injured reduces by 47% and the chances of a fall resulting in a broken bone reducing by 61%.
These figures are the result of a study by French researchers, which was published in 2013 by the British Medical Journal. It followed 17 trials and over 4,000 participants. It tested the effectiveness of programs aimed at improving individual’s ability to avoid falls and if a fall occurs, how they can minimise the potential damage it causes.
This would explain why the results for serious injury prevention and broken bones were much higher than general injury. Even if a fall does occur, with exercise, the harm they can cause can be reduced significantly.
Improve General Fitness
While simple balance exercises for elderly people might not burn too many calories or improve a person’s cardiovascular abilities very much, the effect they do have is hugely beneficial on their fitness as a whole.
There’s a few reasons for this. One is that balancing exercises do also require a degree of power and as a result, a person’s strength is likely to improve as a result. But also, most exercises, assuming they are not completed whilst sitting down, do require a degree of balance in themselves.
Improving a person’s balance and thus reducing the risk of injury can remove an obstacle preventing them from taking up a more active lifestyle. It can encourage them to take up more exercises in general with less fear of injury.
Improve Mental Health
Exercise in general improves a person’s psychological well-being. It can prevent and improve the effects of depression, lower feelings of stress and anxiety, as well as improve everything from post traumatic stress disorder and even ADHD. Not only that, but exercise is a great way to socialise.
Loneliness is one of the most pressing issues elderly people face. It increases blood pressure, as well as the risk of disability and stroke, alongside many of the psychological issues we’ve already mentioned. In fact, that impact of loneliness can be so significant, that it is comparable to the health implications of a smoking habit.
Therefore, exercises for elderly to improve balance, and by extension an ability to perform other exercises more often, is a double whammy of health benefits. It can improve a person’s health and happiness through physical and mental stimulation.
So, How Do You Get Started?
Exercises can start incredibly easy, becoming a little more challenging as abilities improve. What your starting point is entirely depends on your physical condition, although common examples include walking sideways and crossing one’s legs while standing. There’s even a range of sitting balance exercises for elderly to help ease you into it.
At Melrose Care Home, we understand this and take an individual approach to all of our exercise program. We ensure that there’s plenty of variety to suit all tastes and abilities. No matter what your fitness level, improvements can always be made, with fun balance exercises for elderly people that are both productive and social too.