Balance Exercises For Seniors

balance exercise for seniors

Keeping seniors healthy, strong, and mobile is one of the best ways to prevent trip and fall accidents that land seniors in hospitals, surgery suites, and post-acute rehabilitation centers. As an article on warns us, “…even minor trauma can require hospitalization, and [seniors] many never regain the level of functionality and confidence they enjoyed before falling. 

Don’t let that happen to your senior loved one. Instead, make sure s/he has access to regular exercise support, as well as good nutrition, social engagement, and regular wellness check-ins. 

7 Balance Exercises You Can Do With Seniors 

Exercise is always more fun when you can do it with a partner or group. Whenever possible, enroll seniors in senior-specific or senior-friendly exercise classes in the community. This can range from water exercise classes to taking senior yoga or pilates at the local senior center. 

Whichever exercise options you choose, make sure that part of their exercise time is dedicated to balancing exercises. Balance exercises specifically work to strengthen core and leg muscles, and also to hone the connection between the eyes, brain, and ears to strengthen an individual’s center of balance. In addition to minimizing a senior’s fall potential, better balance helps seniors recover in a shaky or “almost tripped” moment. 

First: Review Some Senior Balance Basics 

Before starting any of these exercises or postures, make sure to review the basics, which include: 

  • Getting approval from a physician or primary healthcare provider 
  • Using good posture throughout the exercise to work all of the core and peripheral muscles at the same time as you focus on specific muscle groups 
  • Start each exercise on the “non-dominant” or “weaker” leg or side, so the other side feels easier 
  • Always perform balance exercises with a sturdy chair, tabletop, counter, or couch back within easy reach so you have stability when you need it 
  • Don’t be afraid to widen your stance or stop and start over if you start to lose your balance 
  • As balance improves, try to hone balance even further by shutting one eye, both eyes, or looking up at the ceiling to give yourself fan extra  

Rock the boat  


  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. 
  • Lift your arms and extend them out to the sides. 
  • Lift your left foot off the floor and bend your knee to bring your heel toward your bottom. 
  • Hold this position for up to 30 seconds. 
  • Then do the opposite side. 
  • Do each side 3 times 

Walking heel to toe 

(Philips Lifeline

This exercise uses a “concentrated” dose of walking to strengthen legs, which increases overall balance when walking in real life. 

  • Put your right foot in front of your left foot so that the heel of your right foot touches the top of the toes of your left foot.  
  • Move your left foot in front of your right, putting your weight on your heel.  
  • Then, shift your weight to your toes.  
  • Repeat the step with your left foot.  
  • Walk this way for 20 steps. 

Backward leg raises 


For this exercise, stand up straight with your feet planted firmly shoulder-width apart, holding the chair in front of you for support. 

  • Slowly lift your right leg out behind you. 
  • Keep your leg straight and avoid bending your knee. You do not need to go far back to feel the benefits of this exercise.  
  • Hold the position to work the muscles in your bottom, your core, and the lower back.  
  • Repeat with the left leg and work up to ten repetitions, perhaps noticing any change in how far back your leg naturally reaches. 



  • Stand tall with your back facing a sturdy chair and your feet hip-width apart. If needed, hold on to the wall or a sturdy piece of furniture for balance.  
  • As you get stronger, perform the move without holding on to anything. 
  • From here, sit back and slowly lower your hips onto the chair as gently as possible. 
  • Pause, and without swinging your torso, push through your heels to stand up.  
  • Perform 10 repetitions. 

Clock reach 

(Philips Lifeline

You’ll need a chair for this exercise. 

Imagine that you are standing in the center of a clock. The number 12 is directly in front of you and the number 6 is directly behind you.  

  • Hold the chair with your left hand, and look straight ahead the whole time. 
  • Lift your right leg and extend your right arm so it’s pointing to the number 12.  
  • Next, point your arm towards the number three, and finally, point it behind you at the number 6.  
  • Bring your arm back to the number three, and then to the number 12.  
  • Repeat this exercise twice per side. 

Do it with a balance exercise video 

Do you prefer to exercise with some visual examples or the voice of an encouraging instructor? There are so many YouTube videos out there, all dedicated to balance exercises and strength training for seniors. Some of our favorites are: 

Take a senior yoga class 

Would you rather take a class? We understand. Taking an exercise class not only optimizes overall health, but they also foster social engagement and connection. If you can’t find a yoga class offered at the local senior center or a senior yoga section isn’t available at a local yoga studio, look for yoga classes advertised for beginners or as “gentle yoga” classes, and the instructor can modify exercises, stretches, and poses as needed. 

Also, read our post, The Benefits of Yoga For Seniors. 

Caregivers Can Get Your Senior Loved One Motivated 

Did you know that companion services offered by home care agencies can be used to support senior exercise routines? Our caregivers love to exercise with our clients because it keeps them fit as well. Plus, seniors and their families benefit from all of the other service benefits that come along with in-home care, such as transportation around town, errand running, meal preparation, personal care, light housekeeping, and more.  

Contact HomeAide Home Care to learn more about how our caregivers can support the overall health and wellbeing of your senior loved ones – including getting some balance into their lives. (510) 247-1200.

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