With snow on the horizon, it may be a good idea to train your balance to prevent slips and falls on ice. Slips and falls are the second leading cause of death in seniors aged 65-84, and the leading cause of death for seniors aged 85+. Here are some exercises that you can try at home to improve your balance.
Single leg stance:
1) Stand with your feet hip width apart, with a table, chair or wall readily available to hold onto when feeling unsteady .
2) Lift one foot off the ground with feet separated and hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then return to the starting position.
3) Repeat on the opposite leg.
To increase difficulty, a soft pillow or foam may be stood on instead of the floor to create a more uneven surface. Alternatively, one may close their eyes to also increase the difficulty of this exercise.
Sit to Stand:
1) Sit at the edge of the chair, with knees bent 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor at hip width apart.
2) While keeping the neck and back neutral, lean slightly forward to shift weight to the heels.
3) Without using any momentum, slowly stand up by squeezing your gluteal muscles.
4) Repeat 6-10 times for 2-3 sets.
Other exercises such as balance board exercises, yoga, and tai chi are also excellent exercises to help train balance. Try what is best for you and prevent slipping this winter!