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45+ Best Fall Prevention Exercises: The Ultimate Guide for Older Adults

Many older adults take their balance and fall prevention exercises for granted until they experience their first fall.

Falling not only can cause serious injury, but it can also lead to a fear of falling, decreased activity level or social participation, and results in an even higher risk of falling again.

That is the vicious fall cycle:

Fall Cycle
Fall Cycle

It’s no secret that falls are a leading cause of injury and death among older adults.

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one out of every four Americans aged 65 years or older falls each year, and falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among this population.

With a little bit of effort, you can prevent falls and maintain your balance well into old age.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your balance and prevent falls, look no further!

This article provides 45+ of the best balance and fall prevention exercises for older adults based on The Book of Balance: Rehab Secrets to Improve Your Balance and Decrease Your Risk of Falling.

In this article, we will explore the best fall prevention exercises for older adults and provide you with a guide on how to safely perform them.

Stay safe and stay balanced!

Take back your confidence and banish your fear of falling! Get my QUICK and EASY Guide to Improve Your Balance at Home for free here.

 

Table of Contents

What Are the Best Fall Prevention Exercises for Older Adults?

Here are my top picks for the best fall prevention exercises, organized according to their levels of difficulty and the different areas they help with your balance:

What Is Sensory Training?

Multi-sensory training is a set of exercises designed to sharpen or improve the function of the three sensory systems your body primarily uses to keep your balance.

Sensory training is often a forgotten, but essential, component of fall prevention exercises.

These three primary sensory systems for balance are:

  • Visual System
  • Vestibular System
  • Somatosensory or Proprioceptive System

What Are the Best Sensory Training Exercises for Balance?

Side-to-Side Head Motion, Eyes Open

sensory exercise for fall prevention
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor, hands resting on your lap or chair.
  2. Move your head from one side to the other at a speed you are comfortable with.
  3. Keep your eyes open as you focus on objects from side to side.
  4. Repeat 10 times.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will improve your ability to control your eye movements as you move your head from side to side, reducing episodes of dizziness or loss of balance when you look or move your head from side to side.

Up and Down Head Motion, Eyes Open

sensory exercises for fall prevention
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor, hands resting on your lap or chair.
  2. Move your head to look up and down at a speed you are comfortable with.
  3. Keep your eyes open as you focus on objects from the floor to the ceiling.
  4. Repeat 10 times.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will improve your ability to control your eye movements as you move your head up and down, reducing episodes of dizziness or loss of balance when you look or move your head up and down.

Side-to-Side Head Motion, Eyes Closed

sensory exercises for fall prevention
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor, hands resting on your lap or chair.
  2. With your eyes closed, move your head from one side to the other at a speed you are comfortable with.
  3. Repeat 10 times.

Why do this exercise?

By eliminating your visual feedback, you sharpen your sense of touch and inner ear systems to help keep your balance when you move your head or look side-to-side in a low-light situation.

Up and Down Motion, Eyes Closed

sensory exercises for fall prevention
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor, hands resting on your lap or chair.
  2. With your eyes closed, move your head up and down at a speed you are comfortable with.
  3. Repeat 10 times.

Why do this exercise?

By eliminating your visual feedback, you sharpen your sense of touch and inner ear systems to help keep your balance when you move your head or look up and down in a low-light situation.

Sitting Smooth Pursuit

sitting smooth pursuit exercises
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold a pen (or business card) in front of you.
  3. Keep your head still while your eyes are focused on the pen.
  4. Move the pen (or business card) from side-to-side or up/down, following it with your eyes only.
  5. Perform 15-20 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

Tip: Start this exercise with slow movement and gradually increase to a more rapid rate as your tolerance and level of comfort improve.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will re-train the movement of your eyes, independently of your head.

The goal of this exercise is for your brain to learn to tolerate and accurately interpret information coming from your different sensory systems.

Sitting Saccade

sitting saccade
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold two pens (or business cards) placed about 12 inches apart in front of you.
  3. Keep your head still and move your eyes quickly to focus on the pens from side to side.
  4. Perform 15-20 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will re-train the movement of your eyes, independently of your head.

As your brain learns to adapt to these eye movements, you will find that your tolerance to look quickly in different directions without getting dizzy will improve.

This skill comes in handy when you are walking in crowded areas or when you must look quickly at different targets without losing your balance.

Sitting Gaze Stabilization

sitting gaze stabilization exercise
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold a pen (or business card) in front of you.
  3. Keep your eyes focused on the pen while moving your head from side to side or up/down.
  4. Perform 15-20 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

Tip: The pen (or business card) must remain in focus, not blurry, and appear stationary while your head is in motion.

Start this exercise with slow movement and gradually increase to a more rapid rate as long as the target remains in focus.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will help stabilize your focus independent of your head movement.

As your brain learns to adapt to these head movements, you will find that you can maintain your focus on a target even when you are moving your head.

This skill comes in handy when you need to focus on a stationary target even as your head or body is moving; for instance, while walking in a crowded street.

Standing Forward Arm Raises, Eyes Closed

standing arm raises
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. With your eyes closed, alternately raise your left and right arms up in front of you.
  3. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions each.

Why do this exercise?

By eliminating your visual feedback, you sharpen your inner ear function and your sense of touch on the soles of your feet.

Improving your balance by improving your sensory acuity makes this exercise a simple but one of the most effective fall prevention exercises.

Standing Side Arm Raises, Eyes Closed

standing side arm raises
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. With your eyes closed, raise both left and right arms up on your side.
  3. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions each.

Why do this exercise?

By eliminating your visual feedback, you sharpen your inner ear function and your sense of touch on the soles of your feet.

Improving your balance by improving your sensory acuity makes this exercise a simple but one of the most effective fall prevention exercises.

Standing Smooth Pursuit

standing fall prevention exercises
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Hold a pen (or business card) in front of you.
  3. Keep your head still while your eyes are focused on the pen.
  4. Move the pen (or business card) from side-to-side or up/down, following it with your eyes only.
  5. Perform 15-20 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

Tip: Start this exercise with slow movement and gradually increase to a more rapid rate as your tolerance and level of comfort improve.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise is a progression of the smooth pursuit exercise you did while sitting.

By standing, you are reducing your surface support and feedback from the wider surface of your buttocks when you are sitting, to a smaller surface support, the soles of your feet when you are standing.

Standing Saccade

standing saccadic exercise
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Hold two pens (or business cards) placed about 12 inches apart in front of you.
  3. Keep your head still and move your eyes quickly to focus on the pens (or business cards) from side-to-side or up/down.
  4. Perform 15-20 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise is a progression of the saccade exercise you did while sitting.

By standing, you are reducing your surface support and feedback from the wider surface of your buttocks when you are sitting, to a smaller surface support, the soles of your feet when you are standing.

Standing Gaze Stabilization

standing gaze stabilization exercise
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold a pen (or business card) in front of you.
  3. Keep your eyes focused on the pen while moving your head from side-to-side or up and down.
  4. Perform 15-20 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

Tip: The pen (or business card) must remain in focus, not blurry, and appear stationary while your head is in motion.

Start this exercise with slow movement and gradually increase to a more rapid rate as long as the target remains in focus.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise is a progression of the gaze stabilization exercise you did while sitting.

By standing, you are reducing your surface support and feedback from the wider surface of your buttocks when you are sitting, to a smaller surface support, the soles of your feet when you are standing.

Standing Ball Toss with Eye Tracking

fun fall prevention exercises
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Hold a tennis ball in one hand.
  3. Toss the tennis ball to your other hand, following the ball with your eyes.
  4. Perform 10-12 repetitions.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will challenge your balance while performing quick body movements with eye-tracking.

This will improve your reactive and anticipatory postural control responses by improving your reaction speed and coordination.

Bouncing/Catching a Ball

fun fall prevention exercises
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Hold a tennis ball in one hand.
  3. Bounce the tennis ball on the floor and catch it with the same hand.
  4. Perform 10-12 repetitions on each hand.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will challenge your balance while performing quick body movements with eye-tracking.

This will improve your reactive and anticipatory postural control responses by improving your reaction speed and coordination.

Standing Visual-Vestibular Exercises

standing gaze stabilization exercises
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Holding a pen (or business card) as a target, keep your eyes fixed on the target.
  3. Slowly move the target up-down, side-to-side, or diagonally.
  4. Follow your target with your eyes and head moving in the same direction.
  5. Perform 5 repetitions in each direction.

Tip: As you get comfortable with this exercise, change the position of your feet by following the foot patterns illustrated above.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will sharpen your visual and vestibular functions by improving your visual focus while your head is moving.

Gaze Stabilization with One Foot on Step

gaze stabilization exercises for fall prevention
  1. Stand with one foot on a step or step stool.
  2. Look at a stationary object or target 5-8 feet away from you.
  3. Keep your eyes focused on the stationary object or target while moving your head side-to-side or up and down.
  4. Perform 15-20 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise is a progression of the gaze stabilization exercise you did while standing.

By placing one foot up on a step or step stool, you are reducing your reliance on an even surface support for balance while emphasizing a stable visual focus.

Gaze Stabilization while Marching

gaze stabilization exercises for fall prevention
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Look at a stationary object or target 5-8 feet away from you.
  3. Start marching in place.
  4. While marching in place, keep your eyes focused on the stationary object or target while moving your head side-to-side or up and down.
  5. Perform 15-20 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

Why do this exercise?

Marching in place adds a dynamic component that will improve your balance and motion sensitivity while emphasizing a stable visual focus.

Gaze Stabilization while Standing on a Balance Pad

standing gaze stabilization exercises for fall prevention
  1. Stand on a balance pad or thick carpet with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Look at a stationary object or target 5-8 feet away from you.
  3. Keep your eyes focused on the stationary object or target while moving your head side-to-side or up and down.
  4. Perform 15-20 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

Tip: As you get comfortable with this exercise, change the position of your feet by following the foot patterns illustrated above.

Using a balance pad increases the degree of difficulty of your balance exercise, making this exercise tool one of the best tools to use for fall prevention exercises.

Why do this exercise?

By standing on a balance pad or thick carpet, you are reducing your reliance on a stable support surface to keep your balance.

This exercise emphasizes a stable visual focus, allowing you to keep your balance even when you are standing on a less stable surface.

Smooth Pursuit while Standing on a Balance Pad

  1. Stand on a balance pad or thick carpet with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Hold a pen (or business card) in front of you.
  3. Keep your head still while your eyes are focused on the pen.
  4. Move the pen (or business card) from side-to-side or up/down, following it with your eyes only.
  5. Perform 15-20 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

Tip: As you get comfortable with this exercise, change the position of your feet by following the foot patterns illustrated above.

Changing the positions of your feet during these exercises makes this fall prevention exercises extra challenging.

Why do this exercise?

By standing on a balance pad or thick carpet, you are reducing your surface support and feedback, stimulating increased use of your visual and vestibular systems for balance.

Saccades while Standing on a Balance Pad

saccadic exercises
  1. Stand on a balance pad or thick carpet with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Hold two pens (or business cards) placed about 12 inches apart in front of you.
  3. Keep your head still and move your eyes quickly to focus on the pens (or business cards) from side-to-side or up/down.
  4. Perform 15-20 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

Tip: As you get comfortable with this exercise, change the position of your feet by following the foot patterns illustrated above.

Why do this exercise?

By standing on a balance pad or thick carpet, you are reducing your surface support and feedback, stimulating increased use of your visual and vestibular systems for balance.

Gaze Stabilization while Standing on a Balance Pad

gaze stabilization for fall prevention
  1. Stand on a balance pad or thick carpet with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Hold a pen (or business card) in front of you.
  3. Keep your eyes focused on the pen while moving your head from side to side or up and down.
  4. Perform 15-20 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

Tip: As you get comfortable with this exercise, change the position of your feet by following the foot patterns illustrated above.

Why do this exercise?

By standing on a balance pad or thick carpet, you are reducing your surface support and feedback, stimulating increased use of your visual and vestibular systems for balance.

Visual-Vestibular Exercise while Standing on a Balance Pad

fall prevention exercises
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Holding a pen (or business card) as a target, keep your eyes fixed on the target.
  3. Slowly move target up-down, side-to-side, or diagonally.
  4. Follow your target with your eyes and head moving in the same direction.
  5. Perform 5 repetitions in each direction.

Tip: As you get comfortable with this exercise, change the position of your feet by following the foot patterns illustrated above.

Why do this exercise?

By standing on a balance pad or thick carpet, you are reducing your surface support and feedback, stimulating increased use of your visual and vestibular systems for balance.

Get my QUICK and EASY GUIDE to Improve Your Balance at Home for free here.

What is a Stabilization Exercise?

Stabilization exercises are a set of exercises designed to increase the strength of trunk muscles and improve your postural control, or your ability to control the position of your body.

What Are the Best Stabilization Exercises for Balance?

Supported Front-Back Weight Shifting

stabilization exercises for fall prevention
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor, hands on your lap or chair for support.
  2. Lean forward through your hips, bringing your nose over your knees.
  3. Hold the position for 3-5 seconds then return to the starting position.
  4. Lean backward through your hips.
  5. Hold the position for 3-5 seconds then return to the starting position.
  6. Perform 10 repetitions in each direction

Why do this exercise?

Having a strong stomach, trunk, and back muscles will improve your ability to control your posture and balance when you lean backward or reach forward.

Core strengthening exercises are another component of fall prevention exercises that are often underutilized.

Supported Side-to-Side Weight Shifting

stabilization exercises
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor, hands holding on the chair for support.
  2. Lean your head, shoulder, and arm so that your weight is shifted toward one side.
  3. Hold the position for 3-5 seconds then return to the starting position.
  4. Lean toward the opposite side.
  5. Hold the position for 3-5 seconds then return to the starting position.
  6. Perform 10 repetitions in each direction.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will help with your ability to control your posture and balance when you perform functional activities requiring you to bend or reach in multiple directions.

Unsupported Front-Back Weight Shifting

stabilization exercises
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor, arms crossed on your chest.
  2. Lean forward through your hips, bringing your nose over your knees.
  3. Hold the position for 3-5 seconds, then return to the starting position.
  4. Lean backward through hips.
  5. Hold the position for 3-5 seconds, then return to the starting position.
  6. Perform 10 repetitions in each direction.

Why do this exercise?

This is a progression of the supported front/back weight-shifting exercise above. This exercise will improve your ability to control your posture and balance when you lean forward or backward without using your hands for support.

Unsupported Side-to-Side Weight Shift

stabilization exercises
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor, arms crossed on your chest.
  2. Lean your body toward one side as far as you can without losing your balance.
  3. Hold the position for 3-5 seconds, then return to the starting position.
  4. Lean toward the opposite side.
  5. Hold the position for 3-5 seconds, then return to the starting position.
  6. Perform 10 repetitions in each direction.

Why do this exercise?

This is a progression of the side-to-side weight-shifting exercise you above. This exercise will improve your ability to control your posture and balance when you reach for objects on your side.

Segmental Neck and Trunk Rotation

  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor.
  2. With your knees together, first rotate your neck to one side, followed by your trunk rotating toward the same side.
  3. Hold the position for 3-5 seconds.
  4. Return to the starting position, then perform on the other side.
  5. Perform 10 repetitions in each direction.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will improve your ability to look over your shoulder without losing your balance.

Improving your neck and trunk’s range-of motion makes this exercise one of the best fall prevention exercises.

Sitting Twist and Turn

stabilization exercises
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Imagine picking up objects on the right side of the floor and placing it up on your left side.
  3. Return to the original position.
  4. Imagine picking up objects on the left side of the floor and placing it up on your right side.
  5. Return to the original position.
  6. Perform 10 repetitions on each side.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will improve the strength of your core and trunk muscles to improve your trunk control and balance during functional activities requiring trunk rotation.

Standing Forward Reach

standing forward reach exercise
  1. Stand 15 inches away from an object placed in front of you.
  2. Without moving your feet, reach as far forward as you can toward the object without losing your balance.
  3. Return to the original position.
  4. Perform 8-10 repetitions with each hand.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will increase your “margin of stability” by improving your ability to control your trunk and posture.

Improving your trunk and posture control will help you maintain your balance while performing functional activities.

Standing Side Reach 

balance and fall prevention exercises
  1. Stand 15 inches away from an object placed at your side.
  2. Without moving your feet, reach as far as you can toward the object at your side without losing your balance.
  3. Return to the original position.
  4. Perform 8-10 repetitions on each side.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will increase your “margin of stability” by improving your ability to control your trunk and posture.

Improving your trunk and posture control will help you maintain your balance while reaching for objects on your side.

Forward/Backward Weight Shift

balance and fall prevention exercises
  1. Stand near a counter or chair to hold on to in case of balance loss.
  2. Leading with your upper body, gently lean forward until you feel your body weight shift toward the ball of your feet or your toes.
  3. Return to the original position.
  4. Leading with your upper body, gently lean backward until you feel your body weight shift toward the heels of your feet.
  5. Return to the original position.
  6. Perform 8-10 repetitions in each direction.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will improve your ankle strategy by strengthening your postural muscles.

This will also increase your awareness of your center of gravity and the limits of your stability.

Side-to-Side Weight Shift

balance and fall prevention exercises
  1. Stand near a counter or chair to hold on to in case of balance loss.
  2. Leading with your upper body, gently lean toward your right side until you feel your body weight shift toward your right foot.
  3. Return to the original position.
  4. Leading with your upper body, gently lean toward your left side until you feel your body weight shift toward your left foot.
  5. Return to the original position.
  6. Perform 8-10 repetitions in each direction.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will strengthen your postural muscles as well as increase your awareness of your center of gravity and the limits of your stability.

Forward Reach while Standing on Balance Pad

balance and fall prevention exercises
  1. Stand on a balance pad or thick carpet with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Place an object 15 inches in front of you.
  3. Without moving your feet, reach as far forward as you can toward the object without losing your balance.
  4. Return to the original position.
  5. Perform 8-10 repetitions with each hand.

Why do this exercise?

This is a progression of the forward reach exercise you performed at the prior level.

By standing on a balance pad or thick carpet, you are reducing the stability of your support surface, thereby challenging your balance even more.

This exercise will increase your “margin of stability” by improving your ability to control your trunk and posture.

Side Reach while Standing on Balance Pad

balance and fall prevention exercises
  1. Stand on a balance pad or thick carpet with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Place an object 15 inches to your side.
  3. Without moving your feet, reach as far as you can toward the object at your side without losing your balance.
  4. Return to the original position.
  5. Perform 8-10 repetitions on each side.

Why do this exercise?

This is a progression of the side reach exercise you performed at the prior level.

By standing on a balance pad or thick carpet, you are reducing the stability of your support surface, thereby challenging your balance even more.

This exercise will increase your “margin of stability” by improving your ability to control your trunk and posture.

Standing Foot Drawings

fun balance exercises
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Shift your weight to one side.
  3. Point the opposite foot forward to draw an imaginary square or circle on the floor.
  4. Draw 10 imaginary squares or circles on the floor with each foot.

Why do this exercise?

This is a fun exercise to challenge your balance by standing on one stable foot while the other foot is moving.

This exercise will improve your agility and weight-shifting abilities during stepping and walking. It is one of my favorite fall prevention exercises!

Standing Ball Rolling

fun balance exercises
  1. Stand with a ball underneath one foot.
  2. Hold on to a chair or counter for support.
  3. Slowly roll the ball in a circular pattern on the floor.
  4. “Draw” 10 circles on the floor with each foot.

Why do this exercise?

Another fun exercise to challenge your balance by standing on one stable foot while the other foot is moving or unsteady.

This exercise will improve your weight-shifting abilities and agility during stepping and walking.

Standing while Reading a Book

fun balance exercises
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. After every paragraph you read in a book, change the position of your feet by following the foot patterns illustrated above.

Why do this exercise?

This is a great way to improve your balance without having to always look down at your feet.

Looks easy but many people find this exercise challenging. Definitely one of the more challenging fall prevention exercises for my patients!

What Is a Transition Exercise?

Transition exercises are sets of exercises designed to help you prevent balance loss when you’re changing positions.

What Are the Best Transition Exercises for Balance?

Step-Ups

balance and fall prevention exercises
  1. Stand 6-8 inches in front of a step or step stool.
  2. Start with one foot up on the step or step stool.
  3. Step up by bringing your other foot up on the step or step stool.
  4. Slowly step back down by bringing one foot back to the floor.
  5. Perform 10 repetitions on each side.

Why do this exercise?

Some falls happen during the transition movement of stepping up or down.

This exercise will not only strengthen the muscles in your buttocks, hips, thighs, and legs, it will also train your brain and body to anticipate the postural changes required to step up or step down without losing your balance.

Side Step-ups

balance and fall prevention exercises
  1. Stand on the side of a step or step stool.
  2. Start with one foot up on the step or step stool.
  3. Keeping your trunk straight, step up by bringing your other foot up on the step or step stool.
  4. Slowly step back down by bringing one foot back to the floor.
  5. Perform 10 repetitions on each side.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will strengthen the muscles in your buttocks, the side of your hips, thighs, and legs.

This will also strengthen your postural muscles that are required to keep your pelvis even and your posture erect while standing and walking.

One-Legged Stance

one-legged stance exercise
  1. Stand with both feet hip-width apart.
  2. Hold on to a chair or counter for support.
  3. Bring one foot off the floor and hold the position for 3-5 seconds.
  4. Slowly bring your foot back down to the original position.
  5. Perform 10 repetitions on each side.

Tip: As you get more comfortable with this exercise, perform the progression of the exercise by first touching the chair or counter with just your fingertips.

Second, do not touch/hold on to the chair or counter.

Third, close your eyes without touching the chair or counter.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will train your brain and body to maintain your balance while standing on one foot.

If you think about it, you are standing on one foot each time you swing one leg forward to take a step!

Stand on Tiptoes and Reach Overhead

balance and fall prevention exercise
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Shift your weight forward and stand on your toes.
  3. Reach up with your hands as high as you can without losing your balance.
  4. Hold the position for 3-5 seconds.
  5. Bring your hands down to your sides and go back to the original position.
  6. Perform 8-10 repetitions.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise simulates the movement and balance required when reaching for objects overhead.

What Is Step Training?

Step training is a set of exercises designed to improve the control and coordination of your steps, and your agility and reaction time.

What Are the Best Step Training Exercises for Balance?

Follow the progression of step training exercises I designed below:

Half-Star Stepping in Sitting Position

stepping strategy exercises
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Set your metronome to between 30-60 beats per minute (bpm), depending on your comfort level and reaction time.
  3. Follow each beat of the metronome by stepping as far as you can to each point of an imaginary half-star on the floor.
  4. Perform 2-3 sets of 2 minutes.

Tip #1: If you do not have a metronome, you can use a free metronome by searching “metronome” on Google, or you can download a free app on your smartphone.

Tip #2: Start with the lowest number of beats per minute you are comfortable with, and as your reaction time improves, increase the frequency of the metronome by 5-10 bpm until you reach 60 bpm or higher.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will improve your stepping strategy by improving your reaction time and increasing the accuracy of your foot placement.

Stepping Exercise in Sitting + Cognitive Task

stepping strategy exercises
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Set your metronome to between 30-60 beats per minute (bpm), depending on your comfort level and reaction time.
  3. Follow each beat of the metronome by stepping as far as you can to each point of an imaginary half-star on the floor.
  4. Perform this stepping exercise while you have your TV on in front of you. This will add another task demanding your attention while you perform your stepping exercise.
  5. Repeat 2-3 sets of 2 minutes each.

Tip: Start with the lowest number of beats per minute you are comfortable with, and as your reaction time improves, increase the frequency of the metronome by 5-10 bpm until you reach 60 bpm.

Why do this exercise?

This is a dual-task exercise that will improve your stepping strategy for balance while performing two different tasks simultaneously.

Star Stepping

stepping strategy for balance and fall prevention
  1. Stand in the middle of an imaginary star on the floor.
  2. Set your metronome to between 30-60 beats per minute (bpm), depending on your comfort level and reaction time.
  3. Follow each beat of the metronome by stepping as far as you can to each point of an imaginary star on the floor.
  4. Repeat 2-3 sets of 2 minutes each.

Tip #1: Start with the lowest number of beats per minute you are comfortable with, and as your reaction time improves, increase the frequency of the metronome by 5-10 bpm until you reach 60 bpm.

Tip #2: Take a big step, because only with a big step can you effectively catch yourself if you lose your balance.

Why do this exercise?

This is a progression of the step training you performed while sitting.

This exercise will improve your stepping strategy by increasing the accuracy of your foot placement and improving your reaction time and coordination.

Star Step with Gaze Stabilization

stepping strategy exercises
  1. Stand in the middle of an imaginary star on the floor.
  2. Set your metronome to between 30-60 beats per minute (bpm), depending on your comfort level and reaction time.
  3. While looking at an object or target 5-8 feet away from you, follow each beat of the metronome by stepping as far as you can to each point of an imaginary star on the floor.
  4. Repeat 2-3 sets of 2 minutes each.

Tip: Take a big step because only with a big step can you effectively catch yourself if you lose your balance.

Why do this exercise?

This exercise will improve your stepping strategy by increasing the accuracy of your foot placement, reaction time, and coordination.

By looking at a stationary object or target, you are sharpening your gaze direction and visual acuity during activities involving active head and body movements.

Star Step + Cognitive Task

stepping strategy exercises
  1. Stand in the middle of an imaginary star on the floor.
  2. Set your metronome to between 30-60 beats per minute (bpm), depending on your comfort level and reaction time.
  3. Follow each beat of the metronome by stepping as far as you can to each point of an imaginary star on the floor.
  4. Each time you take a step, concurrently count down by 3’s from 100-0 (100, 97, 94, 91…)
  5. Repeat 2-3 sets of 2 minutes each.

Tip: Take a big step, as only with a big step can you effectively catch yourself if you lose your balance.

Why do this exercise?

This is a dual-task exercise that will improve your stepping strategy by increasing the accuracy of your foot placement, reaction time, and coordination while performing a concurrent cognitive task.

Star Step + Secondary Motor Task

stepping strategy exercises
  1. Stand in the middle of an imaginary star on the floor.
  2. Set your metronome to between 30-60 beats per minute (bpm), depending on your comfort level and reaction time.
  3. Place a tennis ball on a plastic plate or tray. (Or hold a glass of water.)
  4. While holding the plate or tray with the tennis ball (or a glass of water), follow each beat of the metronome by stepping as far as you can to each point of an imaginary star on the floor.
  5. Each time you take a step, concurrently count down by 3’s from 100-0 (100, 97, 94, 91, etc.)
  6. Repeat 2-3 sets of 2 minutes each.

Tip: Take a big step because only with a big step can you effectively catch yourself if you lose your balance.

Why do this exercise?

This is a dual-task exercise requiring your attention on two concurrent activities.

This exercise will improve your coordination and balance while performing two different tasks at the same time.

Summary

Fall prevention is a serious concern for elderly people, who are at higher risk of falls than any other age group.

Luckily there are many exercises that can help older adults stay safe and healthy through the changing seasons.

From strength training to balance rehabilitation, these 45+ best fall prevention exercises will keep you on your feet all year long!

Dr. Lex Gonzales
Dr. Lex Gonzales, PT, DPT is an author and speaker who has been working as a licensed healthcare professional for over 24 years. On drlexgonzales.com he provides quality information and practical solutions you can use to achieve the best version of your healthy self.

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