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As people grow older, their balance goes off. Agility and balance are two key areas of focus when it comes to physical fitness among older adults. Vidhya Kripashankar, a nutrition wellness guide at GetSetUp says older adults tend to face issues with balance, reaction time, speed, coordination, strength, agility, range of motion, etc.
“Loss of these abilities can make even simple daily activities challenging. Slips and falls become a common problem. Natural aging process does not mean that one has to become prone to falling. Physical exercise can help build strength and balance by improving flexibility and coordination. It not only makes bones and muscles stronger, but also improves blood flow, allowing the body to heal quicker. As a consequence, the risk of falls can be decreased significantly,” she says.
Kripashankar adds that becoming active can energise your mood, relieve stress, help manage pain and improve an overall sense of well-being. She advises choosing an exercise program of choice — it can be yoga (helps in breathing and practicing mindfulness ), Pilates (helps in strengthening core and muscle strength), strength training (strengthens your muscle), or aerobics (improves cardiovascular health).
“In addition to the daily dose of physical activity, there are certain exercises that one can incorporate into a routine to improve balance and agility,” she says. Read on to find out more.
* Side walking
Walk sideways, taking 10 to 15 steps to the right, and then to the left. If needed, hold on to a kitchen counter, table or wall for support.
* Pulling abdomen in
Pull your abdomen in towards your spine (tuck your stomach), hold for 5 seconds and then release. Repeat this 10-15 times, and try doing multiple sets a day. Once comfortable, you can even try it while walking or performing other activities. Keeping your abdomen tucked in protects your lower back.
* Balancing on one leg
Stand on both feet. Slowly lift one foot and hold it up for 10 seconds. Then switch legs. Repeat at least 5 to 10 times. Make sure you are close to a table or chair for support.
* Standup and sit down
Sit on a chair and get up in a standing position. Sit back down. Repeat this 15 times. This builds strength and endurance in the hip and thigh muscles, so repeat this multiple times a day.
* Leg swings
Stand on one leg. Move the other leg forward and back 10 times. Then move the same leg side to side like a pendulum 10 times. Then switch legs. This builds strength in the standing leg and helps in increasing mobility in the moving leg.
* Walking on a line
Walk forward keeping one foot at a time. Place the heel of one foot directly in front of the toes of the other foot. Same way, do reverse walking. Place the toes of one foot directly behind the heel of the other foot. Focus on one spot while walking.
“Start with the easiest exercises and gradually move to more challenging ones. Committing to a regular exercise routine will improve energy levels and overall well being,” she concludes.
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