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This article is courtesy of Martim from dreamstrength.com

As we age, our balance naturally starts to decline. This is due to a number of factors, including the natural wear and tear on our body, changes in our balance mechanism, and even medications we may be taking. If you’re experiencing trouble with your balance, don’t worry – there are ways you can improve it! Exercise is one of the best methods to improve balance, and today we’ll discuss a few exercises that can help. Keep reading to learn more.

Heel Raises

Heel raises are a simple exercise that can help you improve your balance. To do this exercise, stand with your feet hip-width apart and raise your heels off the ground, keeping your toes on the ground. Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower your heels back to the ground. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times.

One-leg Stand

One-leg stand is another great exercise to improve your balance. To do this exercise, stand on one leg with your arms at your sides. Hold this position for as long as you can, then switch legs and repeat. Try to do 3-5 sets of 10-15 seconds per leg.

Note: If you are having a hard time keeping yourself balanced while doing this exercise, try standing in front of a wall with your fingertips touching it to give you support.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a form of martial arts that focuses on relaxation. It has been shown to improve balance, flexibility, and strength, and is a great exercise for people of all ages. If you’re interested in trying Tai Chi, be sure to find a certified instructor in your area.

Leg Swings

Leg swings are a great way to improve your balance and coordination. To do this exercise, stand with your feet hip-width apart and swing one leg, in front of the other, to the sides, keeping your hips and shoulders square. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times, then switch legs and repeat. You can also do this exercise by swinging the legs forth and back.

Lunges

Lunges are a great exercise to improve balance, coordination, and strength. To do a lunge, stand with your feet hip-width apart and take a large step forward with one leg. Bend your front knee and lower your hips until your front thigh is parallel to the ground. Keep your back straight and your head up. Hold this position for a few seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times, then switch legs and repeat.

Rock the Boat

Rock the Boat is a really good exercise for your balance and coordination. To do this exercise, stand with your feet hip-width apart and put your hands on your hips. Then, raise one foot off the ground to the side. Keep it up for as long as you can, but 30 seconds is enough. Aim for 10-15 repetitions with each foot.

Heel-to-toe walk

The heel-to-toe walk is another great exercise to improve your balance and coordination. To do this exercise, stand with your feet hip-width apart and place one heel in front of the other foot’s toes. Then, walk forward by moving your other heel to the ground in front of your toes. Be sure to keep your back straight and your head up. Walk forward for a few seconds, then reverse the movement and walk backward. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times.

Flamingo stand

To do the flamingo stand, stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold your arms at your sides. Then, slowly lift one leg off the ground and extend it out in front of you. Keep your hips and shoulders square, and hold this position for a few seconds. Then, return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. Try to do 3-5 sets of 10-15 seconds per leg.

Yoga and Pilates

Both Yoga and Pilates are great exercises for improving balance. Yoga is a mind-and-body practice that combines stretching and relaxation with breathing exercises. Pilates is a strength-training exercise that focuses on core stability and flexibility. Both Yoga and Pilates are great exercises for people of all ages, and they can be done at home or in a studio. If you’re interested in trying Yoga or Pilates, try to find a certified instructor in your area.

Knee Curl

The knee curl is another very good balance exercise. To do this exercise, put both hands on the back of a chair for support. Then, with your back straight, lift one foot off the ground till your buttock. Stay like this for a few seconds, then bring your foot back down. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times with each foot.

The Bottom Line

Balance is a complex topic. However, it’s something that we all deal with on a daily basis. If you’re not sure how to improve your balance or if you already have poor balance, don’t worry! The exercises provided in this article should give you some good ideas about what kind of exercises will help support better balance.

And these exercises aren’t only for elder people! We encourage adults of any age to work on their balance to prevent problems later. We also encourage people who are at risk for falls or injuries due to their lack of physical fitness to seek out professional advice from an occupational therapist as soon as possible so they can learn more about the best strategies for preventing such accidents from occurring. Also, if you usually do high-intensity exercise and are on a weight loss road, check out this list with the best pre-workout supplements that can help you lose weight.

Personal Alarms from Lifeline24

If you have concerns about your balance, you may wish to consider a personal alarm from Lifeline24. You can learn more by reading our personal alarm guide.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. You can call our team on 0800 999 0400.

For wheelchair users, it can often feel difficult to engage in regular exercise. Many workouts are not designed with the disabled in mind or require special equipment to accomplish. However, there are plenty of exercises for wheelchair users that are easy to do, regardless of age.

Benefits of Exercising

Regular exercise is essential to our wellbeing. It keeps fat off and strengthens muscles. These are not the only benefits, however. Exercising can have a major effect on mental health, helping to promote positivity and combatting boredom. If you can exercise with others, you will also lessen the impact of loneliness.

You will also find that regular exercise will improve your energy levels. Whilst exercises for wheelchair users may initially result in increased tiredness – which in turn may aid with a better night’s sleep – over time your body will become more efficient. This can make it easier to finish jobs throughout the day, whilst still having time for your hobbies.

The NHS recommends wheelchair users exercise for 150 minutes or more every week.

With these benefits in mind, here are 5 exercises for wheelchair users.

Exercises for Wheelchair Users

1. Shoulder Strength

It is important to keep your shoulders and arms strong, especially if you move yourself around in your wheelchair. Not only does this exercise serve as a good stretching routine before exercise, but it also benefits the muscles in your shoulders.

You begin by sitting up straight in your wheelchair and extending your arms forwards. Keep your hands facing the floor, and pretend you are holding onto a metal bar. Stretch your arms forward as far as is comfortable. When you cannot stretch any further, raise your arms and then reach behind you. Squeeze your shoulder blades together until it becomes uncomfortable, and then return your arms to the starting position.

If you are planning to perform more exercises for wheelchair users, do this a couple of times to get your muscles properly stretched. For a full workout, repeat this exercise ten times.

2. Weight Training

When you think of weight training, you might picture bodybuilders lifting huge barbells. This could make the idea of lifting weights intimidating. However, weight training is one of the best exercises for wheelchair users. Simply picking up a couple of dumbbells for half an hour every day will build up strength in your muscles.

Furthermore, engaging in weight training will work your muscles in different ways to pushing your wheelchair. These exercises for wheelchair users help to build the muscles that support those you use every day. When all your muscles are healthy, it makes tasks easier than if you are only using the muscles for that task. It also reduces the likelihood of injury.

Start small and build up to heavier weights. Get into the routine of setting aside some time for exercise every day. If you lack any dumbbells, a couple of bags of sugar or two bunches of bananas can serve as a convenient substitute. Make sure you do not rush into lifting more than you can handle. If possible, consider joining an exercise group.

3. Chest Squeeze

If you push yourself around in your wheelchair, you will already be building up your chest muscles. However, they may become strained from the motions. These exercises for wheelchair users help to prevent injury to the muscles you use every day.

A chest squeeze exercise is great for strengthening the muscles in your chest and back. All you need is a ball or balloon. If you don’t have these, you can also try it by pressing your palms together instead.

Sit up straight in your seat, with your stomach tensed, providing support for your back. Hold the ball (or balloon) at chest level, keeping a firm grip on it. Slowly push the ball forward, continuing to squeeze it. Once you have extended as far as you can go, slowly pull the ball back to your chest. Repeat this exercise ten times.

4. Side Bend Stretch

When you spend a lot of your time in a wheelchair, it is important that you strengthen your back muscles. Sometimes this can be accomplished by regular stretching. Stretching exercises for wheelchair users are limited by the chair itself. However, one effective technique is the side bend stretch.

To perform the side bend stretch, you need to sit up tall in your wheelchair. Ensure you are facing forward in your seat with your abdominal muscles contracted. Start by raising your left arm toward the ceiling, pressing your upper arm close to your ear. Keeping your arm in this position, slowly lean your upper body to the right. Go as far as is comfortable, aiming to form a “C” shape with your spine.

Hold the stretch for up to fifteen seconds, or as long as is comfortable. Slowly return to the starting position, and then repeat on the other side. You can perform this stretch a few times, but don’t push yourself too far.

5. Knee Lifts

If you can use your legs, performing knee lifts can help to strengthen your thighs and calves. This can then help to improve your mobility. One of the great things about exercises for wheelchair users is that, in some cases, they may help you to move around for longer periods without sitting down.

Like many wheelchair exercises, knee lifts require you to sit up straight in your chair. Stretch your legs a little bit by raising them up, one at a time, and turning the foot in a slow circle. Do this for a few seconds, and then place both feet flat on the ground. Lift the right leg slowly, bending the knee. Raise it as far as it can go and then lower it back down to the floor. Repeat with the other foot.

Continue this exercise, alternating the legs. Imagine you are marching in place. Attempt to perform your knee lifts for a few minutes, and then take a rest. If you feel up to it, repeat for another few minutes. Stop if it becomes uncomfortable or painful.

Staying Safe When Exercising

When performing these exercises for wheelchair users, it is important to stay safe. Make sure you have enough water and check your blood sugar levels if necessary. Keep a healthy snack close by for an extra boost of energy. You should also consult your GP before starting any new exercises regimes.

Another means of staying safe when exercising – or at any time – is to purchase a Lifeline alarm. Lifeline alarms offer 24/7 protection, 365 days a year. If you have a fall or feel unwell, all you need to do is press the button on your alarm pendant. Our trained Response Team will arrange support for you by alerting your emergency contacts and, if necessary, the emergency services.

You can find out more about our lifesaving devices by checking out our in-depth guide or by getting in touch with our helpful team.

Over the past couple of years, more than half of us have started taking up new forms of exercise. New trends are sweeping in to replace old habits, and outdoor exercise, in particular, is seeing a major boost in popularity. It’s great for getting you out of the house and helping you to connect with nature. If you’ve been thinking about getting back out there and improving your fitness, outdoor exercise may be the new habit you’ve been looking for.

Exercise Habits During Lockdown

At the beginning of the first national lockdown, exercise habits hit a temporary low. Gyms and leisure centres closed, classes were cancelled, and anxiety kept people indoors. Whilst home workouts saw an increase in popularity it was not until the sixth week of lockdown that the majority of people felt confident to leave their home for exercise.

With this change in attitude came a surge in outdoor exercise. This increase was most prevalent amongst people who were working from home. More than three quarters of home workers left the house to exercise, heading to their local parks. The increase in exercising coincided with an increased interest in nature-based activities such as birdwatching.

As we approach 2022, the popularity of outdoor exercise remains high, and it looks set to be the big fitness trend of the new year.

The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

Getting out and about does wonders for your wellbeing. Even a fifteen-minute walk can boost your mood and improve your health.

Improve Your Mental Health

Social distancing and shielding have led to a major increase in loneliness and isolation amongst the elderly. A lack of interaction with loved ones can often result in deteriorating mental health. Getting out of the house and going for a walk can help to alleviate stress. You may also bump into friends, allowing you to socialise.

Mental health can often take a hit in the winter months. Many people struggle over Christmas or in the New Year. You may have heard of the “winter blues” or “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)”; these are names given to seasonal patterns in mental health.

Whilst the weather may not be great, a short walk through your local park or down to the shops could help to clear your mind and improve your mood. If you are worried about a fall or feeling unwell, a GO GPS Alarm can provide additional peace of mind whilst out of the house.

Get Fit

It’s never too late to improve your fitness. It is just as important for the elderly to exercise as it is for anyone else. Regular exercise helps to combat high blood pressure, burn fat, and improve circulation. It will also help you to build up your strength, which can help prevent falls.

Walking is ideal for building up the muscles in your legs, and as you feel more confident, you may want to try other forms of exercise such as cycling. Of course, the most important thing is to know your limits. Whilst the NHS recommends doing 150 minutes of exercise a week, not all of this needs to be spent power-walking!

Connect With Nature

In an age of increasing urbanisation, many of us have lost our connection to the natural world. We might see the occasional bird through our kitchen window or enjoy the shade of a tree, but we’re rarely far away from the rushing of cars or the cold brick of a house. Outdoor exercise could be what you need to forge a newfound love for nature.

In fact in 2020, the RSPB saw an increase of web traffic with people looking for birdwatching hotspots. Taking some time every week to visit a nature trail affords you with plenty of opportunities for sighting elusive animals. A trip to a forest gets you away from the hustle and bustle of towns. If you have friends who are also looking to enjoy outdoor exercise, why not arrange a walking trip?

And you need not worry about getting lost or having a fall on your explorations. As well as most routes being well signposted, a GO GPS Alarm offers additional security when you’re not at home. A simple press of a button means help can be sent to you regardless of your location.

Combat Loneliness

Over the lockdowns, loneliness in the elderly population became far more prevalent. Social distancing and shielding meant that many elderly people were unable to see their loved ones. This had a drastic effect on their mental health.

Engaging in outdoor exercise enables you to spend time with friends or family. You will be out in the fresh air, taking time to catch up and have a laugh. This can help fight the symptoms of isolation and boost your mood.

Ideal Outdoor Exercise for the Elderly

Walking

Amongst the easiest forms of outdoor exercise to engage in, walking is great for building up your strength and getting outside. A steady walk can make it easy to clear your mind, and it’s a form of exercise that can be gradually increased in intensity. As you feel your strength improving, start picking up the pace every so often. Extend your routes and take different paths; a climb up a hill will push you harder.

Walking can aid with circulation, strengthens the heart and lungs, and has even been found to help prevent dementia. Plus, it’s one of the few forms of exercise that allows you to talk easily whilst doing it!

Cycling or Running

Cycling is great for building up muscle, but it also benefits your cardiovascular health and improves your balance. Maintaining good fitness in these areas will help you feel more confident at home, as you will be less likely to have a fall. Like walking, you can gradually increase your cycling habits. Start with short rides on level terrain, and slowly push yourself to cycle along longer routes with hills.

If you don’t have a bike, you can up your activity by going for a run. If walks are starting to feel a little too sedate, a steady jog will get the blood pumping. Even a five minute run once a week will do your body some good. Over time you will strengthen your muscles and build up your cardiovascular endurance. When you feel strong enough, why not join a fun run?

Gardening

Even just moving around in the garden counts as outdoor exercise. Watering your plants with a watering can helps to strengthen the muscles in your arm and digging up weeds can also be a good workout. Doing a few daily jobs in your garden will soon add up. The benefits of gardening include a lower risk of osteoporosis and some cancers; your mental health will also see an improvement.

And there is no need to worry about having a fall in your garden. The GO GPS Alarm does not rely on a base unit, meaning you can call for help no matter where you are.

Golf

A full game of golf can be a great workout, exercising your legs, arms, lungs, and heart. You could walk up to four miles for a single 18-hole game, and every swing you take will work your muscles. A few good stretches before you begin will ward off too many aches and pains. Of course, golf is also a very social game, which brings its own benefits to your wellbeing.

Yoga

Whilst yoga can easily be done in the comfort of your own home, there is something freeing about doing it in the open air. This is an activity best done in summer when the weather is warmer. Yoga helps to increase blood flow and relieve stress. It can also help with arthritis.

If you are unsure about trying yoga, or want to build up your strength first, consider reading our post on chair yoga. It will provide you with some easy poses to ease you into the art.

Swimming

Swimming in an outdoor pool may not be something you want to do in winter, but in summer it is great for building up strength without putting too much strain on the body. Water helps to cushion the joints, allowing you to move around without putting undue strain on your muscles. A few laps in the pool can help build up your cardio endurance. Alternatively, you may find that walking around a shallow pool is less tiring that a walk along a road.

For the more adventurous among you, why not try wild swimming? It comes with additional benefits, such as helping blood circulation in ways normal swimming does not.

Exercise Safely with Lifeline24

Here at Lifeline24 we want our customers to feel confident both at home and whilst out and about. As part of our commitment to your wellbeing, we offer the GO GPS Alarm. This fantastic device provides you with 24/7 coverage 365 days a year, regardless of your location.

Whether at home or out for a walk in the woods, when you press the button on your Go Anywhere device, a call will be put through to our Response Team. The GO GPS will automatically relay your location to the Response Team, allowing them to send help to your exact location.

For more information on the GO GPS Alarm, check out our simple guide. If you still have any questions, please do not hesitate to call our helpful customer service team on 0800 999 0400.

Want to order your alarm or have a question? Get in touch!