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Elderly man practicing leg stretching while sitting in a chair

Fun Exercises and Activities to Help Seniors Prevent Falls

Falls are one of the greatest risks to the health and well-being of an older adult, but falls don’t need to be inevitable for older adults. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of five falls causes a serious injury and it’s estimated that 3 million people over the age of 65 are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries each year. Falling is also the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.  

The good news? You can take steps to minimize your risk of falling and injury. 

Help to prevent falls by eliminating these conditions 

Your risk of falling can increase for many reasons, including: 

  • Vitamin D deficiency 

  • Use of certain medications 

  • Vision problems 

  • Foot pain or ill-fitting footwear 

  • Home hazards such as broken steps or objects that can be tripped over 

Two additional reasons – lower body weakness and difficulties with walking and balance – can also contribute to falls, but taking action can keep you on your feet. 

Help to prevent falls with exercise 

Complete a few of these exercises at least 3-5 times a week to help prevent falls. If you’re unsteady to start, use a wall or sturdy chair to help keep your balance. Talk to your healthcare team first if you’re concerned about your ability or safety.  

1. Weight shifting 

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart. 

  • Shift your weight to one side, lifting your opposite foot off the floor.  

  • Hold 30 seconds or as long as you can and then shift to the other side.  

  • Repeat three times. 

2. One-legged balancing 

  • Start with feet at hip-width and hands on your hips.  

  • Lift one leg, bending at the knee and hold for up to 30 seconds.  

  • Switch to other leg and repeat 5 times. 

3. Heel-toe walk 

  • Stand with arms straight out and feet side by side.  

  • Take a step forward, placing the heel of your front foot directly in front of and touching the toe of your back foot.  

  • Take 10-20 steps to help with balance and to prevent falls. 

4. Leg raises 

  • Sit in chair with only your toes and balls of feet on the floor. 

  • Slowly extend one leg in front of you as straight as possible, but don’t lock your knee. 

  • Flex your foot and point toes toward the ceiling. Hold for 1 second and slowly lower leg. 

  • Repeat 10-15 times. Then switch to the other leg. 

5. Foot taps 

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart in front of a step or low piece of furniture. 

  • Slowly raise one foot to tap the step in front of you and then return to the floor. 

  • Perform 15-20 taps and then repeat with opposite leg. 

6. Head rotations 

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart. 

  • For 30 seconds, slowly move your head from side to side, then up and down, while keeping your body as still as possible. Repeat. 

  • If you begin feeling dizzy, move your head more slowly. If still dizzy, stop. 

7. Standing marches 

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart. 

  • Lift one knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor or as close as you can while keeping your torso straight. Avoid leaning. 

  • Pause, then slowly return your foot to the floor. 

  • Perform 20 marches, alternating between legs with each march. 

8. Sit-to-stands 

  • Stand with back facing a chair and feet hip-width apart. 

  • Sit back and slowly lower your hips on the chair gently. 

  • Without swinging your torso, push through your heels to stand up. 

  • Perform 10 times. 

9. Walking 

Walking is a great exercise to help prevent falls and can provide additional health benefits beyond toning muscles and gaining balance. Go for a walk in your neighborhood or try a shopping mall or museum if the weather is inclement so you still can get your exercise. 

Source: Department of Aging Ohio 

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Additional recommendations to help prevent falls 

Remember, you can have fun while learning how to prevent falls. Try different activities other than just a series of exercises, such as signing up for a tai chi class, swimming or even learning dance movements.  

It’s also important to fight back against any fear of falling you may have developed. Older adults who have fallen often respond with anxiety that it will happen again and they may begin avoiding physical activity. 

Talk to your medical team for suggestions, including working with a physical therapist who can create a custom exercise program to help prevent falls, improve your flexibility and gain confidence in your physical abilities. 

Life at a Milestone Community 

If you’re looking at options for retirement living, we invite your family to visit one of our Milestone communities - designed to support your loved ones to live their highest quality of life. 

We offer studio and one-bedroom private apartments for our assisted living residents as well as private or shared memory care suites for those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. We also offer studio, one and two-bedroom apartments in our independent living communities. 

Our memory care residents are cared for by our compassionate and specially trained team who meet them wherever they are in their journey with patience and kindness. The residents also have access to customized activities, programs and secured outdoor courtyard spaces. 

Our amenities and services encourage our residents in assisted living to engage with others, remain as independent as possible and be reassured that help is available whenever needed. 

In addition to our personalized services, we offer: 

  • Chef-prepared meals 

  • Full-service dining room and bistro/bar 

  • Clubroom with large screen and theater style seating 

  • Family gathering room 

  • Resident accessible chef’s kitchen garden 

  • Senior-inspired fitness center 

  • Hair and nail salon 

  • Resident-shared laundry rooms 

  • Elegantly designed common areas 

  • 24-hour on-duty care staff 

  • Scheduled transportation 

  • Secured community 

  • Direct access to adjoining walking paths and parks 

If your family is considering retirement living, we hope you will visit one of our communities. We are a trusted resource and are here to answer any questions. Please contact us with any questions you may have or to arrange a personal tour. 

We invite you to download our complimentary Senior Living Options Guide.  

senior living options guide download