As we age, it is important to maintain our independence, especially for simple tasks like getting out of a chair, using the washroom or cooking in the kitchen. Below we have shared some simple exercises designed to build strength and improve balance, helping to prevent falls that can lead to potentially serious injuries.
#1 – Hip Hinge
Begin in an upright standing position with your feet slightly wider than hip–width apart, maintaining good alignment with your head, shoulders and hips. Slightly bend your knees and pivot through your hips to bend your upper body forward, ideally bringing your back to be parallel to the floor. Raise back up to a standing position and repeat the movement.
#2 – Single Leg Hip Hinge
Begin in an upright standing position with one hand against the wall for balance. Place all of your weight on one leg. Slightly bend your supporting knee and hinge your hips, bending until your upper body is parallel to the floor while extending your opposite leg back. Be sure to keep your hips square and maintain good alignment with your upper body. Raise back up to a standing position and repeat the movement on the opposite side.
#3 – Chair Up
Begin in an upright sitting position with your feet flat on the floor, more than shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms in front of your body at chest-height and raise to a standing position. To make the exercise easier, place your hands on the chair to help leverage your body upward. Lower your seat back down to the starting position and repeat the movement.
#4 – Step Up
Stand upright in front of your bottom stair or any other stable elevated surface, maintaining good alignment with your head, shoulders, hips, and legs. Step up with one leg and follow with your other leg. Step back down, leading with the same foot to return to the starting position. Repeat the movement, leading with the opposite leg.
#5 – Push Up To Twist
Begin in an upright standing position with your hands against the wall. Move your feet back to increase the angle of your body. Bend your arms and lower your upper body towards the wall, straighten your arms to complete a push up, then rotate your upper body out to one side. Return to the starting position and repeat the sequence of movements, rotating to the opposite side.