Simple Steps to Improve Flexibility and Balance

Improved flexibility and balance helps decrease your risk of fall and fracture.  But don’t worry - you don’t have to be a Yoga Master to improve your flexibility! These simple flexibility and balance exercises can be worked into your daily activities and are especially beneficial for older adults.

A new program from Australia called LIFE, Lifestyle Integrated Functional Exercises, showed decreased fracture rates among participants (age 70 and older) who made simple lifestyle changes to their normal daily activities. Overall they experienced fewer falls and maintained better overall function.  This approach was even more successful compared to maintaining a regular scheduled exercise program. There is a helpful workbook that goes along with the program where you can write down your activity and achievements, and make notes for yourself and your therapist or physician.

Here are some examples, and you can probably think of more – add your tips in the comments section below:

  • Put detergents, socks and other common items on lower shelves and drawers so you have to bend your knees to get them
  • Put spices, cups and small items on higher shelves so you have to stretch to reach them
  • Make more trips with groceries instead of fewer to increase your walking distance
  • Stop using the remote for the TV so you have to get up to change the volume or channels
  • Use stairs as much as possible
  • Take walks before and after meals
  • Park farther from shops so you’ll walk more instead of less
  • Garden
  • When waiting, pick up one foot and balance with as little support as possible
  • Straighten and bend your knee when sitting so you lift your legs out straight
  • Practice walking heel-to-toe as though you were walking on a narrow board
  • Stand on your tip toes often
  • Stand on one leg when in the kitchen
  • Twist your body to reach for items at your side
  • Practice balancing while waiting on the microwave

One thought on “Simple Steps to Improve Flexibility and Balance”

  • BackPainHC

    Good tips, balance and flexibility work together to deliver greater functionality. Without one or both, you’re unable to do what you would like, at least without risk of injury by falling or pulling a very tight muscle.

    Reply
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