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Simple exercises to improve your balance

Balance is key to everyday movement.

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Having good balance is important for much of what we do every day. For example, you need good balance to walk and go up and down stairs.

Falling is a common problem for older adults and people who’ve had a stroke. People who are very overweight might have trouble with balance, too.

How do you improve your balance? It’s simple: balance exercises.

How much do I need?

You can choose how often you do balance exercises. If you’re 65 or older, aim for three or more days a week. To get started, talk to your doctor.

Here are some simple balance exercises

Try out these moves and see which ones you like:

  • Walk heel to toe for 20 steps. Steady yourself with a wall if you need a little extra support.
  • Walk normally in as straight a line as you can.
  • See how long you can stand on one foot. Or try holding for 10 seconds on each side.

Is standing on one foot a little too hard to do?  Try these moves:

  • Hold on to a wall or sturdy chair with both hands to support yourself.
  • Next, hold on with only one hand.
  • Then support yourself with only one finger.

When you’re steady on your feet, try balancing with no support at all.

You may also want to try yoga or tai chi. Many people do them to help improve balance. You don’t need expensive classes or equipment. Find a book, DVD or website to get started at home. Check out our free online classes.

Balance exercises to do anytime or anywhere

Try this:

  • Stand on one foot while working in the kitchen, waiting in line or brushing your teeth.
  • Walk heel to toe around the house or office.

What if I’ve had a heart attack or stroke?

Some people are afraid to exercise after a heart attack. But it may help keep you from having another one. The American Heart Association says it’s good to get up and move after a stroke. It can make you stronger, and make it easier to walk.

If you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, talk to your doctor. Ask what’s safe and healthy to do. You want to be sure you’re doing what’s best for you.

Feeling unsteady on your feet?

There’s help. Talk to your doctor.

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The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.