| Tue, Jan 19, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

3 Basic Balance Exercises for Seniors

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

balance exercises

Poor balance is one of aging’s challenges that can feel particularly ungraceful. But many older adults deal with it every day. It can be frustrating and scary and dangerous.

Some medical conditions, like low or high blood pressure, might affect balance. And certain medications may cause dizziness or have other side effects that could make you feel unsteady.

But the fact is that muscles tend to weaken as we age. You could start to feel unsteady on your feet and begin avoiding even simple activities. Just getting up from a chair or walking to the mailbox may seem too difficult. The lack of activity causes muscles to weaken even more.

Balance Exercises Build Strength and Stability

These videos from the National Institute on Aging show basic balance exercises you can do at home. It’s a good idea to keep a chair, a counter, a wall or another person close by for support. You can use the support as much or as little as you need to. If you’re unsure about any of these balance or chair exercises, talk with your doctor before trying them.

1. Toe Stands

  • Stand behind a chair with your feet firmly planted on the floor.
  • Slowly raise your heels so you are on the balls of your feet.
  • Hold for up to 10 seconds.
  • Slowly lower your heels to the floor.
  • Repeat up to 15 times.

2. Stand on One Foot

  • Stand behind a chair with your feet firmly planted on the floor.
  • Lift one leg behind you bending at the knee.
  • Hold for up to 10 seconds.
  • Lower your leg to the floor.
  • Repeat up to 10 times.

3. Heel-to-Toe Walk

  • Stand near a wall for support. Hold your arms out to the side for balance.
  • Lift one foot slowly and place it directly in front of the other, touching heel to toe.
  • When you feel steady, lift the other foot and place it in front, heel to toe.
  • Repeat for up to 10 steps.
  • Turn and take 10 more steps, heel to toe.

Balance Exercises Bring Big Benefits

Balance exercises for seniors are aimed at building lower body strength. As you gain strength and balance you may enjoy other benefits, too, such as:

  • Greater mobility
  • Increased independence
  • More confidence

Look for balance classes at your local community center, senior center or health club. Some Medicare Advantage plans cover gym memberships or exercise program fees. Call the number on the back of your member ID card for information.


You’ve probably heard the saying “Use it or lose it.” This certainly applies to muscle strength and balance. So embrace your balance challenge—and these balance exercises—with style.

As always, talk with your doctor about your balance or other health concerns. Your annual Medicare Wellness visit is a good time to get your questions answered.

Related Content

Live a Balanced Life — and Help Prevent Falls

Sudden Onset Dizziness or Vertigo

Fighting Frailty


For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.


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