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Balancing Exercises

Side Leg Raises: strengthen muscles at sides of hips and thighs

Strengthening the side muscles of your hips and thighs is important for good balance.

  1. Stand straight, directly behind table or chair, feet slightly apart.
  2. Hold table or chair for balance.
  3. Slowly lift one leg to side, 6 to 12 inches out to the side.
  4. Keep your back and both legs straight.
  5. Don't point your toes downward; keep them facing forward during this exercise. Hold this position.
  6. Slowly lower leg. Repeat with other leg.
  7. Keep back and knees straight throughout exercise.
  8. Alternate legs until you repeat exercise 8 to 15 times with each leg.
  9. Rest. Do another set of 8 to 15 alternating repetitions

Hip Flexion: strengthen thigh and hip muscles

Strengthening these muscles is important for good balance. Use ankle weights if you are ready.

  1. Stand straight; hold onto a table or chair for balance.
  2. Slowly bend one knee toward chest, without bending waist or hips.
  3. Hold position for 1 second.
  4. Slowly lower leg all the way down. Pause.
  5. Repeat with other leg.
  6. Alternate legs until you have done 8 to 15 repetitions with each leg.
  7. Rest; then do another set of 8 to 15 alternating repetitions. Add weights as you progress.

Hip Extension: strengthens buttock and lower-back muscles

Strengthening the buttock and lower back muscles is important for good balance. Start with no weights; add ankle weights if you are ready

  1. Stand 12 to 18 inches from a table or chair, feet slightly apart.
  2. Bend forward at hips at about 45-degree angle; hold onto a table or chair for balance.
  3. Slowly lift one leg straight backwards without bending your knee, pointing your toes, or bending your upper body any farther forward.
  4. Hold position for 1 second.
  5. Slowly lower leg. Pause.
  6. Repeat with other leg.
  7. Alternate legs until you have done 8 to 15 repetitions with each leg.
  8. Rest; then do another set of 8 to 15 alternating repetitions. Add modifications as you progress.

Balance Exercises You Can Do Anywhere, Anytime

These "anytime, anywhere" exercises will help you improve your balance. And you can do them as often as you like, as long as you have something sturdy nearby to hold onto if you become unsteady.

  1. Walk heel-to-toe. Position your heel just in front of the toes of the opposite foot each time you take a step. Your heel and toes should touch or almost touch.
  2. Practice standing up and sitting down without using your hands.
  3. Stand on one foot. You can do this while waiting in line at the grocery store or at the bus stop. Remember to alternate feet!