Exercises to improve balance and muscle strength

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We usually fall over when we get older because our balance, coordination and muscle strength aren’t so good, but research has proven that specific stability and balance exercises can help.

People with osteoporosis or at risk of fractures are more likely to break bones as a result of a fall so improving your muscle strength and balance can help to keep you safe and steady on your feet.

Once you feel steadier your confidence will grow - we know that people who are less fearful are less likely to fall.

To practise these exercises, you can follow the video above, or download the accompanying fact sheet.

You should carry out these exercises if:

  • you’ve noticed that your balance isn’t as good as it was
  • you are new to exercise
  • you are over the age of about 65 and not exercising regularly

Improving your balance is especially important before you start a new activity like brisk walking. The confidence you gain will allow you to benefit from the exercise without risking a slip or fall.

What you need:

An armless chair and a sturdy support like a kitchen unit or wall to hold on to. To progress your balance exercises, try not to hold on, but keep your hands near a support should you need it.

When and how:

Do these exercises on at least two or three days a week. Slowly move into the position and hold for the recommended time. Remember to repeat on the other leg where needed, and don’t worry too much if you wobble! You need to challenge your balance to improve it, so a slight wobble is good!

Before you start

For an introduction to the different ways that exercise and physical activity help with bone health and osteoporosis, read the About exercise fact sheet. It can help you think about how the benefits apply to you, and whether you should prioritise any single type of exercise.

Warm up properly before exercising to get your joints and muscles ready and to prevent injury.

If you are new to exercise and at all concerned about other health issues speak to your doctor, a healthcare professional or an exercise instructor.

After exercise

Do some further cool down moves to increase your flexibility and return your breathing and heart rate back to resting levels.

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