Exercise for balance 

Some exercises can help improve your balance and muscle strength.

These exercises can help keep you steady. This means you’ll be much less likely to fall over and break a bone.

It’s very important to have good balance and coordination before you start any type of exercise.

Balance and muscle-strengthening exercises can be helpful if you:

  • have other medical conditions that cause you to fall over
  • have had a recent slip, trip or fall
  • have noticed your balance isn’t as good as it was
  • are 65 or over and not exercising regularly
  • are thinking about starting exercise.

What exercises do I need to do to keep me steady? 

It’s very important to stay active by doing regular everyday activities. Be aware of the amount of time you spend sitting down. Make sure to break up long periods of time you’re sitting by standing up for a few minutes every hour or so.

Balance exercises make your muscles work together in a way that helps keep you steady and less likely to fall. The exercises below are designed to fit into your daily routine:

  • sit to stand
  • heel raises and toe walking
  • toe raises and heel walking
  • heel-toe stand and heel-toe walk
  • single leg stand
  • three-way lunge.

There are some activities that help with balance too. These are tai-chi, dance, yoga and Pilates.

Muscle-strengthening exercises and exercises that improve posture may also help stop you from falling over. 

If you often slip, trip or fall, research has shown you need to build up to do more challenging balance and muscle-strengthening exercises. It’s worth finding a group-based programme led by a specialist falls instructor. You may hear these programmes sometimes called Otago or FAME(PSI). Contact your local falls services or leisure services. They can suggest how to tailor exercises to suit your needs. They can also make sure the exercises are hard enough to make a difference.


How much and how often should I exercise to improve my balance? 

We recommend you do balance exercises on 2 to 3 days of the week if you’re:

  • unsteady
  • 65 or over
  • not doing regular exercise.

Make sure to leave a day’s rest in between. You should do each exercise up to 10 times. These are called repetitions or reps for short.

If you often slip, trip or fall, you should build up to doing balance and muscle-strengthening exercises over at least 4 months. You should do 3 hours a week, or 25 minutes a day.

Help our specialist nurses continue to support those in need