Top Exercises to Help Improve Balance

Exploring the Power of Balance


Balance is more than just a physical state; it’s a harmonious blend of physical, mental, and emotional elements. In the context of physical therapy, balance refers to the body’s ability to maintain stability while performing everyday activities. This includes tasks like walking, climbing stairs, and even standing on one leg. But it’s not just about preventing falls; it’s about enhancing your overall quality of life.


Top exercises to help improve balance


Falls are common in people over the age of 65.  A fall can result in a number of outcomes including injury, loss of independence, and a decrease in ability to do the things that are most important to you. Good news, falls are preventable.


Balance training is an important and effective way to prevent falls. According to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, physical activity can help reduce falls by 13-40% in older adults. A Physical Therapist can evaluate and recommend appropriate exercises depending on your specific needs and goals.


In the meantime, here are some exercises that would help improve your balance. For all of these make sure you are near a sturdy support to start:


1) Standing marching: Begin lifting one leg up to about hip height and slowly lower to the ground. Then lift the other leg. Continuing alternating legs for a set of 10 and work your way up to 3 sets of 10. Once this gets easy you can put a resistive band around the top of your feet for some extra resistance. 


2) Standing hip 3-way: Standing on 1 leg with a soft unlocked knee, slowly kick the other leg straight back. Make sure to keep the leg as straight as possible and return it to center. Next, lift the leg out to the side and back to center keeping it as straight as possible. Finally, the last direction is straight out in front of you. For more resistance add a resistive band around the ankles. Complete 10 in one direction before moving onto the movement.


3) Tandem balance: Place one foot directly in front of the other so the heel of the front foot touches the toes of the back foot. Hold this position for 30 seconds before switching feet. To make harder you can stand on a pillow or foam surface.


4) Sit-stands: Practicing getting up from a chair is very important. The goal is to be able to stand up without using your arms to push up. If this is too hard at first place a firm pad underneath you on the chair to raise you up. As you return to sitting make sure you feel the back of the chair against your legs and slowly lower to the chair rather than just plopping down. Complete as many times as you can.


5) Single leg balance: For this exercise you are going to balance on one leg to the best of your ability. Hold this position for 30 seconds before switching legs.


6) Sidestepping: Facing a countertop or table side step in one direction with your toes pointed straight ahead of you. Make sure there is a soft bend in both knees. Once you come to the end of the table reverse the direction. When this gets easy you can add a resistive band around the ankle.


For more information on fall prevention and balance related exercises give our office a call to schedule an appointment.


Innovative Physical Therapy, “Solutions in Motion”


You can give us a call at 619-260-0750 or email us at