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What type of exercise helps improve balance to prevent falls?

Balance training exercises in which you limit movement while being in an unstable environment will help improve performance. A good example of a balance exercise would be performing movements like a bicep curl or overhead dumbbell press while standing on a foam or Airex pad. These exercises will teach your body and nervous system to dynamically stabilize the body while moving in unstable environments.

To help prevent falls, train your body to adapt to unstable circumstances:
  • Choose dumbbells over weight machines—dumbbells force you to balance the weights as well as lift them. Also, step-type moves, such as lunges or step-ups, require balance—just don't try anything too fancy.
  • Try doing standing exercises on one leg at a time. Really. That will help you work your proprioception—your awareness of yourself in space—and that will help you develop better balance.
  • If you like, add equipment—like stability balls—to your workout routine. Performing crunches on an unstable surface forces your body to balance. You can also buy balance boards (like mini surfboards) on which to stand and do your exercises.
To reduce your risk of falls, participate in exercises such as tai chi, walking and water exercises to improve your strength, balance and coordination. Speak with your doctor about adding these activities to your schedule, or other activities such as physical therapy, to increase your balance and muscle strength. If needed, consider using a cane, walker or other assistive device.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.