Friday, June 26, 2015

Core Balance Training for the Senior Adults

Working in a cardiopulmonary rehabilitation facility my main focus is to exercise and strengthen my clients’ cardiovascular and respiratory systems.  Having said that, my clients usually have other comorbidities that need attention as well.  I use a multidisciplinary approach to improve the health-related quality of life for my clients.  Core balance training is an area that most of my clients need to work on to reduce and prevent the risk of falling.  The most common reasons that seniors fall are:

  • Decrease in vision
  • Weakness in hips and legs
  • Poor posture of spinal degeneration
  • Decreased ability to lift feet
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Medications that cause dizziness
  • Low blood pressure1

For the most transferable and usable functional balance training, exercises need to engage multiple muscles and stimulate the body's response in a manner that requires both to work together. This results in efficient movement. Both the BOSU® Balance Trainer (BT) and BOSU® Ballast® Ball (BB) are great tools to incorporate into programming in order to accomplish this goal.2

BOSU_olderadult1 ball.jpg
Photo By:  Bosu

Knee Lift

  • Sit on the BB with both feet a comfortable distance apart. Rest hands on sides of the BB or on hips.
  • Lift R knee toward the ceiling, while maintaining balance and correct posture. Hold for 2 to 4 counts.
  • Repeat with L knee.
  • To increase challenge, close eyes.

Unilateral Heel Raise
  • standing_on_bosu.jpg
    Photo By:  Bosu
    Stand with L foot on the BT. Extend R leg behind with heel on the floor. Place hands on hips or extend out to sides.
  • Lift R heel and lower to the floor. Repeat 6 to 8 times, maintaining balance and alignment.
  • Bring both legs together on the floor to rest.
  • Repeat on L side.
  • To increase challenge, close eyes while lifting heel, but open eyes when lowering heel back to the floor.
These are just a couple of exercises that can be incorporated into an exercise program for senior adults.  Maintaining core strength will reduce the amount and severity of injuries to which this population is susceptible.  Prevent and reduce the risk of falls by exercising!

112 Best Balance Exercises for Seniors and the Elderly to Prevent Falls. Retrieved, June 20, 2015, from
2 Gardener, J., & Prouty, J. (n.d.). Balance and Fall Prevention for the Older Adult.

1 comment:

  1. I also teach seniors with Silver Sneakers and this is a much needed article. Thank you! Some of the seniors I have are so unbalanced they cannot even use the BOSU, I would love to see you do another article for core balance training while sitting on a chair but I know I am going to use the standing example you gave to my most senior/unstable students. Love it. thanks!