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Exercising for Balance

Sample Balance Exercise: Stand on One Foot

How Much, How Often

You can do balance exercises almost anytime, anywhere, and as often as you like. Also try lower-body strength exercises because they can help improve your balance. Do the lower-body strength exercises two or more days a week but not on any two days in a row.


Challenge yourself as you progress. Start by holding on to a sturdy chair for support. When you are able, try holding on to the chair with only one hand. With time, hold on with only one finger, then with no hands at all. If you are really steady on your feet, try doing the exercise with your eyes closed.

Balance exercises help prevent falls, a common problem in older adults. Many lower-body strength exercises also will improve your balance.

  • Standing on one foot
  • Heel-to-toe walk
  • Tai Chi

Exercise Instructions:

What You Need:
Sturdy chair

You can do this exercise while waiting for the bus or standing in line at the grocery. For an added challenge, you can modify the exercise to improve your balance.

  1. Stand on one foot behind a sturdy chair, holding on for balance.
  2. Hold position for up to 10 seconds.
  3. Repeat 10-15 times.
  4. Repeat 10-15 times with other leg.
  5. Repeat 10-15 more times with each leg.
  • Have a sturdy chair or a person nearby to hold on to if you feel unsteady.
  • Talk with your doctor if you are unsure about doing a particular balance exercise.

Spring 2012 Issue: Volume 7 Number 1 Page 9