November 29, 2023 Healthy Living

8 strength exercises to help prevent falls

Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do to reduce your risk of falls and prevent fall-related injuries. Strength training has many health benefits. It can protect your joints from injury and improve your ability to do everyday activities.

Here are some examples of simple strength exercises you can do almost anywhere. Talk to your doctor to see if giving them a try is right for you. If it is, choose a few to start with twice a week and gradually work up to five days a week.

Full body exercises

Plank with chair

  1. Using a chair or counter, get in the plank position with your arms stacked under your shoulders.
  2. Engage your core and back muscles.
  3. Keep your body in a straight line, being sure to not drop your hips or raise them higher.
  4. Hold the plank position for 20 seconds. Rest and repeat for three sets.

Bird dog with chair

  1. Place your chair on a yoga mat or non-slip surface.
  2. Stand about two feet from the chair with the seat facing you.
  3. Bend down and place both of your hands on the seat. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders.
  4. Raise your right leg up and straight, then your left arm.
  5. Bring your leg and arm back down.
  6. Raise your left leg up and straight, then your right arm.
  7. Stretch through your toes and fingertips, lengthening your body.
  8. Do three sets of six to 10 repetitions on each side, pausing for a moment at each extension.

Low tree pose

  1. Place both feet firmly on the ground with your weight distributed evenly.
  2. Keep the ball of your foot on the ground and rest your heel against your other shin.
  3. Bring your hands to “prayer position” and hold for 30 seconds to one minute.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

Leg Exercises

Squats

  1. Start with feet shoulder width apart and toes facing forward.
  2. Keep your head and chest up, back straight, place weight in your heels, and start to sit back.
  3. Move your hips back and go until your legs are parallel to the ground. Make sure to keep your chest and head up and your back straight.
  4. To come up, push through your heels and stand up, straighten out your hips.
  5. Do three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions, without pausing at the bottom of the squat.

Lateral leg raise

  1. Hold on to something for balance, like a chair or a counter.
  2. Stand on one leg and raise the other sideways, then hold for five seconds.
  3. Lower your leg and repeat five times.
  4. Do four sets of 10 to 12 continuous repetitions on each side.

Seated leg extensions

  1. Sit on a chair or bench where your legs will rest on the floor at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Hold the chair or bench with your hands for support.
  3. Straighten one leg.
  4. Slowly return your leg to the starting position.
  5. Switch legs and repeat.
  6. Do three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions on each side. Rest 60 to 90 seconds in between sets.

Arm exercises

Bicep curls

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing upward.
  2. Slowly curl the dumbbells by bending your elbow. Make sure to keep your elbows close to your body.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
  4. Do two to three sets of eight to 12 continuous repetitions.

Tip: Don’t have dumbbells? Try using a filled water bottle or canned good.

Tricep extension

  1. Start with your feet slightly one in front of the other.
  2. Stand hinged over at the waist with a dumbbell in one hand and the other hand on a chair or other waist-high object for support. Keep back straight.
  3. Fully flex your elbow back until your arm is as straight as possible.
  4. Return to a 90-degree angle.
  5. Do one set of 12 to 15 repetitions. For best results, move your arm smoothly and slowly.

Want more strength and fitness options? CDPHP Medicare Advantage members get no-cost access to 15,000+ SilverSneakers gym locations locally and across the country. SilverSneakers also offers online, at-home workout options to stay strong even when the gyms are closed. For more information, visit www.silversneakers.com.

Looking for more exercises? CDPHP® has you covered with a library of free digital wellness classes.

Elise Shaver
About the Author

Elise Shaver joined CDPHP® in February 2021 as a marketing communications coordinator and currently serves as communications specialist. A native of the Capital Region, Elise earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Siena College. She brings several years of experience in both the marketing and not-for-profit industry. Elise enjoys the outdoors, gardening, and spending time with her family.

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