Best home exercises to reduce your falls risk

NeuRA’s exercise specialist Kim Delbaere has put together a short list of exercises that could help you to maintain good balance and reduce your risk of falling. These are simple movements that are easy to do at home, and will help to prevent the loss of strength and stability that we are at risk of during this period of isolation.

These balance exercises have a significant benefit for people over the age of 65 years. Practicing them for just two hours per week can significantly reduce the risk of falling among this age group.

“We face a risk of deconditioning if we don’t do these kinds of movements regularly. These exercises strengthen our muscles, joints and ligaments and lessen the likelihood that we will experience a fall later on,” she said.

Knee raises

Helps with: climbing stairs, getting in and out of cars, stepping off buses

  • Hold on to a bench or chair to maintain your balance
  • Lift one knee to hip level, so that your leg is bent at a 90-degree angle
  • Hold it there for 5 seconds before you swap to your other knee
  • Repeat this 8 times, with each knee

Side leg raises

Helps with: side-stepping and reduces your likelihood of tripping

  • Hold on to a bench or chair to maintain your balance
  • Put your weight on one leg and lift the other leg to the side, like a pendulum
  • Hold it there for 5 seconds before you swap to the other leg
  • Repeat this 8 times, on each leg

Heel raises

Helps with: walking and climbing stairs

  • Hold on to a bench top or something high up and solid
  • Lift both of your heels off the floor so that your weight is in the balls of your feet or toes
  • Hold this for 3 seconds before placing your heels back on the floor
  • Repeat this 5 times

Stepping up

Helps with: stability, especially on uneven surfaces

  • Find a staircase with a railing you can hold on to
  • Focusing on the first stair only, plant your foot on the step and move up on to it
  • Then step back down
  • Repeat this 5 times, stepping up and back down at your own pace

Sit to stand

Helps with: getting up and down from a chair or toilet

  • Find a chair and be seated in it. You may use a table or steady nearby surface to help you push up if you need to
  • Slowly stand up out of the chair, using your arms for balance if needed. To make the movement more challenging, cross your arms over your chest or hold them out in front of you
  • Lower yourself back into the chair, maintaining the same arm position
  • Repeat this 5 times