Coordination Exercises for Seniors
Coordination exercises are important tools to maintaining and improving your coordination over the years. Coordination is required to climb stairs, walk, run, prevent injuries and continue an active lifestyle. Inactive older adults can safely transition from a sedentary lifestyle to one that includes moderate exercise, according to the National Institute on Aging. All seniors can benefit from incorporating coordination exercises into their routines at least three times a week.
Sit in a chair that has back support. Focus on establishing good posture. Keep your back straight and shoulders back without tensing your shoulders. Adjust your body until the buttocks touch the back of the chair.
Grab a small exercise ball with both hands and pull it close to your body. Keep your elbows bent, and hold the ball close to your abdomen.
Rotate your torso to the left as far as you comfortably can. Make sure the rest of your body remains still. Slowly rotate back to a normal sitting position and repeat the exercise to the right.
Repeat the full turn on both sides eight times. Rest for a full minute. Repeat the twists another eight times.
Balancing On One Foot
Stand behind a stable chair. Make sure it will be stable for the exercise by testing it out a few times before you begin. If the chair is on wheels or slides out when you try to support your weight on it, choose another chair.
Pull in your stomach and stand up with your back straight behind the chair. Depending on the help you need with balance, place one or both of your hands on the back of the chair.
Support your weight with your left leg, and lift the right foot off the ground. Hold the right leg off the ground with your knee bent at least 15 seconds. Try to hold it for 30 seconds, but release the hold if you experience discomfort.
Repeat Step 3 with the alternate leg. This time, switch to supporting your weight with your right leg and lift the left foot. Hold it for 15 to 30 seconds, depending on your ability.
Repeat the exercise with both legs 10 to 20 times. Try switching between doing the exercise with your eyes closed and open. Increase the time you can spend with your legs off the ground over time as you repeat the coordination exercise.
Stand with your back straight, shoulders back and feet shoulder-width apart.
Hold both arms straight out at your sides. Circle one arm forward in small, slow circles while circling the other arm backward in equally small, slow circles. Do this for eight repetitions.
Rest your arms loosely at your sides for a minute.
Hold your right arm back out in a straight line. Do small forward circles with your right arm. At the same time hold your left leg slightly to the side while doing small forward circles with this leg. Do this for eight repetitions, then do the same move with the left arm and right leg. If you need help maintaining your balance, grab the back of a chair or sofa.
Stretch before and after exercising every single time.
More active seniors may also want to try yoga, water aerobics and cycling for more exercises that benefit coordination.
Consult a doctor before beginning any exercise routine, especially if you have a pre-existing condition.
Stop exercising immediately if you get short of breath, feel dizzy, have pain or develop chest pain. Seek medical help right away to be on the safe side.
- National Institute on Aging: Structured Exercise Program May Enhance Seniors' Physical Functioning
- Tufts University and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults
- Help Guide: Exercise and Fitness Tips for Seniors
- Alliance for Aging Research: Brain Health Corner
- Center of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders
- Cleveland Clinic: Posture for a Healthy Back
- AARP: Build Up Your Core Strength
- The Gerontologist: Effect of Low-Impact Aerobic Dance on the Functional Fitness of Elderly Women
Robin Raven was first published in 1998. She has contributed to newspapers, magazines and online publications, including "The Malibu Times," "Act'ionLine" for Friends of Animals, USA Today Travel Tips and the official Melissa Gilbert website. Raven specializes in travel, health, beauty, culture, vegan nutrition, joyful living, arts and entertainment. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing.