What exercise moves should every senior do each day without fail?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 20, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

What exercise moves should every senior do each day without fail? What simple, exercises can my mother do to help keep her from falling?


Expert Answers

Julie Kardachi is an occupational therapist, and Celeste Carlucci is a professional dancer and fitness expert. With more than 60 years of combined experience in the field, they created and run Fall Stop"¦MOVE STRONG, a joyful, dance- and education-based fall-prevention and strengthening program that keeps older adults active and safe at home and in their communities. They have been teaching this program since 2004, and the program DVD has been sold since 2008.

There are many exercises that will help keep people "on their feet". We like these five for every day; they are easy to do and easy to remember.

  1. "Roll It": Sit in a chair. Circle your ankles one at a time, clockwise then counterclockwise. Imagine a clock, and rotate your ankle so your toes point to each number on the clock, 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on, all the way around. Repeat 10 times each direction for each foot. This helps keep your ankles flexible and strong so you can walk more easily.

  2. "March It": Hold onto a firm surface for support (e.g.: counter, back of sturdy chair). March in place, left leg, right leg, lifting your knees to hip height. Repeat 20 times. This helps your posture, and keeps your hips strong so you can more easily climb steps. Also good for balance.

  3. "Lift It": Hold onto a firm surface for support (e.g.: counter, back of sturdy chair). Stand with feet hip width apart. Lift your heels off the floor to stand on your toes, and hold for 10 counts. Lower your heel to the starting position. Repeat 10 times. This keeps your lower legs and ankles strong so walking is easier. Also good for balance.

  4. "Stop It": Hold onto a firm surface for support with one hand (e.g.: counter, back of sturdy chair), and put the other hand on your hip. Lunge forward with one foot, STOP, return to starting position. Repeat with other foot, STOP, return to starting position. Repeat 10 times. This trains your muscles to catch you if you trip.

  5. "Balance It": Hold onto a firm surface for support (e.g.: counter, back of sturdy chair). Stand on one foot for 10 seconds or longer. Repeat for other foot.

We recommend these exercises as our Daily "Must-Do's. If you want a more extensive program, there are several available, including our DVD which was designed specifically to improve balance and reduce falls.