Improving Your Balance – Part Two

Are you feeling a little more in balance after our last blog?

If so, good for you!

You’re two steps closer to avoiding becoming one of 36 million fall victims every year.

In part 1 of 36 Million Reasons to Improve Your Balance you learned:

  • It’s a myth that falling is just a natural part of aging; people of all ages fall.
  • There are simple ways to mitigate risks that come with age, such as poor eyesight and low blood sugar levels.
  • Poor balance is one of the biggest contributors to falls –– and one of the most easily fixed.


Marquis’ Fix To Reducing Falls

At Marquis, we’ve reduced the number of falls by playing “investigator.”

We use the latest assessment and analytic tools to determine your risk of falling. Then we custom-build an exercise program that strengthens your body and boosts your balance.

In our last blog, we shared the first 2 of 4 exercise tips that are proven to help you avoid falling, as recommended by the CDC, the Physical Activity Guidelines for America and from our own Sarah Shearer-Smith, PT, DPT, GCS, CEEAA, RAC-CTA. Sarah is Consonus Healthcare’s long-time Northwest Director of Clinical Services and one of a small number of clinicians in the US who is recognized as a trained geriatric specialist in physical therapy.

You can find those first two tips here.

Now let’s get that heart rate up and have fun with our last two tips –– aerobic activity and strength shaping.


 (An important disclaimer: Consult with your doctor before beginning or changing any activity program.  Physical/occupational therapists can also be invaluable supports and experts: helping to identify which condition- or disease-specific guideline might be safest for you, what are the safest and most comfortable positions and modifications for exercises, if there are best times for exercise due to certain medications, and what are the recommended types/intensities/frequencies/and durations for each exercise.)



Tip #3 Aerobic Activity

The founders of modern-day fitness, from Jack and Elaine LaLanne and Richard Simmons to Jane Fonda and Denise Austin each developed their own brand of aerobics. But they all involve raising that heart rate. Here’s a way to keep it simple and get a moderate-intensity workout, as recommended by the CDC.



30-minute brisk walk


30-minute brisk walk


30-minute brisk walk


Weight Training


30-minute brisk walk


30-minute brisk walk


Weight Training


This totals 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity + 2 days of muscle-strengthening activity.

How do you determine if you’re over-exerting yourself? Take the Talk Test. According to the CDC, if you’re doing moderate-intensity activity, you can talk but not sing during the activity. Vigorous-intensity activity is where it’s difficult to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

Don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t complete the activity at “moderate” intensity or for 150 minutes. It’s important to be as active as your abilities allow even if that’s a lighter intensity and smaller, shorter workout session.


Tip #4 Strength Shaping

General guidelines are for 2 or more days a week (usually instructed as 2-3 days a week), with days of rest between, so no back-to-back days for muscle. The focus should be on exercises that focus on major muscle groups versus isolating individual muscles.


Strengthen Your Muscles and Joints

Here are two exercises to boost the muscle groups and joints most critical to your balance and stability: the ankle (dorsiflexors and calves), the quadriceps (knee extensors) and the glutes (hip extensors). Complete these exercises standing at a counter or table with your eyes open. Keep that chair behind you for added security.

  • Heel/Toe Raises: We can lose up to 20 degrees of movement in our ankles as we age. This exercise keeps our ankles and calf muscles flexible and strong. Slowly shift your weight forward to your toes and raise your heels up and off the ground. Then reverse, slowly shifting your weight backward towards your heels and lifting your toes up and off the floor. Try to hold each position 3-5 seconds.
  • Mini Squats: Slowly bend your hips and knees as if you were going to sit in the chair behind you, but just as you’re about to sit, stand up slowly. Repeat 5-10 times.


Remember, falling is not a natural part of aging. And if you want to stay active and live your best life, these exercises are your friends –– for life!