Here’s 4 easy exercises that strengthen your lower body muscles and improve balance to help you avoid falls.
As always, safety is key. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance concerns, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for older adults. But they’re not inevitable! Use these exercises to strengthen your lower body muscles and challenge your balance to improve your ability to stay on your feet.
We recommend that you use a sturdy chair as a tool for balance support as you perform these exercises.
Sit to Stand
This is simple, everyday activity engages key muscles in your lower body that support your stability. Take a few minutes to practice this exercise each day and you’ll feel the improvement.
Sit tall in a sturdy chair and plant your feet to the floor. Then, push yourself up to standing. Repeat this exercise 5-10 times. If you need more support, you can place your hands on the seat of your chair to help push yourself up. As you progress and get stronger, you can modify this exercise to a Squat to Stand. Begin standing in front of your chair with feet pressed to the floor. Then, shift your weight back, gently bend your knees and hinge forward slightly to sink down into a squat in front of your chair.
Hip Flexion and Extension
Stand on the right side of your chair and hold onto the back of the chair with your left hand for balance support as needed. Keep your left foot planted to the floor then gently lift your right knee up. Next, lower your knee and push your right foot back toward the wall behind you. Repeat this move 5-10 times on your right side, then left.
Imagine a tight rope placed in the center of your room. Take your first step onto the rope with your right foot, then step your left foot directly in front of your right your left heel touching your right toes. Take 3 steps forward on the tightrope, then pause. Next, walk backward along the tightrope. Step your right foot back behind your left so that your right toes meet your left heel and continue walking back 3 steps. As your balance progresses you can make this imaginary tightrope longer and take 5-10 steps forward and backward.
Stand tall with your feet together. First, step your right foot out to the side. Then, shift your weight to the right side of your body and gently bend your right knee to move into a side lunge. Next, straighten your knee push yourself up to standing and step your right foot back to the center. Repeat the side lunge 3-5 times on each side.
These functional exercises are easy to incorporate into your daily or weekly exercise routine. As you grow stronger, you’ll notice an improvement in your everyday movement and your ability to avoid trips and tumbles.
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