Balance exercises for older people

These simple balance exercises for older people can be done at home to help improve your health and mobility.

Don't worry if you've not done much exercise for a while, these balance exercises are gentle and easy to follow.

Build up slowly and aim to gradually increase the repetitions of each exercise over time.

Try to do these exercises at least twice a week and combine them with the other routines in this series to help improve strength, balance and co-ordination.

Download this exercise routine as a PDF (813kb)


Sideways walking

A. Stand with your feet together, knees slightly bent.

B. Step sideways in a slow and controlled manner, moving one foot to the side first.

C. Move the other to join it.

Avoid dropping your hips as you step. Perform 10 steps each way or step from one side of the room to the other.


Simple grapevine

This involves walking sideways by crossing one foot over the other.

A. Start by crossing your right foot over your left.

B. Bring your left foot to join it.

Attempt five cross steps on each side. If necessary, put your fingers against a wall for stability. The smaller the step, the more you work on your balance.


Heel-to-toe walk

A. Standing upright, place your right heel on the floor directly in front of your left toe.

B. Then do the same with your left heel. Make sure you keep looking forwards at all times. If necessary, put your fingers against a wall for stability.

Try to perform at least five steps. As you progress, move away from the wall.


One-leg stand

A. Start by standing facing the wall, with arms outstretched and your fingertips touching the wall.

B. Lift your left leg, keep your hips level and keep a slight bend in the opposite leg. Gently place your foot back on the floor.

Hold the lift for five to 10 seconds and perform three on each side.



Use a step, preferably with a railing or near a wall to use as support.

A. Step up with your right leg.

B. Bring your left leg up to join it.

C. Step down again and return to the start position.

The key for building balance is to step up and down slowly and in a controlled manner. Perform up to five steps with each leg.

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