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Best Standing Balance Exercise For Seniors To Stay Active & Alert!

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in March of 2023. For the original video go to

Brad: This easy 60-second balance exercise not only improves your ability to stay upright, preventing falls but your mental awareness, eliminating distractions from being a problem.

Mike: And you can do it at home at no cost to you.

Brad: All right. There are many good balance exercises that therapists use. However, this one is unique because it offers you the ability to practice being distracted while you're working on your balance exercise. For example, walking across a lawn and your neighbor says, hey George how are you doing? And you look up over there, you lose your balance and fall. Well, that's a concept we want to work with here. It's very simple and you don't have to have a neighbor to holler at you.

Mike: So to start, we're going to put an imaginary clock on the floor. So we did this with some tapes. So we got 12 o'clock, three o'clock, six o'clock, nine o'clock, and the center is going to be number zero because we're going to play a game with it. And your feet are basically going to be the hands of the clock.

Brad: Now if you find that you're not very steady and you feel like you may fall when you're doing this and you use a walker, I highly suggest using the walker. We're going to put our feet at the center of the zero point, use your walker, and then we're going to go on with touching the different points of the clock. We'll get into detail about that. So walker or a cane, you could put a chair out in front of you, something to be safe.

Mike: And we should also mention the diameter of your clock is going to make it easier or more challenging. So if you're having issues reaching this far, you can certainly shorten it. If this is too easy, you could put it out further.

Brad: That's right. Mike is going to be the subject here. He's doing the exercise. I'm going to explain to him what to do. Okay, Mike is not using his walker or the cane because it gets in the way. But again, use that if you need it. So first of all, with your right foot being stationary, reach to the 12 with your left toe and now to the nine. And now to the six. And now to the three. This is a hard one behind you and over.

Brad: If you cannot get to that, that's okay. Now do it on the other foot. 12, 3, 6 and nine.

Mike: Can I go in front or do I have to go in back?

Brad: You can go in front. As a matter of fact, thank you for pointing that out. Good. Okay, now do it without looking. Look straight ahead and see if you can do it. And let's see how he does touching the numbers on the clock. Go ahead. Got the 12, 9, 6, and three.

Brad: Can you do it better in the front? Is it easier? There you go. Whichever way works easier. That's the way you can do it. Now we're going to move on. Repeat this looking straight ahead now start moving your head from right to left. A little bit slower. All the way to the right, all the way to the left. Keep your head moving. Take your left foot and touch the 12. Keep your head moving now to the nine. If you need to stop your head, that's okay. The goal is to keep your head moving. Now the six and now the three.

Mike: Am I supposed to reset the zero every time or not?

Brad: Actually you can. That is an option. Do it again with your right foot. Reaching out and going back to the center point every time.

Mike: I feel like I'm on a tilt-a-whirl.

Brad: All right, very good. Did that change it Mike? Was it a little bit more difficult?

Mike: Yeah, I feel like I was on a carnival ride.

Brad: Right? If you get dizzy while doing this, you do not do it. You stop your body and your mind and your balance system is not ready for it. Okay, the next one I want you to do the year you were born with your right foot using the clock numbers. So what year were you born?

Mike: 1987. So 1, 9, 8, 7.

Brad: Good. Now with the other foot.

Mike: Oh 1, 9, 8, 7.

Brad: Obviously easier with one foot than the other. The idea is you have to think, you're multitasking, your brain is functioning to work through this information while you're working on your balance. All right, the next one, multiples of two. Starting out at 12, I want you to go around the clock in multiples of two.

Mike: What?

Brad: Start at 12 now two o'clock.

Mike: Oh, 12, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12.

Brad: Yeah, you can do multiples or just 2, 4, 6, 8, like he did. Try multiples of four. Starting with four.

Mike: I'm going to go to four. And then you want me to do eight?

Brad: Yep. Two times four is eight.

Mike: Eight, and then you want me to do 12?

Brad: Yep.

Mike: And then you want me to do 16, which isn't a number on the clock.

Brad: Nope, you're done once you get to 12, you're done. So you can pick out any numbers, any games if you will. How about this one? Do your social security number.

Mike: 1, 2. All right, so we'll just say 1, 3, 9, 11. It's kind of hard seeing these numbers in your head without seeing them actually. 5, 7, 8. What number am I on? Is that enough for social security? Nine.

Brad: So that's nine digits. Obviously, you can use anything you want. We could do yours and maybe you could really find out what happens to your banking account.

Mike: And then I'll be bankrupt.

Brad: Okay, so you get the idea. Keep your mind working while you work on your balance exercise. Be safe and enjoy the exercise. I think it's a good idea. I just learned this in a continuing education course.

Mike: It's a fun little game, so give it a try.

Brad: Right! So be...

Mike: Careful.

Brad: And be ...

Mike: Healthy.

Brad: And be ...

Mike: Safe.

Brad: Very good. Thank you.

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