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Fall Prevention Exercises

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Here are eleven basic strengthening exercises that we recommend for older adults to help reduce falls. The aim to is start with no weights and then progress up to at least 4lbs cuff weights. This could take several weeks or even months. Functional improvements typically will not improve unless that 4lbs weight is reached. The typical weight progression is in 1 pound increments. Progress only when an exercise can be completed smoothly, slowly and with ease for all of the repetitions. If you have difficulty perfoming these exercises on your own or reaching the 4lbs threshold you may consider our Tandem Strength and Balance® program. We use more appropriate exercises that can be targeted to the individual on a session-by-session basis under our supervision.

These exercises are only for those that are currently at a low risk of falling and do not comprise of balance regaining exercises.
Consult with a physician before beginning any exercises.
If you are in any doubt please don't attempt them.


1. Straight Leg Raise

Total leg workout that will assist with walking, transfers and especially with getting in and out of bed. Also works muscles in your stomach and back.
  1. Bend right leg and place foot on bed.
  2. Raise left leg off the bed with knee locked. Do not go higher than bent knee.
  3. Slowly lower leg back down to the bed. Do not let leg drop back down to bed.
  4. Complete a set of 10 with one leg, then repeat with the other leg.

2. Hip Abduction

Strengthens hip stabilizers which will help improve balance
  1. Slide right leg out to the side.
  2. Keep kneecap pointing toward ceiling.
  3. Slowly bring leg back to middle.
  4. Make sure leg barely lifts off bed.
  5. Complete a set of 10 with one leg then repeat with the other leg.

3. Heel Slide

Increase leg strength to help with walking, transfers and stairs.
  1. Bend right knee and pull heel towards buttocks.
  2. Slowly straighten knee.
  3. Go slow.
  4. Complete a set with one leg then repeat with the other leg.

4. Bridging

Increases flexibility in waist area to assist with balance. Increases body awareness. Strengthens back, buttocks and legs.
  1. Bend knees and place feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Lift hips up towards the ceiling.
  3. Hold for 3 seconds.
  4. Return buttocks slowly to the ground. Do not let it drop.
  5. Repeat 10 times.

5. Shoulder Flexion

Increases arm strength with dressing, cleaning, cooking and reaching for objects overhead.
  1. Point thumb towards ceiling.
  2. Slowly lift right arm over your head keeping elbow straight.
  3. Bring it back down to your side.
  4. Lift arm up over your head and back down.
  5. Go slow in both directions.
  6. Repeat 10 times with each arm.

6. Shoulder Presses

Total arm workout that will help with all daily activities.
  1. Hold arms up towards the ceiling with elbows straight.
  2. Bring hands down and touch your chest, keeping elbows pointed away from body.
  3. Now slowly straighten arms.
  4. BREATHE. Go slow.
  5. Repeat 10 times.

7. Elbow Flexion

Assists with all daily activities.
  1. Turn palms up so facing ceiling.
  2. Keeping upper arms on bed slowly bend BOTH elbows.
  3. Slowly straighten arm.
  4. Repeat 10 times.

8. Toe Raises

Most older adults are fearful of falling forward so they push backwards. This exercise helps them feel more comfortable leaning backward. Strengthens back of legs which will assist with balance.
The goal is to be able to complete the exercise safely without any support on the chair.
  1. Rest hands on chair, use legs for balance not arms.
  2. Go up and down on toes.
  3. Go slow.
  4. Do not lean forward.
  5. Repeat 10 times

9. Marching in Place

Teaches weight shifting and standing on one foot which will help with walking.
  1. Rest hands on chair.
  2. Lift right knee up towards your chest and hold.
  3. Slowly lower right leg. Do not let it drop to the floor.
  4. Lift left knee up towards your chest and hold.
  5. Slowly lower left leg. Do not let it drop to the floor.
  6. Contol movement in both directions.
  7. Keep back as straight as possible.
  8. Repeat 10 times.

10. Standing Leg Extension

This strengthens the muscles in the back of the leg and increases confidence with stepping backwards.
  1. Rest hands on chair.
  2. Slowly kick right leg back, keeping knee straight.
  3. It should be a small movement. If you start to lean forward you are kicking too far.
  4. Do not let leg drop back to starting position, control it's decent.
  5. Repeat 10 times with each leg.

11. Standing Hip Abduction

Strengthens hip stabilizers that assist with walking.
  1. Rest hands on chair.
  2. Kick leg out to side, keeping knee straight and toes pointed forward. Make sure the kick movements are side to side and not to the front or back.
  3. It should be a small movement.
  4. Do not let leg drop back to starting position, control it's decent.
  5. Repeat 10 times with each leg.

If you have questions or are considering our Tandem Strength and Balance® program, please contact us for further details.

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