Introduction to exercise

Age is no barrier to exercise. At any age, you can see improvement in your strength, balance, stamina, flexibility and more importantly the mental health benefits of exercise should never be underestimated.

Introduction (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62RpLSoPBUw)

Watch our "Introduction to exercise" video to find out why regular exercise is important for preventing falls, and to hear how other's have used exercise to help.

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Visit the Telecare Self-Check online tool to find the right support for you in your area. This easy to use online tool allows you to find helpful information on telecare services that could help you live independently at home for longer.

Testing your balance

Before attempting any of these exercises, it’s important to pick the level that most suits you.

Strength and balance - exercise level test (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_mtB-RUz_A)

Watch our "Testing your balance" video to find out how good your balance is and at what level of exercise you should start.

Exercise guide

Before you start, just a few simple things to remember:

  • don’t exercise if you’re not feeling well
  • make sure you’re wearing comfortable flat shoes and you're exercising in a nice clear area
  • if this is your first time and you’ve been inactive for a while, it’s worth having somebody else around while you’re doing it, maybe to do it with you
  • always think about your balance, don’t be overconfident. It’s best to start holding on, and if you feel confident, you can reduce your handhold over time
  • always start with a good posture. Make sure you stand or sit tall, with your shoulders relaxed and your tummy muscles pulled in
  • make sure that you breathe throughout the exercises

Balance test

To find out which level to start on, try standing on one leg for 30 seconds while holding on to a chair or table for support. When you're ready, try to let go:

  • if you don't feel confident enough to let go, or wobble or have to put a foot down quickly if you do, you should start on Level 1
  • if you have to occasionally hold on or put a foot down, but only occasionally, you can start on Level 2
  • if can manage the full 30 seconds without holding on or putting your foot down, you can start on Level 3

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Visit the Telecare Self-Check online tool to find the right support for you in your area. This easy to use online tool allows you to find helpful information on telecare services that could help you live independently at home for longer.

Level 1 exercises

These exercises will help to improve your strength and balance, and build your confidence if you've weak muscles or poor balance.

Strength and balance - level 1 exercises (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ru_cJhrNOA)

Watch our "Level 1 exercise" video to learn how to do these exercises and how often you should practice them.

Exercise guide

To start with, try each exercise 2 or 3 times and slowly increase the repetitions as you build strength and confidence. For example, in a couple of days you might repeat each exercise 5 times, working up to 10 repetitions in a couple of week's time.

After this time you’ll notice the difference, you’ll see your balance and strength improving, and feel ready to join a group or class to build on these exercises.

Handholds

When using a chair or kitchen counter for support, you could start by either:

  • holding on quite firmly
  • touching the chair or table with a finger.

If you're feeling particularly confident, hold your hand just above, but have a chair nearby just in case.

Support

You will need support when doing these exercises so find something in your house that’s safe and secure for you to hold on to. Your kitchen counter or a solid chair are good.

Easy marching

Easy marching is a good way to warm up, and keep your circulation flowing, before any exercise.

To easy march:

  1. place your feet hip-width apart, relax your body and keep your shoulders down
  2. start to walk on the spot.
  3. as you walk, make sure you put the ball of your foot down first through to the heel
  4. if you feel confident, take your hand off the chair.

As you warm up, you may feel that you want to raise your knees a little bit higher for a more purposeful march.

Trunk movements

Trunk movements help to improve the flexibility of your spine.

To do these movements:

  1. place your feet hip-width apart, and keep your shoulders nice and relaxed
  2. gently fold your arms in front of you and grow tall
  3. slowly look over one of your shoulders, making sure your hips stay pointing forward
  4. repeat this up to 10 times.

Front knee strengthener

Knee strengthening exercises will help you to maintain strength in the muscle at the front of your leg.

To strengthen the knee:

  1. sit firmly in the back of a chair, keep your shoulders down and maintain good posture
  2. with or without an ankle weight, slowly extend your leg in front of you
  3. repeat up to 10 times on each leg.

Side hip-strengthening

Hip-strengthening exercises can help to build good leg muscle strength, which will help you get out of the car, or bath, more easily.

To strengthen your hip:

  1. Place your feet hip-width apart and hold on for support.
  2. With or without an ankle weight, slowly take the leg out to the side. Keep looking forward and keep a good posture.
  3. Hold it for a count of 4 or 5 seconds.

Calf or heel raises

Calf or heel raises help to build strength in your ankles. Strong ankles are important as they're first thing that keeps us upright.

To do a calf or heel raise:

  1. slowly rise up onto the balls of your feet, with your weight on the big toe and the second toe
  2. hold for a count of 4 or 5 seconds
  3. return to standing in a controlled manner, and try not to rock.

Toe raises

Toe raises can help to strengthen the muscles at the front of our feet, which are often weak. These muscles are important as they help to lift our feet over obstacles.

To do a toe raise:

  1. Hold on to a chair or table for support, and stand tall with good posture.
  2. Slowly bring your toes up towards your nose. You may not have quite this level of flexibility, but try to raise them as far as you can.

Each time you do this, keep your stomach muscles tight and your bottom in. It's normal to wobble as you practice toe raises.

Sit to stand

Moving from sitting to standing is a core exercise that will help to improve your strength and balance. You can do this anywhere in your home, but make sure you’ve got a solid chair.

There are 3 handholds, you could either:

  • push firmly on the arms of the chair
  • have a light fingertip touch
  • fold your arms and let your legs do all the work, if you're more confident.

To sit to stand:

  1. Sit forward from the back of the chair to work the back muscles. Make sure you’ve got good posture and that your toes are back under your knees.
  2. Slowly stand up, moving your feet a little bit to get the blood flowing again.
  3. Slowly sit back again with control.
  4. Repeat up to 5 times.

As you repeat these, you’ll find that your leg muscles start to get quite warm and perhaps a little bit tense. That’s quite normal and shows that it’s working the muscles.

Telecare Self-Check online tool

Visit the Telecare Self-Check online tool to find the right support for you in your area. This easy to use online tool allows you to find helpful information on telecare services that could help you live independently at home for longer.

Level 2 exercises

Level 2 exercises - Exercise video - Falls | NHS inform

These exercises will help to improve your confidence, muscle strength and balance.

Strength and balance - level 2 exercises (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_blTU65X3U)

Watch our "Level 2 exercise" video to learn how to do these exercises and how often you should practice them.

Exercise guide

To start with, try each exercise 2 or 3 times and slowly increase the repetitions as you build strength and confidence. For example, in a couple of days you might repeat each exercise 5 times, working up to 10 repetitions in a couple of week's time.

After this time you’ll notice the difference, you’ll see your balance and strength improving, and you feel ready to join a group or class to build on these exercises.

Handholds

When using a chair or table for support, you could start by either:

  • holding on quite firmly
  • touching the chair or kitchen counter with a finger

If you're feeling particularly confident, hold your hand just above, but have a chair nearby just in case.

Support

You will need support when doing these exercises so find something in your house that’s safe and secure for you to hold on to. Your kitchen counter or a solid chair are good.

Easy marching

Easy marching is a good way to warm up, and keep your circulation flowing, before any exercise.

To easy march:

  1. place your feet hip-width apart, relax your body and keep your shoulders down
  2. start to walk on the spot
  3. as you walk, make sure you put the ball of your foot down first through to the heel
  4. if you feel confident, take your hand off the chair

As you warm up, you may feel that you want to raise your knees a little bit higher for a more purposeful march.

Ankle movements

It’s important to maintain flexibility at the ankles, so you can cope with uneven pavements.

To move the ankles:

  1. sit at the back of a chair with your back supported and make sure you’re sitting tall
  2. lift your leg and slowly pull your toes towards your knee
  3. slowly push your toes away from you and, in a slow and controlled manner, move your toes forward and back to increase the range of motion
  4. repeat this up to 10 times on each leg

Back knee strengthening

Knee strengthening exercises will help you to maintain strength in the muscle at the back of your leg. This exercise can be done with or without ankle weights. Hold on to a chair or counter to make sure your balance is good.

To strengthen the knee:

  1. stand up tall and pull your leg backwards a touch so that one knee is behind the other but the toe remains on the floor
  2. slowly lift the heel towards the ceiling
  3. hold for a slow count of 4

Knee bends

Knee bends work the muscles at the front of your thigh. Hold on to a chair or counter for support.

To do a knee bend:

  1. place your feet hip-width apart, stand up tall and make sure your posture is good
  2. bend both knees, making sure that they don’t go too far forward and you don’t bend too low. Try to keep looking forward as you do this
  3. hold for a slow count of 4 or 5, and then rise up again
  4. repeat up to 10 times

Heel-toe standing

An effective way to improve balance is to reduce the base of support (the amount of space that your feet take up on the floor). When practising heel-toe standing, make sure that you hold on to a chair or counter to start with. If you can, try to reduce your handhold so that the hand is just above the chair.

To do heel-toe standing:

  1. grow tall, and bring one foot in front of the other, touching heel to toe
  2. transfer your weight so that it's equal on both feet
  3. hold for a slow count of 5
  4. repeat up to 10 times

Heel-toe walking

Heel-toe walking builds on heel-toe standing by including a movement forward. When practising heel-toe walking, make sure that you hold on to a chair or counter to start with.

To do heel-toe standing:

  1. stand up tall and keep looking forward
  2. slowly move one foot in front of the other so that the heel touches the toe. Make sure you’ve got your weight evenly
  3. distributed before you start the next step
  4. if you can, take your hand off the chair, but keep it nearby for support
  5. progress to doing about 10 of these steps

Sideways walking

Sideways walking is another important balance exercise.

To do a sideways walk:

  1. place your feet hip-width apart, stand up tall and hold on to something firm
  2. take one foot out to the side and put the toe down before the heel. Try to keep looking forward. 
    As you bring the other leg to join it, keep a gap between the legs
  3. depending on the amount of space you’ve got, keep moving to the left and then right until you’ve done about 10 steps.If you can, reduce the handhold over time

If you can, reduce the handhold over time

Sit to stand

Moving from sitting to standing is a core exercise tha'll help to improve your strength and balance. You can do this anywhere in your home, but make sure you’ve got a solid chair.

There are 3 handholds, you could either:

  • push firmly on the arms of the chair
  • have a light fingertip touch
  • fold your arms and let your legs do all the work, if you're more confident

To sit to stand:

  1. sit forward from the back of the chair to work the back muscles. Make sure you’ve got good posture and that your toes are
  2. back under your knees
  3. slowly stand up, moving your feet a little bit to get the blood flowing again
  4. slowly sit back again with control
  5. pepeat up to 8 times

As you repeat these, you’ll find that your leg muscles start to get quite warm and perhaps a little bit tense. That’s quite normal and shows that it’s working the muscles.

Telecare Self-Check online tool

Visit the Telecare Self-Check online tool to find the right support for you in your area. This easy to use online tool allows you to find helpful information on telecare services that could help you live independently at home for longer.

Level 3 exercises

These exercises will help to improve your strength and balance further if your balance and muscle strength is already quite good.

Strength and balance - level 3 exercises (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXrqC9Q73QE)

Watch our "Level 3 exercise" video to learn how to do these exercises and how often you should practice them.

Exercise guide

To start with, try each exercise 2 or 3 times and slowly increase the repetitions as you build strength and confidence. For example, in a couple of days you might repeat each exercise 5 times, working up to 10 repetitions in a couple of week's time.

After this time you’ll notice the difference, you’ll see your balance and strength improving, and you feel ready to join a group or class to build on these exercises.

Handholds

When using a chair or kitchen counter for support, you could start by either:

  • holding on quite firmly
  • touching the chair or table with a finger

If you're feeling particularly confident, hold your hand just above, but have a chair nearby just in case.

Support

You will need support when doing these exercises so find something in your house that’s safe and secure for you to hold on to. Your kitchen counter or a solid chair are good.

Easy marching

Easy marching is a good way to warm up, and keep your circulation flowing, before any exercise.

To easy march:

  1. place your feet hip-width apart, relax your body and keep your shoulders down
  2. start to walk on the spot
  3. as you walk, make sure you put the ball of your foot down first through to the heel
  4. if you feel confident, take your hand off the chair

As you warm up, you may feel that you want to raise your knees a little bit higher for a more purposeful march.

Ankle movements

It’s important to maintain flexibility at the ankles, so you can cope with uneven pavements.

To move the ankles:

  1. sit at the back of a chair with your back supported and make sure you’re sitting tall
  2. lift your leg and slowly pull your toes towards your knee
  3. slowly push your toes away from you and, in a slow and controlled manner, move your toes forward and back to increase the range of motion
  4. repeat this up to 10 times on each leg

Toe raises

Toe raises can help to strengthen the muscles at the front of our feet, which are often weak. These muscles are important as they help to lift our feet over obstacles.

To do a toe raise:

  1. hold on to a chair or kitchen counter for support, and stand tall with good posture
  2. slowly bring your toes up towards your nose. You may not have quite this level of flexibility, but try to raise them as far as you can

Each time you do this, keep your stomach muscles tight and your bottom in. It's normal to wobble as you practice toe raises.

Toe walking

Toe walking is another important balance exercise.

To toe walk:

  1. start by growing tall and make sure you’ve got something to hold on to
  2. pull your tummy muscles in and move slowly up on to your toes
  3. when you're steady, take small, controlled steps on your toes. Try to keep the weight on your big toe and second toe. Look forward as you step
  4. bring your heels down, turn towards your support then turn around and go in the opposite direction
  5. aim to do 10 steps in both directions

Heel walking

This balance exercise is a bit more difficult. Make sure that you’ve got a good solid support to hold on to.

To heel walk:

  1. standing tall, pull your toes up towards your nose, keeping your tummy tight and your bottom in
  2. take small, controlled steps on your heels, looking forward as you step. This can be difficult but try as hard as you can to raise the toes up and keep them up during the walking
  3. turn towards your support, then turn around and go in the opposite direction
  4. aim to do 10 steps in each direction, reducing your handhold over time

Sit to stand

Moving from sitting to standing is a core exercise that'll help to improve your strength and balance. You can do this anywhere in your home, but make sure you’ve got a solid chair.

There are 3 handholds, you could either:

  • push firmly on the arms of the chair
  • have a light fingertip touch
  • fold your arms and let your legs do all the work, if you're more confident

To sit to stand:

  1. sit forward from the back of the chair to work the back muscles. Make sure you’ve got good posture and that your toes are back under your knees
  2. slowly stand up, moving your feet a little bit to get the blood flowing again
  3. slowly sit back again with control
  4. repeat up to 10 times

Telecare Self-Check online tool

Visit the Telecare Self-Check online tool to find the right support for you in your area. This easy to use online tool allows you to find helpful information on telecare services that could help you live independently at home for longer.