Our Review Process
Our articles undergo extensive medical review by board-certified practitioners to confirm that all factual inferences with respect to medical conditions, symptoms, treatments, and protocols are legitimate, canonical, and adhere to current guidelines and the latest discoveries. Read more.
Our Editorial Team
Shifa Fatima, MSc.
Dr. Apoorva T, MHM.
Coordination Exercises for Older Adults
Maintaining body balance and coordination is essential for older adults to perform their day-to-day activities. As we age, we tend to reduce our coordination, balance, and memory. As a result, we have to depend on others for even the simplest tasks. If you don’t want to rely on others to perform daily activities, you should start regular exercises that improve your motor coordination. Integrating agility and balance exercises in everyday workout routines is the key to enhancing coordination in older adults.
The elderly can perform exercises that involve eye and hand coordination, eye and foot coordination, hand and foot combination, or a combination of all these. To help older adults enhance their coordination, we have listed below some of the best coordination exercises that are easy to perform, safe, and highly impactful. You can perform all these exercises in the comfort of your home. So let’s quickly explore the exercises shared below.
1. Walking Heel to Toe
It is the simplest home exercise seniors can perform to strengthen their legs, enabling them to walk without falling. This exercise targets your lower body muscles, especially the muscles in your ankles and calves. You can perform this exercise following the below-mentioned steps.
- Put your left leg/foot in front of your right foot. While doing so, ensure the heel of your left leg touches the toes of your right foot.
- Now move your right foot in front of your left foot, putting the entire body weight on your heels.
- Gently shift your weight to the toes, and repeat the steps with your right foot.
You can walk 20 steps to gradually improve your coordination and balance by walking heel to toe.
2. Single Limb Stance with Arm
Another effective workout on our list of coordination exercises for elderly is the single-limb stance with the arm. This exercise targets your calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. If you want to strengthen your core and lower body muscles, include this exercise in your regular workout plan. Follow the below-mentioned steps to do a single-limb stance with an arm.
- Stand beside a static chair, keeping your feet together and arms at your side.
- Lift your right hand over your head, and slowly raise your right foot off the ground.
- Hold this position for approximately 10 seconds, and then return to the first starting position.
- Repeat the same steps with the left hand and leg.
You can do this 10 times on each side.
3. Marching in Place
One of the easiest balance and coordination exercises for adults is marching in place. This single exercise can help older adults work on their gluteals, quadriceps, hip flexors, hamstrings, calves, and tibialis anterior. Although it can be done without support, you can hold onto a chair or other surface for support (if needed). You can perform this exercise following the below-mentioned steps.
- Stand straight on a mat or flat surface and gently lift your right knee as high as possible.
- Lower it, lift the other leg (left leg) as high as possible, then bring it down.
Keep repeating these steps 20 times to strengthen your lower body muscles.
4. Back Leg Raises
A simple home workout, back leg raises can be done by adults to strengthen their lower back and bottom. It targets the abs, hamstrings, lower body, and glutes. You can perform this exercise by following the below-mentioned steps.
- Stand behind the chair and slowly raise your left leg straight back. Ensure you don’t bend your knees or point your toes during this step. During this step, you can also take support of the chair by placing your hands on it.
- Hold this position for one second or two, then gently bring the leg back down.
You can repeat this 5 to 10 times per leg.
5. Wall Pushups
Wall push ups are considered great coordination exercises for seniors because it targets multiple muscles at the same time. While it primarily targets the muscles in both your shoulders, arms, and chest, it also somewhat engages your glutes, calves, and quads. When done correctly, wall pushups can help improve upper body mobility, postural stability, and balance. You can perform wall pushups following the below-mentioned steps.
- Stand at one arm’s length in front of a wall and slightly lean forward, putting your palms flat on the wall. The palms should be at the width and height of your shoulders.
- Gently bring your upper body towards the wall while keeping your feet planted flat on the ground.
- Now slowly push yourself back until your arms are straight.
You can do 20 of these every day for the best results.
6. Clock Reach
This exercise was designed to improve balance and coordination by targeting and strengthening your glute and hip muscles. To do the clock reach exercise, you will need a static chair. Before beginning the clock reach exercise, you must also imagine that you are at the center of a clock where the number 6 is directly behind you and the number 12 is in front of you. Once ready, you can follow the below-mentioned steps to do this exercise.
- Gently raise your right leg and right arm, pointing towards 12.
- Now, point your arm towards 3.
- Next, take it back, pointing it to the number 6.
- Again bring your arm to the number 3 and then to 12.
You can do this exercise 2 to 5 times on each side. While doing the whole exercise, look straight.
7. Calf Stretches
The calf stretches are among the easiest coordination exercises for elderly, and they help significantly reduce pain, instability, and tightness. You can perform calf stretches by following the below-mentioned steps.
- Stand facing a wall (with nothing placed on it) and place your palms on the surface at eye level.
- Place your right leg behind your left leg, keeping the right heel on the ground and bending your left knee.
- Hold this stretch position for 15 seconds to 30 seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.
- Repeat the same steps with the left leg and heel to complete a rep.
You can repeat this 4 times on each side.
8. Walking Heel to Toe
The exercise ‘walking heel to toe’ is designed to improve coordination and balance. It even strengthens the muscles in your feet and legs, preventing any fall-related injury. You can perform this exercise following the below-mentioned steps.
- Place your right foot in front of the left foot. The position should be such that the heel of your right foot touches the toes on top of the left foot.
- Now gently move your left foot in front of the right, placing the weight on your heel.
- Next, shift the weight to your toes, then repeat the same step with your right foot.
You can perform 20 steps of this exercise to improve your coordination and balance over time.
9. Rock the Boat
An excellent exercise to enhance stability and coordination, rock the boat is an easy-to-do home workout for adults. It targets the core and leg muscles, particularly the thighs and calves. You can perform this highly impactful exercise following the below-mentioned steps.
- Stand on a mat or even ground with your feet apart. Your feet should have the same space as the hip width.
- Firmly press both feet into the ground and stand straight with your head level.
- Gently transfer your body weight to the right foot and simultaneously raise your left leg.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds or as long as possible, then return to the starting position.
- Now repeat the same steps with the opposite leg and foot.
You can perform this 5 times on each side.
10. Single Limb Stance
It is the easiest coordination exercise you can perform for improved coordination. It targets your hips, ankle, and knees. This simple exercise can help adults improve leg balance and proprioception. You can correctly perform this exercise following the below-mentioned steps.
- Stand behind a static chair and hold onto its back for support.
- Gently lift your left foot and balance on your right foot.
- Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, then switch feet.
The goal of this exercise should be to stand on one foot without having to hold the chair. You can do this exercise 10 times on each side.
All the exercises listed above are safe for adults, highly effective, and require no equipment besides a static house chair. You can start with a few exercises and later add more to the workout routine for the best results. Irrespective of the exercises you begin with, remain consistent for visible results.
Table of Contents
Improve Coordination with Easy Home Exercises
Perfect body balance and coordination are crucial to maintaining physical and mental well-being. It helps improve the body’s form and flexibility and reduces the chances of fall-related injury. If you are an older adult who wants to bring more stability and balance to your body, doing regular coordination exercises can help. You can incorporate various coordination exercises that simultaneously target different body parts.
You can start your fitness journey today and improve your coordination by doing the coordination exercises listed above. Most of the exercises featured in this article are simple and safe for older adults. If you have particular health conditions, you can consult a healthcare provider or a certified fitness trainer to design the best workout routine based on your health condition and goals.
Why do Some People Lose Their Balance as They Get Older?
Many reasons affect balance in people. Some common reasons include medication, a head injury, ear infection, etc. Even low blood pressure can lead to dizziness when you try to stand up too quickly, affecting the overall balance. If you have balance issues, consult a doctor to find the exact reason through a proper diagnosis.
How do You Restore Coordination?
Performing some coordination exercises regularly is the best way to restore coordination. You can engage in activities like swimming, playing catch, and racquet sports, and do exercises like knee curls, toe stand, tai chi, heel-to-toe walk, back-leg raises, etc., to gradually improve balance. In short, any activity that keeps your body moving and makes you stand on your feet is an excellent way of restoring balance.
Can Poor Balance be Improved?
Yes, poor balance can be improved with daily exercise. Simple exercises can be performed by people facing severe balance issues to prevent any fall-related injury. You can start stretching exercises, climbing stairs, or any other activity involving movement of ankles, hips, and knees. If you have poor balance issues, you can start brisk walking 20 minutes a day and add more activities as your body gains strength.
What Type of Stroke Affects Coordination?
Brain stem strokes can affect balance and coordination. This stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain stem gets disrupted. The brain stem is responsible for managing multiple vital functions like breathing, transmitting nerve signals, controlling heart rate, etc., so any impact on this area is bound to affect body coordination and other essential body functions.
This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.