Harvard Health’s 3-Step ‘Beep’ Program Helps You Maintain Balance As You Age
According to Harvard Health, BEEP—balance-enhancing exercise program—is a study-backed method to improve your balance. In a 2016 study published in Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, people who stuck to it not only had better balance, but also had a quicker walking speed and more confidence. While the program is primarily meant for those between 60 and 80 years old, experts say it's best to focus on your balance earlier rather than later after it's gone.
"I always tell my clients to look at bigger picture fitness—not fitness for right now, but fitness forever." —Holly Roser, personal trainer
Brad Manor, PhD, the associate director of the Mobility and Falls Translational Research Center with Hebrew SeniorLife, says working balance exercises into your routine now can keep your sense of balance strong as you age. Holly Roser, a personal trainer and owner of Holly Roser Fitness. "The last thing you want is to be in your 70s and worry about falling," she says. "I always tell my clients to look at bigger picture fitness—not fitness for right now, but fitness forever."
There are three exercises the BEEP program focuses on that you can start doing right now—all of which Dr. Manor says "increase both the physical and cognition skills needed for better balance." Follow Roser's instructions below to ensure you're doing the best exercises for balance correctly and you'll be on your way to a more balanced life in no time.
The BEEP program's 3 best exercises for balance
1. Heel and calf raises
- Lift your heels off the floor 2 to 3 inches. If you need support, lightly hold the top of a chair.
- After holding for 10 seconds or longer, lower your heels back to the floor.
- Do 3 sets of 10 reps, 3 times per week. For a greater challenge, try this movement with one leg.
2. One-legged standing
- Lift your right leg 6 to 12 inches off the floor.
- Hold for 30 seconds and switch to the other side.
- Do 3 sets of 30 seconds on each leg, every day. For a greater challenge, perform the exercise with your eyes closed.
- Start with your feet hip-width apart and sit back like you're sitting in a chair at a 90-degree angle.
- Focus on pushing through your heels and engaging your core as you lower down, stopping when your thighs are parallel to the floor. If your knees are coming in or out, keep them pointed straight ahead.
- Exhale as you come back up to your starting position.
- Do 3 sets of 15 reps, 3 times a week.
Perfect your form with these instructions:
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