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Balance exercises

You can do these balance exercises at home to help improve your health and mobility.

Don't worry if you have not done much exercise for a while. The exercises are gentle and you can start slowly. Aim to gradually increase the repetitions of each exercise over time.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and keep some water close. Do the exercises near a wall or a stable chair, just in case you lose your balance.

Try to do these exercises at least twice a week.

Combine them with:

Sideways walking

man walking sideways
  1. Stand with your feet together, knees slightly bent.
  2. Step sideways in a slow and controlled manner, moving one foot to the side first.
  3. Move the other foot to join it.

Do 10 steps each way or step from one side of the room to the other. Avoid dropping your hips as you step.

Simple grapevine

man standing and crossing feet
Simple grapevine

This involves walking sideways by crossing one foot over the other.

  1. Start by crossing your right foot over your left.
  2. Bring your left foot to join it.

Try to do 5 cross-steps on each side. Put your fingers against a wall for stability if you need to.

The smaller the step, the more you work on your balance.

Heel-to-toe walk

man walking placing heel against toe of opposite foot
Heel-to-toe walk
  1. Standing upright, place your right heel on the floor directly in front of your left toe.
  2. Then do the same with your left heel. Make sure you keep looking forward at all times.

Try to do at least 5 steps. Put your fingers against a wall for stability if you need to. As you get better at this exercise, move away from the wall.

One-leg stand

man facing and touching wall while lifting bent leg up
One-leg stand
  1. Stand facing the wall, with your arms outstretched and your fingertips touching the wall.
  2. Lift your left leg, keep your hips level and keep a slight bend in the opposite leg. Hold the lift for 5 to 10 seconds.
  3. Gently place your foot back on the floor.

Do 3 lifts on each leg.


man stepping up onto step

Use a step, with a railing or near a wall for support.

  1. Stand in front of the step and put your right foot on the step.
  2. Put your weight on your right leg and lift your left foot on to the step.
  3. Return to the start position, one foot at a time.

Do 5 steps with each leg.

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE.

Page last reviewed: 23 February 2023
Next review due: 23 February 2026