Balance Exercises

Balance exercises are important in helping to prevent falls. Moderate to severe strokes often cause a loss of sitting balance in patients so balance is one of the first things that needs to be addressed in stroke rehab. If one cannot sit up, it is impossible to do activities of daily living (ADLs) such as dressing, bathing, and toileting. One cannot learn to stand safely until sitting balance is maintained first. Below are some exercises to improve sitting and standing balance. Please consult your physician or therapist to see if these exercises are safe and appropriate for you. It is advisable to have a therapist or trained caregiver present when attempting balance activities in order to help prevent falls. 

Weight Shift Side to Side 

Shift weight over the right hip then the left hip. Ribcage should move side to side and hip should lift off of surface. Do not bend at the waist to lean. Repeat 10-15 times. Books are placed under the hands while sitting to allow weight bearing through arms and to keep the hands from coming up off the sitting surface.

Balance Exercises Weight Shift Right
Balance Exercises Weight Shift Left

Weight Shift Forward and Back

Shift your weight forward and back by arching and rounding your low back. Repeat 10-15 times.

Balance Exercises Weight Shift Forward
Balance Exercises Weight Shift Backward

Leaning Down on Elbow

Lean down on to right elbow then push back up to center. Lean down on left elbow then push back up to center. Repeat 10 times.

Balance Exercises Leaning to Right
Balance Exercises Leaning to Left

Reaching Toward Weak Side

Reach your non-affected arm out toward the weak side while bearing weight through the weak or paralyzed arm. If the weak arm buckles or the hand slides, have a helper support the weak arm at the wrist and just above the elbow. Repeat 10-15 times.

Balance Exercises Reaching

Reaching Forward with Clasped Hands

Clasp hands together and reach forward then sit back up straight. Repeat 10 times.

Balance Exercises Reaching Forward

Sit to Stand with Clasped Hands

Clasp hands together and reach forward lifting bottom off of sitting surface then coming to full stand if able. If unable to do full stand, partial stand is acceptable. Return to seated position and repeat 5 to 10 times.

Balance Exercises Sit to Stand
Balance Exercises Standing with Clasped Hands

Other Balance Exercises

For further information and answers to question about balance problems, visit or visit for some great information about balance including how your balance can be affected after stroke and tips to avoid falling. 



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