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Balance Improvement - Occupational therapy

How to Improve Sitting Balance for Stroke Survivors

Stroke survivors often face numerous challenges in their recovery journey, and one of the most critical aspects to address is sitting balance. Improving sitting balance is essential for enhancing overall mobility, independence, and quality of life. In this article, we will explore practical tips and exercises on how to improve sitting balance for stroke survivors.

Understanding Sitting Balance

Sitting balance refers to the ability to maintain a stable and upright position while seated. After a stroke, many individuals experience weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, making it difficult to sit without support. Good sitting balance is crucial for performing daily activities, such as eating, dressing, and transitioning from sitting to standing.

Why Sitting Balance is Important

Improving sitting balance has several benefits:

  • Enhanced Mobility: Better sitting balance helps in performing movements more efficiently and safely.
  • Increased Independence: With improved balance, stroke survivors can perform daily tasks with less assistance.
  • Reduced Risk of Falls: A stable sitting posture reduces the likelihood of falls and injuries.
  • Improved Quality of Life: Being able to sit comfortably allows for greater participation in social and recreational activities.

Tips on How to Improve Sitting Balance

  1. Start with Proper Positioning
    • Ensure that you are sitting in a chair with a firm, flat seat.
    • Keep your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
    • Align your hips, shoulders, and ears in a straight line.
    • Use pillows or cushions to support your back if needed.
  2. Engage in Core Strengthening Exercises
    • Seated Marches: While sitting, lift one knee at a time as if you are marching. This helps strengthen the core muscles.
    • Seated Leg Lifts: Lift one leg at a time, keeping the knee straight. Alternate legs and focus on controlled movements.
    • Pelvic Tilts: Sit up straight and gently tilt your pelvis forward and backward. This helps improve pelvic stability.
  3. Practice Weight Shifting
    • Shift your weight from side to side while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Start with small movements and gradually increase the range.
    • Move your weight forward and backward, focusing on maintaining balance throughout the movement.
  4. Use Visual and Verbal Cues
    • Place a mirror in front of you to monitor your posture and alignment.
    • Use verbal cues or have a caregiver provide feedback to help maintain proper positioning.
  5. Incorporate Balance Challenges
    • Seated Reaches: While sitting, reach for objects placed in different directions. This helps improve dynamic sitting balance.
    • Stability Ball Exercises: Sitting on a stability ball can enhance core strength and balance. Start with short sessions and gradually increase the duration as your balance improves.
  6. Work with a Physical or Occupational Therapist
    • A therapist can provide personalized exercises and techniques tailored to your specific needs.
    • Therapists can also incorporate advanced methods like biofeedback and virtual reality to further enhance sitting balance.

Exercises to Improve Sitting Balance

Seated Trunk Rotation:

  • Sit up straight and place your hands on your thighs.
  • Slowly rotate your upper body to the left, then return to the center.
  • Repeat on the right side. Perform 10 repetitions on each side.

Seated Side Bends:

  • Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Place your right hand on your right thigh and raise your left arm overhead.
  • Gently bend to the right side, then return to the center.
  • Repeat on the left side. Perform 10 repetitions on each side.

Seated Rowing:

  • Sit up straight and hold a resistance band or towel in both hands.
  • Mimic a rowing motion by pulling your hands towards your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Return to the starting position. Perform 10-15 repetitions.


Improving sitting balance is a vital part of stroke recovery, enabling stroke survivors to regain independence and confidence in their daily activities. By incorporating these tips and exercises on how to improve sitting balance, stroke survivors can make significant strides in their rehabilitation journey. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise regimen to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your specific needs. With dedication and consistent practice, better sitting balance is achievable, leading to an improved quality of life.

By focusing on these strategies, stroke survivors can enhance their sitting balance, contributing to greater mobility and independence.