Feeling Off Balance While Walking: Causes and Potential Remedies

Feeling Off Balance While Walking: Causes and Potential Remedies

If you’re feeling off balance while walking, you’re not alone. Older adults commonly experience balance problems. Dizziness or feeling like the room is spinning can be caused by inner ear problems or other factors.

Balance for seniors is important because falls can often cause more problems that will land you in the hospital. Having good balance will help you walk better, stand up and sit down without falling, climb stairs, and much more. 

We will now take a look at some symptoms of balance issues, a few of the most common balance problems, and different treatments for balance issues.

to Our Blog

Please complete this required field.

Balance Issue Symptoms

There are many different symptoms you may experience if you’re having balance issues. Those symptoms might come and go. They include:

  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Falling or feeling like you may fall
  • Being lightheaded or feeling faint
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion or being disoriented

If any of these symptoms have you feeling off balance while walking, you should speak with your primary care doctor about balance disorders. Sometimes they can be an indicator of more serious health issues like an ear infection, stroke, or multiple sclerosis.

Common Balance Problems

A lot of different systems in your body have to work together to help you stay balanced. That includes your muscles, bones, joints, nerves, heart, blood vessels, and the balance organ in your inner ear.

With so many different areas working together to keep you upright, there are a lot of different things that can go wrong, according to the National Institute on Aging. Often times it’s something like an inner ear infection. Your inner ear, which is called the vestibular system, gets infected or swollen. That causes vertigo

Age and getting older is obviously one of the main reasons for losing balance, but specific injuries, disorders, and diseases can also lead to balance problems. Some of the most common medical conditions include:

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

BPPV is one of the most common disorders that cause dizziness in seniors. It results in intense vertigo – a sensation of spinning.

BPPV can occur from simply moving your head, such as when you roll over and exit bed or rise from sitting. It is an inner ear disturbance that is often brought on by mild to severe head trauma. BPPV may go away on its own within a few weeks or months.

Medication Side Effects

Unfortunately, it seems the older we get, the more medication we have to take. All medications have side effects. Many, including blood pressure medication, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, and some cancer drugs, can have side effects that affect your balance. You should discuss any possible drug interactions and/or side effects with your provider.


Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection that is known to affect balance. It develops when part of the inner ear becomes infected and inflamed, disrupting the transmission of nerve signals from the ear to the brain. Labyrinthitis is associated with the flu and can be treated with medication.

Meniere’s Disease

Another common cause of balance problems, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is Meniere’s disease. Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder where fluid builds up in the ear’s chambers. It causes symptoms such as dizziness (vertigo), ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and sporadic hearing loss. It can also cause you to feel nauseous and sick.

A woman comforts an older man who is experiencing symptoms of dizziness and loss of balance while walking.

Exercises To Improve Balance

With so many diseases and conditions that can affect your balance, it’s never too early to start taking steps to improve your balance and prevent falls.

Just as you exercise to strengthen your heart, you need to exercise to increase your balance. Many of these exercises can be done in minutes and while you’re sitting or lying down watching TV. You don’t even have to carve time out of your day to do them.

Just remember to listen to your body. If you start to feel dizzy, stop and rest. Don’t overdo it.

One-Foot Balance

This exercise is good for testing your balance. It sounds simple but standing on one foot can have you swaying back and forth if you aren’t careful. Start by standing on one foot for 10 seconds and then switching to the other foot. Slowly increase your time increments and do several rotations for a couple of minutes.

Head Rotations

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Slowly move your head from side to side, then up and down. Try to keep your body as still as possible. If you need to hold onto something for balance, you can. Do this for 30 seconds and repeat.

Sit and Stand

This is great for balance as well as strengthening your legs. Start by sitting upright in a chair with your knees bent. Then, slowly stand up without swinging your torso or pushing yourself up with your hands. Do this 10 times.

Standing Marches

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lift one knee up, so your thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your core straight and do not lean. Slowly return your foot to the floor and alternate legs. Perform 20 marches. If you need to hold onto something for balance, do so until you build up your strength.

Natural Remedies for Dizziness and Balance

There are several natural remedies for dizziness and feeling off balance while walking. 

There are some foods and supplements that can help with the symptoms. First, you need to think about how much water you’re drinking. Dehydration can cause dizziness. If you’re feeling tired and thirsty along with that dizzy feeling, try drinking more water.

Here are a few other things that can help:

  • Ginger – may relieve symptoms of nausea or motion sickness
  • Vitamin C – can help reduce vertigo symptoms for those with Meniere’s disease
  • Vitamin E – can help prevent circulation problems
  • Vitamin D – may help after a BPPV attack

Before trying any of these things make sure you consult your doctor. They could interfere with medications you’re already taking or other conditions you may have.

The Epley Maneuver

Another one of the home remedies you can try is called the Epley maneuver. It is supposed to help reduce dizziness by dislodging the crystals in your ear canals.

Use these directions from Johns Hopkins to complete the maneuver:

  • Sit on a bed
  • Turn your head 45 degrees to the right
  • Quickly lie back. Your shoulders should be on a pillow so your head tilts further back. Lay this way for 30 seconds.
  • Now, without raising your head, turn it 90 degrees to the left so you’re looking halfway to your left. Wait another 30 seconds.
  • Sit up with your head still turned to the left.

Most people say the symptoms are gone after completing this maneuver, but in some cases, you may need to do it a few times.

Prevent Falls With Improved Balance

We can’t stop the aging process, but we can work to lessen some of the aspects that accompany getting older. Knowing how to maintain your balance as you age is important, not just for your overall health but also to prevent falls and unnecessary injuries.

The number one thing you can do to maintain your balance as you age is to keep moving! Mix in some balance strengthening exercises, and you will be well on your way to improved balance and flexibility.


Skip to content