Leg strengthening exercises for seniors can be a great way to build strength and increase mobility. They are especially beneficial for seniors who find it difficult to walk or stand.
Maintaining a healthy body is important at any age but especially when you’re older. As you grow older, it’s quite common to become less active, which can leave your body feeling weak and slow.
It’s important to remember that exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous for it to be effective; in fact, some of the most effective exercises are low impact and simple. Leg strengthening exercises can be very beneficial if you’re looking to stay healthy while aging gracefully.
Here are the some of the types of leg strengthening exercises for elderly
1. Partial Squat:
This leg muscle strengthening exercise for seniors helps to build up the muscles in the hips, which improves the ability to get up from a chair or step over an object.
Below are the instructions to do partial squat:
- Stand behind a chair. Keep your back straight and your shoulder blades up, and hold on to the back of the chair for support
- Inhale to prepare. Exhale as you slowly bend your knees as far as you are comfortable without feeling any pain. Keep the upper portion of your body straight
- Inhale and return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 10 more times.
2. Ankle circles:
Ankle circles are an effective way to strengthen the ankles and legs. They help to build strength, mobility, and stability in the muscles of the lower body and enable more efficient walking. This exercise will improve your balance and posture while strengthening your ankles and increasing flexibility.
Perform ankle circles while sitting down, standing up, or even lying on the floor. This is a good exercise to do after a long day of standing or walking. This can also be a good exercise for those who want to continue exercising but have joint pain.
Below are the instructions to do ankle circles:
- Sit on a chair. Place your left feet flat on the ground.
- Extend your right knee and draw clockwise circles with your foot. Repeat 20 times.
- Do the exercise in a counterclockwise direction.
- Repeat the exercise with your other foot. For a more difficult workout, try doing the exercise while standing.
3. Hip marching:
This is the type of exercise for elderly that strengthens the hip flexors and thighs. This will enable you to walk farther and faster without pain. Exercises such as this one help you lift your feet so that you don’t trip over objects.
Below are the instructions to do hip marching:
- Place your feet flat on the floor and sit up straight on a chair.
- Slowly raise your left knee as high as it will go, and then slowly lower your leg to the ground.
- Then do the same with your right knee.
- Alternately, repeat the process 10 times for both legs.
This is one of the best lower body exercises for seniors. Strengthening your quadriceps and hips can help you stand more easily, balance more steadily, and walk more confidently. These muscles are also helpful for getting up from a chair, lifting heavier items, and even maintaining your balance while standing.
Below are the instructions to do lunges:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Place your hands on your hips and slowly take a step forward with your left foot, keeping your torso upright.
- Return your left foot to the starting position. Repeat the movement 10 times.
- Perform the same exercise with the right foot.
5. Calf raises:
This type of leg-strengthening exercise is recommended for elders in order to improve balance and walking. Calf muscles are located at the back of your lower legs, and they help you push off the ground while you walk. Calf raising exercises aid in the circulation of blood from your lower legs to your brain and helps you avoid feeling faint when walking.
Below are the instructions to do calf raises:
- Stand behind a chair and place your hands on the back for support.
- Keep your back straight and inhale as you gently raise to your tip-toes as high as you are comfortable.
- Exhale and slowly lower back down to the floor. Repeat the exercise ten times.
6. Knee extension:
Knee injuries can make walking and everyday activities painful. In this case, strengthening the leg muscles around the knees can help improve the range of motion. When we have flexible and functioning knees, our balance improves and we avoid injuries.
- Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
- Inhale as you slowly lift and straighten your left leg in front of you, keeping your toes pointing toward you. Hold for a few seconds.
- Exhale as you slowly lower your left leg and repeat 10 times. Repeat the exercise with your right leg.
7. Standing knee flexion:
This lower body exercise for seniors helps in stretching the hamstring muscles and improves knee flexibility. Moreover, it improves your balance and helps prevent falls.
Below are the instructions to do standing knee flexion:
- To start this strength-building exercise, stand behind a chair, hold on to the back of it with one hand.
- Inhale and lift your left foot off the ground by bending your knee backwards. Try not to bend at the waist.
- As you exhale, slowly return your left foot to the starting position.
- Do this exercise 10 more times. Repeat the exercise with the other foot.
8. Sit to stand:
It’s important to learn the lower-body strengthening exercises that will help you with the day-to-day activities easily such as getting up from a chair, toilet, bed, or out of a car on your own. Maintaining your independence is invaluable as you age, and a way to do so is to continue strengthening your leg muscles.
Below are the instructions to do sit to stand:
- Start by standing tall directly in front of the chair so that the back of your knees is touching the seat.
- Inhale as you gently lower yourself down towards the chair. Halt before you reach the chair.
- Exhale as you raise yourself straight back into an erect standing position. Repeat this exercise at least 10 times each day.
9. Side hip raise:
Keeping your hips healthy and strong can prevent osteoarthritis of the hips, a condition that causes chronic pain in the joints of the knees and hips. To build up your lower body strength, try side hip raise exercise which is a type of leg strengthening exercise for elderly.
Below are the instructions to do side hip raise:
- Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart behind a chair. Put both hands on the back of the chair to help you balance.
- Lift your left leg to the side until it is parallel to the ground, without bending at your hips. Try to keep your foot at a right angle, toes pointing forward.
- Then slowly bring it down again. Repeat 10 times and then do the same with your opposite leg.
10. Heel stand:
Standing and balancing on your heels for long periods can be quite difficult for seniors. But doing so helps to strengthen your balance and keep you upright, which is why it is important to know how to do this exercise.
Below are the instructions to do heel stand:
- Stand straight behind a chair with your hands on the chair’s back for support.
- Exhale as you slowly rock back to your heels and lift your toes off the ground.
- Inhale as you slowly return your toes to their original position on the ground.
- Repeat the exercise 10 times more
11. Hip extension:
This is a good lower body exercise for seniors to strengthen the hip muscles, improve the posture, and help walk more confidently.
Below are the instructions to do hip extension:
- Stand straight behind a chair with your hands on the chair’s back for support.
- Inhale as you extend your left foot back slowly while keeping your knee straight. Your foot should be at a straight angle at all times.
- As you carefully return your left foot to its initial position, exhale.
- Repeat 10 times more.
- Switch over and repeat the process with your right foot.
12. Straight leg raise:
This exercise is especially beneficial for your hip flexors, abdominal muscles, quadriceps, and their associated ligaments and joints. As a result, your flexibility and balance will improve.
Below are the instructions to do straight leg raise:
- Lie on your back on the floor with the lower back touching the ground. Rest your palms against the floor.
- Bend your left knee keeping your left foot flat on the ground and straighten your right leg.
- Inhale as you slowly raise your right leg to the level of your bent left knee. If you can, hold it there for 10 seconds. Exhale while returning to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
- Switch over to the other leg and do the same.
As we have seen, these are simple leg strengthening exercises for seniors which can be practiced at home. They increase balance and mobility, reduce the risk of falling and aid in recovery from falls. Even in cases where you are recovering from a minor injury or surgery, focusing on leg strengthening exercises will help keep your body strong and active, helping you to stay fit and functional throughout your life.
As we have seen, these are simple leg strengthening exercises for seniors which can be practiced at home. They increase balance and mobility, reduce the risk of falling and aid in recovery from falls. Even in cases where you are recovering from a minor injury or surgery, focusing on leg strengthening exercises will help keep your body strong and active, helping you to stay fit and functional. Moreover, maintaining a healthy diet is also an important aspect of keeping your body fit and healthy throughout your life.