Leg exercises are necessary especially for the elderly to help them retain their sense of freedom and mobility. Due to the onset of age, there are numerous health issues that can occur such as loss of strength, muscle mass, and flexibility. The good news is that by weight training and proper leg exercises, these problems can be prevented. Aside from this, leg exercises and strengthening can also improve one’s sense of balance as well as coordination which is necessary at this age. So what exercises can you do to improve the strength and mobility of your legs?
- This can be done either with the aid of a leg press machine or a chair at home. Do chair squats or, if you’re going to use a leg press, see to it that you are comfortable with the weight that you are using.
- Ankle Circles. This aims to improve the flexibility of your ankles as you move them upwards or downwards. You can use this as a warm up exercise before doing any leg strengthening work outs.
- Leg Extensions. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, leg extensions can help minimize the pain that normally occurs on the knees. Sit on a chair with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Make sure that your feet are pressed on the floor. Contract your quadriceps slowly while straightening your leg out in front of you. Hold this for 3 to 5 seconds before bringing your foot back down. Do the same with the other leg.
- Calf Raises. Strengthening your calf muscles is necessary to have sufficient power to move forward or uphill. This exercise also helps with pumping blood from your legs upwards to your brain.
- Leg Curls. If you want to improve your balance and posture this exercise is right for you. Get a chair and stand behind it. Shift your weight towards your left leg then bend your right knee slowly up to the point that you are comfortable. Hold this for a few seconds before bring your right leg down. Repeat with the other leg.
- Knee Extension. Knee strengthening exercises such as knee extension is useful in improving your sense of balance and ability to stand. It also helps widen your knees’ range of motion.
- Step Up. Coordination, balance, and assisting in your movement when walking, the step up exercise should be done with just a single step. Step up on a 6-inch high box or step with your right leg, balance yourself for a few seconds before going back to your original position. Don’t go back down quickly but rather carefully.
- Side Hip Raise. This is perfect in training your legs to sidestep obstacles when walking. This can also help prevent hip arthritis.
- This exercise aims to strengthen your hips and quadriceps. It is also useful if you’re having a hard time getting out of a chair as it improves your sense of balance. Lunges also improve your ability to do household chores as well.
- Hip Extension. You can strengthen your hip joint as well as your muscles. This workout aims to boost your ability to walk and climb.