One of the leading causes of injuries in senior individuals is falling, which usually sustains severe, even life-threatening injuries at times.
Weakness in your legs and balance issues are, in turn, one of the main reasons why you may trip and fall so easily as a senior.
Besides those facts, many other health complications, such as back pain, joint pain, and immobility, can occur as you age.
With regular exercise, especially leg exercises, all these factors can be reduced, even eliminated.
Regular leg exercises for seniors will increase the strength in your legs, improve your balance, and improve fitness, which will aid mobility.
Why do Seniors Need Leg Exercises
As a senior, we do not just recommend that you do leg exercises but also other forms of exercise that will improve your strength, balance, health, and mobility.
Exercise, in general, has so many benefits for your health and fitness as a senior. However, in this article, I would like to focus on leg exercises and how they will benefit you as a senior individual.
- Reduces Risk of Falling – Regular leg exercises will reduce your risk of falling by at least 23%. Because you strengthen your legs and improve your balance with leg exercises, you are more stable and less likely to trip, slip and fall.
- Counteracts Disease – Regular exercise can help counteract disease by improving the function of your brain and heart. In turn, this helps prevent heart conditions and conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
- Better Mobility – When you are fitter, and your legs are stronger, you can move around much easier and feel that your body is much more mobile and flexible.
- Weight Loss – Leg exercises will also help you lose those extra pounds, which could be hazardous to your health, causing issues such as leg, foot, and back pain.
- Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis found in seniors. It occurs when the cartilage protecting your bones wears out over time. You can slow this down or prevent the condition by performing proper leg exercises and keeping weight off your joints, as well as with proper nutrition.
Leg Exercises for Seniors
So now that we have discussed all the good reasons why you need leg exercises as a senior, here are a few easy and effective leg exercises you can perform at home to strengthen your legs and improve your balance.
I have included some videos to give you a clearer idea of how to perform the exercises;
One of the best leg-strengthening exercises for seniors is calf raises. To do them, you must stand straight, holding onto a desk or wall to keep your balance. Now you rise on your toes as far as you can slowly and gradually and keep your heels off the ground. Hold for a while, and slowly and gradually return your feet t their normal position.
Lunges can strengthen your lower back and legs and help to improve coordination. Stand up straight, and keep your back straight. Step forward in one lunge and lower your hips. Stationary lunges are easier on your knees if you want to try that.
You can use a chair to complete a half squat. Hold the chair, bend both your knees as comfortably as possible, and slowly return to a standing position.
Knee extensions will help improve your balance and ability to stand properly. For this, your will need to sit in a chair, your back straight. Lift your right knee for a few seconds, then alternate and lift your left knee. Repeat these steps around 12 to 15 times.
Ankle circles are ideal as a warm-up exercise. Depending on your comfort and balance, you can sit or stand to do this exercise. Lift your leg off the floor and rotate your ankle around five to seven times, and do the same in the opposite direction, taking turns with each leg.
To improve coordination and balance, step-ups are an excellent choice. You will need a high box or a step. Step up carefully with your left leg, hold and balance counting to three and then lower yourself down slowly. Do the same with your right leg. You may need something to hold on to for balance.
Walk Heel to Toe
A very easy leg exercise for balance. It would help if you walked forward, putting one foot in front of the other in a straight line. Heel touching the toes of the foot and keeping your weight on the help first.
Single Leg Stance
Also a great balance and coordination exercise. Stand with your feet together, arms at your sides, next to a chair. Lift your right hand above your head, and lift your right l foot as high as possible. Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds. Could you do the same on the other side?
Wall Push Ups
An excellent leg-strengthening exercise. You can use the wall as a prop. Stand at arm’s length from the wall and lean forward slightly. Place your palms flat on the wall at the widths and height of your shoulders. Push your body towards the wall and push yourself back again to keep your arms straight. Similar to push-ups but uses a wall.
Marching in Place
Ideal for improving balance and is very easy. Stand straight and lift your left knee as high as possible, lower it down, and then lift your right knee. Repeat around 20 to 25 times.
Chair Toe Lifts
Use a chair to do these exercises. Sit straight and place your arms in front of you, raise your legs onto your toes as high as possible, and gently lower your legs.
Side Leg Raises
Take a chair and stand behind the chair with your feet slightly apart. Lift your one leg to the side as far as comfortable, keeping your back straight, and lower it again. Make sure your toe points forward. Do this on each side for around 10 to 15 repetitions.
If you perform some or even all of these leg exercises daily or just a few times a week, you should be well on your way to stronger and more balanced legs.
You will also feel refreshed and energized, with more vitality for life.