Maintaining strong legs is one of the most important things you can do to preserve your independence as a senior.
When your legs are weak, it becomes more and more difficult for you to walk, to be active, and to go on with your daily activities. Therefore, strengthening your legs could be a good idea to improve your mobility and overall health.
Learn how to strengthen your legs for seniors, start exercising, and enjoy being able to move and walk freely again.
1. Use a walker to perform different exercises
Walkers for seniors are designed to help them with their balance. But if your legs are weak, simply using a walker to walk around will not be enough to strengthen your legs.
If you want your leg muscles to get stronger, you need to perform some exercises. The good news is that the muscles in your legs are easy to strengthen as long as you commit to exercising them regularly.
Performing exercises with a walker is a good idea, as it assists you with your balance.
For example, you can try a standing march exercise. First, be sure your walker has its brakes engaged or is positioned against a wall or a couch. Stand with your hands on your walker, and keep your back straight.
Slowly raise one of your knees and hold this position for 5 seconds. Repeat ten times, and then start again with your other knee.
Many exercises to help strengthen legs for seniors can be done with walkers, so having poor balance is not an excuse not to start exercising.
2. Do simple sit-to-stand exercises
Have you ever wondered why your muscles get stronger when you exercise? It’s quite simple.
When you perform strength training exercises, they stress the fibres of your muscles. Then, as you rest, your muscles recover, and their fibres get a bit stronger each time. This is how your legs will gradually gain more and more strength.
If you find standing up from a chair difficult, try to sit-to-stand exercises.
Start by standing with a chair behind you. The seat of the chair should be right behind your knees. Next, bend your knees and lean forward as if you want to sit on the chair. However, pause briefly before you sit, then stand back up. Repeat ten times.
Use a walker for support if necessary.
3. Stretch your calves and do gentle calf raises
Calf raises help strengthen your calf muscles and improve the mobility of your ankles. Before you try this exercise, however, be sure to gently stretch your calves to help prevent cramps and pain.
To perform calf raises, stand behind a chair or use a walker for support. Raise on your toes, pause for a second, and then slowly return to your starting position.
Repeat ten times.
4. Strengthen your knees with knee extensions
Knee extensions are a good exercise to strengthen your knees. Start by sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Next, straighten out one of your knees and hold this position for a few seconds before bringing your foot back on the floor. You can then perform the exercise with your other knee and repeat it ten times on each side.
As the knee extensions get easier, you could perform them with small ankle weights.
5. Do a few squats daily
If you have good balance, you could do squats, exercises that pretty much target all the muscles in your lower body.
The movement pattern of a squat involves keeping your heels flat on the floor while you sit down between your legs, with your hips going below the level of your knees.
You could do assisted squats by holding on to something sturdy to help you go down and up.
6. Improve your walking endurance with hip marching exercises
Hip marching exercises will strengthen your thighs and your hips.
Start by sitting on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Next, lift your right knee as high as possible without pain. Slowly lower your knee, and do the same exercise with your left knee.
Repeat ten times on each side.
7. Head to the gym for supervised strength training
If learning how to strengthen your legs for seniors seems intimidating, you could head to a gym. Some trainers specialize in strength training for seniors, and they can recommend a workout that will consider your goals and your unique situation.
Your trainer will teach you how to strengthen your legs with the right exercises and equipment, and they will be there to supervise you and help you progress.