5 Leg Strengthening Exercises for Seniors
Even if you use a stairlift, lower body strength is crucial in helping you stay mobile. If you haven’t been working on your legs, it’s not too late. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still build and maintain muscles in your legs to help you with your daily activities.
Benefits of Having Strong Legs
You have to get a little creative when thinking of the best workouts to improve leg strength, but before getting to that, here are some of the benefits that come with having strong legs. These should give you extra motivation to put in the work to build muscle.
- Longer life – Strong legs mean more mobility and a more active lifestyle. A more active lifestyle means a healthier body and heart, which means you live longer and without as many conditions.
- Greater independence – One of the greatest causes of dependence is the lack of mobility. If you can’t move around your house with ease, you’re more likely to require support and extra care than a person who can move around freely. By engaging yourself in leg strengthening exercises, you can improve your mobility and enjoy a longer life of independence.
- Decreased risk of lower limb injury – If you have strong muscles and tendons, there's a lower chance of getting injured. This doesn't mean you won't get injured, but your chances with strong legs are much better.
- Better balance and agility – Strong legs give your body a strong base with good balance on which to rely on. In case you get tripped, the strong muscles allow quick response to get you back on your feet and avoid injuries.
- Aesthetic appeal – You’re definitely going to feel more comfortable with some nicely toned legs. It will definitely do some good to your confidence and self-esteem.
Now that you know what you stand to gain from having strong legs, you might be more open to adding some leg exercises to your routine.
Why not also read: 5 Chair Exercises for Seniors
5 leg strengthening exercises for seniors
Poor leg strength can make simple tasks difficult and it gets worse with age. Luckily, regardless of age. It’s possible to build muscle and maintain it. Even though losing muscle bulk is part of the ageing process, most of the changes are a result of lack of use. By carefully picking leg workouts that work for you, you can build muscle and restore most of the lost strength.
One of the downsides of age is having joint problems and reduced muscle build. Going for extreme leg workouts is not only a challenge but can result in excruciating pain for those suffering from joint complications like arthritis.
Walking is a great exercise to start with. It's low impact, it's not brutal on the joints, and it's effective. Whether you're taking your dog for a stroll or walking your grandson to the park, the time you take is going to be beneficial. The more you use your legs, the more muscle tone and strength you gain.
For walking to be effective, it’s recommended that seniors take between 3,000 and 9,500 steps each day. You can mark your walking times or use a pedometer to keep track of the number of steps you take each day.
Like every other exercise, start slow and work your way up. It’s more important to bring your feet up to speed in the right way to avoid complications.
If you’re looking for out of the box ways to increase lower body strength, swimming is worth a thought. The best thing about taking up swimming is, you will not only be working the legs but your arms, abs and even your mind.
Swimming also gives you an opportunity to socialise and make some new friends. Swimming is a preferred exercise, especially for seniors with joint problems. The viscosity of the water reduces the load on joints allowing you to work out harder and for longer without putting stress on your joints.
3. Sit and stands
For seniors that are not fans of the outdoors, it's still possible to get some work in even when indoors. The best exercise to start with is the sit and stand. As the name suggests, sits and stand are all about sitting and standing, but with some technicalities to achieve maximum effects.
Start by taking a seat with your feet flat on the floor. Tilt forward slightly, extend your hips and knees to stand. At first, you can use a little help from your arms. But, work on getting no help from your hands at all. Once you’re standing upright, return to the seated position.
Sit and stands are a great way to build muscles that will help you get in and out of a chair. If your balance is compromised, it’s best to have someone close to support you as you work out.
4. Knee lifts
The quadriceps are the largest group of muscles in the leg. They are vital to most of the leg movements and getting an effective workout and go a long way in improving strength and mobility. Knee lifts can help you achieve that.
Sit upright in a chair with your feet on the floor. Slowly lift one knee towards your chest. Try to bring the knee as close to the chest as comfortably possible. Lower it back to the floor. Repeat the same with the other leg. You can hold the sides of the chair for some extra stability. To make the exercise more challenging, you can consider changing the height of the motion.
5. Lunges for seniors
Lunges are one of the most effective leg exercises. They target a broad range of leg muscle groups, which is pivotal in ensuring you enjoy rapid results and improved strength.
For seniors, the lunges have to be slightly modified to keep them just as effective without as much load on the joints.
Start by making one large step with your right leg while lifting the left heel far enough until only your toes are touching the floor. With your shoulders relaxed, core engaged and standing up straight, lower your body slowly until the left knee is only a few inches from the floor. Hold the pose for a few seconds, then go back to the starting position and switch legs.
These few leg strengthening exercises, and some persistence, is everything you need to see some incredible changes and improved health. Remember to take things slow and pick up pace as you get used to the routine. It’s more important to focus