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5 Leg Exercises for Strength and Flexibility in the Elderly

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By engaging in regular exercise, older adults become stronger and have better balance, which reduces the risk of falls. If they’re physically fit, seniors can stay independent longer. Here are five leg exercises to help seniors increase strength and mobility.

1. Ankle Circles

This exercise is great to warm the muscles in the lower legs before starting a full exercise routine. Ankle circles also increase joint flexibility. The technique can easily be performed while sitting or standing and holding a chair or railing for support. Seniors simply lift one leg and rotate the ankle in circles five times in both directions, then repeat the process with the other leg. 

Simple low-impact exercises such as ankle circles can be done by almost any senior, while others may require a bit of assistance. Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Wellesley, MA, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

2. Squats

Squats can be accomplished while sitting in a chair or standing against the wall. The activity strengthens the buttocks and thighs while increasing hip and knee flexibility as well as range of motion in the joints. If choosing to use a chair, seniors should come to a standing position, lower the body by bending the knees and hips until almost seated, then resume a standing position. The exercise should be repeated 5 to 10 times. Conversely, seniors can stand with their back against the wall, then slowly lower the body into a squat until the knees bend at a 45-degree angle, rise to a standing position, and repeat.

3. Hip Exercises

Seniors often develop arthritis in the hips. Weakened muscles often also contribute to the problem. By performing hip exercises, older adults strengthen their thigh and buttock muscles and increase the hips’ ability to flex and have enhanced range of motion. Seniors should lie on the left side, on the floor or other solid surface. Bend the left leg at the knee and hip for support. Lift the right leg as high as possible. Hold the position for five seconds and slowly lower the leg. Repeat five times, switch sides, and exercise the left leg.

Arthritis and other medical conditions can make it challenging for aging adults to exercise on their own. Wellesley elder care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.

4. Leg Raises

This exercise strengthens the muscles in the lower back, buttocks, hips, and thighs. By strengthening these areas, seniors achieve better balance. Stand sideways behind a chair while holding the chair back for support. Lift the outer leg to the side while keeping it straight from the hip to the heel. Keeping the back straightened, hold for five seconds, and lower. With the same leg, stand straight and move the leg back while keeping it straightened. Hold for five seconds and relax. Repeat the process with the other leg. Perform 10 repetitions with each leg, then repeat.

5. Calf Exercise

By strengthening the calf muscles, seniors are better able to handle going up and down stairs or elevated terrain while on walks. Use a chair for support, and stand on a large book or phone book. Rise up on the toes and hold for five seconds, then lower. Repeat five times. Position both feet until the heels are past the edge of the book. Drop the heels to the floor to stretch the calves. Hold for five seconds and relax.

Some seniors need help with exercising, preparing nutritious meals, and staying healthy in general. Wellesley home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. Call Home Care Assistance today at (781) 239-0060 to learn more about our premier in-home care services.

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