According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are a leading cause for death or injury for anyone ages 65 and over. So, one of the most important goals for a senior is to decrease their own fall risk. Seniors can use a multitude of exercises as a tool to strengthen legs and reduce their risk of falls.
Why Do Seniors Fall?
Sadly, advanced age naturally brings on a heightened risk of falls. Your senior loved one’s risk increases due to many reasons including:
- muscle loss
- hearing loss
- impaired sight
- medication side effects
- loss of coordination
- gait issues
- cognitive impairment
- loss of balance
Consult with a Doctor Before Starting Exercises to Strengthen Legs
It’s imperative to talk to your loved one’s doctor before starting any new type of exercise regimen. Generally, seniors should plan to work out all of their major muscle groups (including the legs) at least 2-3 times weekly. They may already see improvement just months after their new exercise regimen begins!
Remember to encourage them to stop if there’s pain. (If pain is slowing your loved one down as they try to strengthen legs, not all is lost. They may still benefit from working with a physical therapist, especially for chronic conditions like arthritis.)
The Benefits Reaped from Leg Strengthening Exercises
When your senior loved one commits to building up and strengthening one of the largest groups of muscles in their body, they’ll be on their way to a healthier lifestyle. Even gentle leg exercises can pay big dividends!
Working those legs can actually strengthen joints. Higher metabolism may be a positive aspect of exercise, too. They may also feel less chronic pain. (And, hopefully, they will experience less falls — or none at all.)
Over time, leg exercises may also:
- Improve balance
- Improve posture
- Increase range of motion
- Increase flexibility
- Help prevent osteoporosis
- Keeps bones healthy
Exercise Socially in Your Community
Your loved one can try group exercises via a Palos Verdes or Torrance senior center, community center, or clinic. Add a muscle strengthening or aquatic exercise class to their weekly schedule so they can strengthen legs.
Legs can be strengthened through a variety of other fun activities that can be done with a group or with friends:
- speed walking
Exercise Privately in Your Own Home
Your loved one can also strengthen legs from the privacy and comfort of their own home. Here are three worthwhile leg-strengthening exercises to try that require no fancy equipment:
- Stand facing a set of stairs.
- Bend one knee and place that foot at the top of a stair. Bend the other knee, and step that foot up on the same stair.
- Step off the stair with one leg and then off with the other.
- Point the toe.
- Draw imaginary circles in the air with one foot.
- Repeat the motion five times clockwise.
- Now, try five times counterclockwise.
- Repeat these same set of motions with your other ankle
Seated Calf Raises:
- Sit on a chair with the feet hip-width apart.
- Place heels behind knees.
- Lift heels off of the floor until toes are pointed.
- Hold, then slowly lower heels to the ground.
Experiencing decreased mobility doesn’t necessarily mean that your loved one will lose their ability to live independently. Your senior loved one can strengthen legs through gentle movements done in the convenience of their own home or even in group exercise classes.
10-Minute Leg Workout for Seniors and Beginner
This 10 minute leg workout for seniors and beginners features five exercises to strengthen the lower body. Strong legs are important to help keep seniors independent and prevent fall-related injuries.
If your loved one needs extra help staying in their beloved Palos Verdes home, contact us at A Peaceful Way Home Care. We offer free in-home assessments.