Leg Strengthening Exercises for Seniors

In this interview, a PartnerMD Health Coach shares a series of leg strengthening exercises that are perfect for seniors. Learn more about working with PartnerMD’s Wellness Team:

Watch the video or read on for some takeaways from the interview.

Importance of Leg Strengthening

Everyone should be doing some kind of strength training to keep up with your general, functional fitness – making sure that you’re able to do all of your activities of daily living. But it is especially important for seniors so you can decrease any chance of fall.

You definitely want to eliminate any physical barriers that might be in your living space for your safety, and make sure that you are doing whatever you can to you maintain your own strength. It is going to help you in the long run.

Exercise 1: Seated Leg Extension

The first exercise is a seated leg extension. Start by finding a sturdy chair that doesn’t have any wheels on it. Sit toward the edge of the chair and keep your feet a comfortable distance apart. Lift one leg at a time, holding it up for about two to three seconds, and then bring your foot back down. Go through eight to ten repetitions. You want to make sure you always repeat on the other side. This exercise targets the top of your legs, also known as your quadricep muscles.

Exercise 2: Leg Flexion

The next exercise in this routine targets the muscles on the outer side of our legs, also known as the hamstrings. This is also referred to as a leg flexion exercise. You will stay seated towards the edge of your chair and extend one leg outward so that your foot is further out in front of the leg that is bent, then drive down through your heel and pull your foot back in to meet the other one. Then switch legs, doing the same thing on the other side. You want to really focus on putting a little bit of pressure in through your heel to get the most out of this exercise.

Exercise 3: Chair Stand

The chair stand exercise uses your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. Stand straight up out of the chair, driving your weight down through your heels, and then sit back down into the chair. Repeat eight to ten times, making sure that you fully extend your hips on the way up.

Exercise 4: Side Leg Kick

Side leg kicks are meant to target your leg abductors. You’ll want to stand near or behind your chair to help keep your balance. Lift your leg out to the side, just about six inches off the floor, and then bring it back down to meet the other foot. You’ll do the same thing eight to ten times on one side, then switch and repeat with the opposite leg.

Exercise 5: Leg Cross

The final exercise targets your adductor muscles. We’ve already worked the outside of your legs, now we’re going to strengthen the inside of your thigh. You’ll want to keep the same standing position near or behind your chair. Lift your foot up off the ground and move it across the midline of your body so that your foot is now on the outside of your planted foot. Return your foot to the start position and repeat for eight to ten repetitions, making sure that you repeat on the other leg as well.

What’s Next?

These exercises are a great way to get started with exercising and building strength at home. If you have any questions or you’re looking to start a different type of exercise program, talk to a Health Coach.

At PartnerMD, our Health Coaches work closely with your physician to make sure that we are catering to any of your health needs, as well as your interests. We’d love to see you in the office!

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