Leg strengthening exercises for seniors are probably the most important exercises we can do.
Because strong legs:
It seems like a lot. But, it’s true. Leg strengthening exercises for seniors are the next thing to the “Fountain of Youth”.
Simple. Our leg muscles and our back muscles are the largest muscle groups in our bodies. When we exercise these muscle groups, we create what is called an “oxygen debt”.
All this means is, leg exercises use lots of oxygen. This makes us breathe faster and more deeply.
Leg strengthening exercises for seniors not only exercise your legs, but your heart and lungs as well. Your metabolism is increased. Your circulation is increased.
Every cell in your body gets more good circulation. More vital nutrients and more oxygen. This makes us feel refreshed all over.
And, the deep breathing that comes with leg strengthening exercises for seniors helps release endorphins. The hormones that make us feel good and that relieve pain.
And, of course, our legs get stronger. So, it is easier to move around whenever we want.
One of the best things about leg strengthening exercises for seniors is we don’t have to go to a gym to do the exercises we need.
Nope. You can get your legs in pretty darn good shape right in your own home. With just 3 simple exercises that take less than 10 minutes to do. And, the only piece of exercise equipment you’ll need is a sturdy chair.
Yes, you can build your leg strength right in your own home, doing all the exercising you need in just minutes a day.
We hear this a lot. And, we found the reason a lot of seniors hate exercising is because it’s too hard and it leaves them too sore.
Well, do you know why?
It’s because they do too much too soon. Leg strengthening exercises for seniors often need to be started very gradually. And, that means very gradually. We're going to show you how.
Just because an exercise can be done 50 times by someone else, doesn’t mean you can do it even 5 time comfortably. Yet. And, that's perfectly OK. For now.
So, we’re going to show you how to start slowly. Make slow but sure progress. And, get that strength that you thought you’d never have again.
If you hate exercise, here’s some great news: Do the one basic exercise for just a few minutes each day, and you’ll get stronger. So much stronger that you probably won’t even believe it could have happened.
If you’re willing to do 10 - 20 minutes a day, you’ll be bordering on truly athletic.
Well, the news just keeps getting better. There is ONE, yes, just one exercise, that takes only a few minutes each day, that can double your leg strength in a matter of weeks.
Bodybuilders (muscle men) and other athletes call this exercise the “Squat”. And, it looks just like it sounds.
We realize that doing even one full squat is impossible for many seniors. Even many younger seniors. That's quite common.
So we have the “Half Squat”. And, even easier, the “Partial Squat” supported by a chair.
All this exercise requires in the beginning, is you sitting down part way and getting back up again. Over and over again. Maybe only just 3 - 5 times at first. Simple. Right?
You don't have to go all the way down to the chair in the beginning. That's OK. You may not get that far for weeks. Or, even some months. At first you may only squat a few inches for 3 repetitions. You may think this is nothing. But, if it takes a little effort, it is something great.
Something (if you do it day after day) that will get you stronger and stronger.
So, no matter how weak you may feel right now, if you practice day after day, for just a few minutes (yes, under 5 minutes), you will get stronger.
But, what if just getting out of a chair right now is a real battle for you? It is for many senior citizens. What if you think, at this point, leg strengthening exercises for seniors are impossible for you?
If that's what you're thinking now, don’t despair. You can get a lot stronger than you are now. Really. Even if you don't think you can right now. And, it’s not difficult or exhausting if you do it right. And, you have patience.
So, in a moment, we’re going to show you the best beginners leg strengthening exercises for seniors VIDEO that we found. It is by Physical Therapist Margaret Martin.
If you think you’ve long since past any hope of getting up easily from a chair, this VIDEO is for you.
One of the most important parts of this video is where Margaret shows you how to get started with this exercise if you have very weak legs right now.
As you already learned, in the beginning you won’t be squatting all the way down. You’ll either squat to just the arm of the chair, OR, place pillows on the seat and only go down that far. It may be just a few inches. That's OK. Just do what you can.
This one exercise will take you only one to two minutes each day. So, there is no excuse not to get started today.
If your balance is a little shaky, put another chair in front of you to hold on to. And, if you are quite weak, have a family member or friend there to assist you and keep you from falling.
Once you get the feel of these half squats, you’re going to add just 2 more simple exercises to your routine.
there are many small muscles in your legs that stabilize you. Take a look at them all:
So, the first of the leg strengthening exercises for seniors, the "chair squat", will be strengthening the big muscles that lift you up.
The next two exercises: "toe raises" and "balance on one foot", strengthen those small muscles that enable us to stabilize and hold our balance much more easily.
Margaret is going to show you how to do these here:
The main reason most seniors won’t do chair squats daily is that: Right now squats are too difficult. When squats are too difficult many of us feel defeated before we even try a second repetition.
If that’s you, you’re not alone.
BUT, if that is you, you’re going to be starting with very easy partial squats. Going down only an inch or two.
Seniors who are having a difficult time getting out of a chair usually haven’t been exercising for many years (or ever) and regular chair squats just feel too darn difficult.
That’s why you’ll only be going down part way in the beginning. Until your legs develop more strength.
Here’s the key:
Only squat down as far as is comfortable for You.
There is no shame in being a beginner. Everyone had to learn to walk as a child. No one ever came out of the womb walking. Right? And, regaining leg strength takes some time too.
If all you can do in the beginning is only an inch, that’s OK. Just keep doing that inch each day. Start with just 3 repetitions (that means do it 3 times in a row). Work up to 10 repetitions at whatever distance you can do before you make the squat deeper.
Eventually that one inch will easily become two. Then three. Then four….. After a bit of time you’ll find getting in and out of the car fully will become no problem.
Yes, if your legs are very weak now, this may take some weeks, or, months. That’s OK. It’s not a race.
And, Remember This: If you do nothing, you’ll only get weaker. And, weaker. If you are even starting with one inch, BUT, you do the exercise daily, you will get stronger and stronger as time goes by. And, time is going to go by anyway. So, make it work for you.
Doing just a little, every day, will make you stronger. And, that little bit each day is 1,000 times better than not moving at all.
So, don’t judge yourself by how far you can go right now. Judge yourself by how willing you are to try your best every day.
The benefits of this one exercise can often not even be comprehended, or believed, until you’ve been doing it for a few weeks.
At first, many older seniors may have trouble doing this only one time before resting. And, that’s OK.
You’ll rest for 30 seconds and do it again.
Maybe 5 of these is all you can do the first day. With a rest between each one. But, that’s 1,000% better than doing none.
And, if you persist, day after day, eventually you'll most likely find yourself:
Now, be prepared for this.... We all feel great, and proud, after our first “workout”. And, we should.
BUT: the next day….. oh baby!! We don't want to move anything.
Yes, the day after you start exercising, your muscles may ache and you may wish you never agreed to such a silly idea.
But, get up and do it again. And, again the day after. By day 4, it’s going to feel easier. The soreness will dissipate. Soon 5 of these “half squats” is going to be quite doable. With no rest in between.
Then you’ll move up to 6. Then 7…. until you reach 10 comfortably.
Then, you’ll squat just one inch deeper. And, keep doing that until 10 are comfortable again.
Then another inch deeper…. On and on. Until you’re squatting all the way down to the normal height of the chair and getting back up again.
Don’t be upset if this takes some weeks or months. Don’t feel like you’re too old. Or, too out of shape. Or, too fat. Or, too skinny. Or, too anything negative…. If you have legs that still work, you’ll get there. If you just keep doing this daily.
Well, you’re not.
The science and studies show that we can grow muscles (and strength) even into our 90s! Yikes!
No, we senior men aren’t going to become Mr. Americas. Senior women aren’t going to become fitness models. But, we darn well can be a whole lot stronger than we are today. And, we can learn to move around, and get out of chairs, with a lot of ease.
Look what Science Daily says can happen in just 12 weeks:
“After doing specific training for 12 weeks, people over the age of 90 improved their strength, power and muscle mass. This was reflected in:
An increase in their walking speed
A greater capacity to get out of their chairs
An improvement in their balance
A significant reduction in the incidence of falls
A significant improvement in muscle power, and mass in the lower limbs.”
ref: “Study on 90-year-olds reveals the benefits of strength training”
Pretty great! Do you agree?
The #1 point to remember here is:
You’re Never Too Old to Begin.
Even if you’re 90+, the research shows that you can still gain muscle mass and strength.
IF you will exercise properly for just a few minutes each day.
This simple Chair Squat along with the toe raise and single leg balance (that you watched above) are best leg strengthening exercises for seniors.
Remember: It's not going to be difficult or strenuous. It takes less than 5 minutes each day. So, let's start getting stronger now!
It’s time to begin! ~ William, Fiona, and Charlotte
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