Falls are the leading cause of accidents among adults over 65, and they can lead to severe injuries. As our bodies weaken over time, muscle weakness becomes one of the leading causes of falls. And the most common physical ailments are knee and joint pain such as Tendonitis, sprain, and Osteoarthritis, which can lead to more injuries and falls. Even if they refuse to do exercises, simple movements can help your loved one boost their energy and strengthen their muscles. Below are five simple knee strengthening exercises to help your loved one because prevention is the best protection against falls.
Straight Leg Raises
This is an easy option for beginners to try. The simple movement works on the hamstrings and quads around the knees to support the knees.
- Lie on the floor with legs stretched out straight.
- Bend one leg with the foot flat on the floor as support.
- Keeping the other leg straight, slowly raise it to align with the knee of the supporting leg.
- Lower the straight leg back onto the floor.
- Repeat ten times and switch sides. Complete up to three sets.
Knee extensions are done sitting down, and they are so simple that your loved one can even do it while watching TV. They strengthen the quadriceps muscles, which support movements around the knee.
- Sit upright with feet flat on the floor
- In the seated position, raise one leg off the floor.
- Extend the leg out in front, and hold for a count.
- Lower it back to the floor and switch legs
- Repeat for ten counts on each leg, up to three sets.
Calf Extension Exercise
Calf extension exercises build the muscles in the calf and the back of the leg that support our walking and standing movements. You can do calf extensions almost anywhere by getting on your toes and lowering your heel to the floor. Increase the challenge by following the steps below:
- Stand on a curb, step, or workout stool, making sure you have something to hold onto, either at the front or the side.
- Shift your stance to let your heels hang slightly off the edge.
- Holding onto your support, rise on your tippy-toes.
- Slowly lower your heels back down; this time, let them go a little lower than the curb or step.
- Repeat the raises ten times, up to three sets.
Using the same curb, step, or workout stool as the one in the calf extension exercise, step up and down to work out the legs. This is a classic step-up exercise for a cardio and balanced workout.
- Stand on a curb, step, or workout stool. Make sure you have something like a chair to hold onto if you need help to balance.
- Step up with your right leg, hold your balance and bring your left leg up.
- Step back down on your right leg, hold your balance and step your left leg down.
- Repeat 10-12 times, up to three sets. Start with the opposite leg on every other set.
Side steps help maintain balance and keep legs mobile with the side movements. Your loved one can do these easy-to-do movements anywhere.
- Starting at a neutral position, legs hip-width apart.
- Step to the right with your right leg, and close the gap by bringing your left leg to meet your right leg
- Step to the left with your left leg and bring your right leg in.
- Repeat 10-12 times, up to three sets