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12 Great Leg Strengthening Exercises (CONT.)

9. Side Hip Raises

Benefits:

  • Safely strengthens the muscles to the side of your hips.
  • Helps increase your defences against hip arthritis and associated stiffness.
  • Increases the range of movement in the muscles to the side of the hips, helping maintain stride patterns and walking power.

Instructions:

  • Stand behind a chair, and use it to help you balance.
  • Raise your right leg to the side, using your left leg for balance, exhaling as you do so. Stop when you feel discomfort and hold the pose for a few seconds.
  • Lower the leg to the starting position, inhaling as you do so.
  • Repeat ten times, before doing the same for the opposite leg.

Tips:

  • Try to keep the body straight and do not bend at the hips.
  • Keep your toes pointed straight out ahead.
  • If you are feeling confident, remove the chair or use only one hand to balance.
 

10. Lunges

Benefits:

  • Encourages better balance and functional mobility.
  • Strengthens the quadricepes and hips to maintain your ability to walk and move from a seated position.
  • Increases the power of your legs, making it easier to lift objects around the house.

Instructions:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms at your sides.
  • Step forward and exhale as you do so. Keep your upper body straight.
  • Slowly move your leg back into the starting position while inhaling, and repeat ten times for each leg.

Tips:

  • Don't bend your knee too much and risk injury, make sure you are comfortable.
  • Gradually increase the length of the stride forward as you feel more comfortable.
  • Make the exercise more vigorous by turning your head slowly right, then left as you lunge.
 

11. Standing Knee Flexion

Benefits:

  • Helps the knees to flex, keeping them supple. This is important for maintaining your ability to bend and crouch.
  • Strengthens the hamstring muscle for increased leg power.
  • Great for increasing balance and encouraging good posture.

Instructions:

  • Stand behind a chair, using it to balance yourself.
  • Bend your right knee so your leg raises up at a right angle. Exhale as you do so.
  • Lower the leg to the starting position, while inhaling. 
  • Repeat ten times for each leg.

Tips:

  • Make sure you bend at the knee not at the hips. You should feel your hamstring tighten as it extends.
  • Try and keep your upper body as straight as possible. Use the chair as required.
  • If you are confident, then try the exercise without the assistance of the chair.

12. Standing Hip Extension

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the muscles that propel you forward as you walk.
  • Helps firm and tone your buttock muscles.
  • Promotes powerful walking, good balance and posture.

Instructions:

  • Stand behind a chair, using it to help you balance.
  • Extend your right leg backwards while keeping the knee straight.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat ten times for each leg.

Tips:

  • It's important you keep your back straight during this exercise.
  • Keep your knee as straight as possible and only raise it to a comfortable point.
  • Add a 2 pound weight to your ankle for a harder work out.
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Source: Eldergym.com

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