Maintaining muscle strength helps prevent injuries, and it allows seniors to continue living active lifestyles. Though your senior loved one may not be able to exercise vigorously anymore, there are still ways to keep his or her legs strong. Encourage your loved one to use these six methods to continue building leg strength.
1. Enjoy Some Time in the Pool
Swimming is one of the best exercises for the elderly because it does not put a lot of strain on the joints. Moving a limb in the water helps build up muscle. Your loved one can even increase his or her leg strength by walking back and forth in waist-high water. If possible, your loved one can try more vigorous swimming techniques like the freestyle leg kick or the front crawl.
Depending on your senior loved one’s level of mobility, he or she may require assistance with swimming or performing daily tasks. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading Fort Myers, FL, in-home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.
2. Do Ankle Circles in a Chair
Seniors can strengthen their leg muscles without standing up. Simple ankle circles can be done sitting down, and they increase strength in the quadriceps. Your loved one can do ankle circles by lifting one leg off the floor and drawing a tiny circle in the air five times before repeating with the other leg.
3. Try Leg Extensions
Another useful chair exercise is chair leg extensions. Your loved one can start by sitting in a chair with legs bent at a 90-degree angle and feet flat on the floor. Ask your loved one to slowly straighten one leg at a time until horizontal, hold for three seconds, and lower it.
4. Lift Some Weights
If your loved one does not have any challenging health problems, encourage him or her to start a weightlifting program and work with a personal trainer who can create a routine that focuses on the legs. Using weights and weight machines for exercises like squats and leg curls is one of the most effective ways of increasing leg strength.
If your senior loved one has mobility challenges or other health issues that make following an exercise routine difficult, he or she may benefit from the assistance of a dedicated caregiver. For many seniors in Fort Myers, FL, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.
5. Go for a Walk
Seniors who are not capable of exercising can strengthen their legs by walking. Encourage your loved one to start with 10 minutes of walking a day and then gradually increase it to a half hour. Walking 30 minutes a day at a brisk pace can do wonders for the leg muscles. It also increases lung capacity and builds cardio endurance.
6. Climb Up and Down a Step
This simple exercise helps seniors increase their balance, leg strength, and coordination. Using a six-inch high step or sturdy box, your loved one should slowly step up onto it with one leg, balance for three seconds on that leg, and then slowly lower back down. Your loved one can alternate between legs until he or she feels tired. Remind your loved one to hold onto something if needed because overall safety is more important.
While these exercises and activities may sound fun, you may not have time to participate in them with your aging loved one. If you’re on a busy schedule, a professional caregiver can help. Fort Myers respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed. Call Home Care Assistance at (239) 449-4701 to hire a dedicated caregiver for your elderly loved one.