The ability to stand up from a chair is a key skill to maintain independence and mobility. As you get older you lose strength in the hip and knee extensors which are the muscles that help straighten our legs. In this blog I am first going to discuss how to get out of a chair safely before going on to describe some exercises to strengthen the legs.
In this blog I am going to concentrate on ankle exercises. Ankles provide the base for all movement therefore strong ankles can lead to better balance and reduce the likelihood of injuries and falls. Balance is the ability to maintain control on the base of support to avoid falling and this is important whether you just walk to the door or play tennis every day.
Seated alphabet ankle exercise
- Whilst sitting raise your right leg and using the ankle trace the letters of the alphabet from A-Z, imagining your big toe as a writing instrument.
- Change legs and repeat.
Seated ankle circles
- Slowly move your right foot in a circle moving clockwise. Repeat this movement six times.
- Then slowly move the same foot in a circle counter-clockwise. Repeat this movement six times.
- Repeat the entire exercise with the left foot.
Standing ankle exercise
- If needed use wall or chair for support, rise up onto the toes.
- Hold for 8 counts
- Lower heels to the floor in a controlled manner
- Repeat 4 times
Seated ankle exercise
- Sit back into the chair for support
- Sit tall with good posture, your thighs should be together and your knees bent with feet apart
- Keeping knees together, and with heels on the floor lift your toes towards the knees. This is the starting position
- Rotate both feet inwards, lifting toes towards the knees so toes point towards each other – hold for a few seconds
- Place feet on floor and gently slide feet along back to start position
- Build up repetitions as ankle strength increases.
Advanced ankle exercise
- Whilst balancing on one leg, using chair or wall for support if needed, rise up on toes
- Hold for 8 counts (work up to this if necessary)
- Lower heel to the floor in a controlled manner
- Repeat 4 times and then switch feet.
So 5 exercises that require no warm up and take 5 minutes of your day, you could do 3 of them whilst watching TV in the evening. By strengthening the muscles in the ankle you will have you a greater ability to maintain your balance and help avoid that trip to A&E discussed in the previous blog.
If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment.
For more information on Personal Training please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over-50s This will open a new browser window.
Falls are a major health problem among older adults. Every year over 400,000 older people in England attend A&E departments following a fall. 30% of over 65yrs will fall each year, rising to 50% of 85yr olds[i]. ...continue reading