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Lower Body Exercises

5th December 2019

Muscle strength, bone density and balance all reduce with age but this can be slowed and even reversed with just a few minutes of exercise a couple of times a week.

Getting back into exercise is not dangerous but please see your doctor before you start.

Adding some resistance exercises to your daily routine does not require a lot of time or expensive equipment. These exercises have been designed to be easy to perform in your own home.

 

Tips for Exercise

Getting Started

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Here are our tips for getting started and adding exercise into your routine:

  • For any exercises that require a chair, choose one that is stable, solid, without wheels and preferably without arms
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing
  • Remember to drink water during and after you exercise
  • Do these exercises at least twice a week. This should be sufficient to improve your muscle strength, balance and coordination.
  • Remember to drink water during and after you exercise
  • As your fitness improves, consider joining a group session
  • Try to exercise your major muscle groups (legs, chest, shoulders, arms) at least twice a week but don’t exercise the same muscle group two days in a row for at least the first month or two. Start with one exercise per muscle group each session and add a second exercise per muscle group into each session after two weeks of regular exercise
  • Some muscle soreness lasting a few days and slight fatigue are normal after strength exercises when you start. If the soreness lasts more than a couple of days or involves a joint, please see your doctor before continuing with the sessions

Adding Extra Weight

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As you get stronger you may want to add some resistance to your exercises. This will ensure your muscles and bones continue to progress - but don’t add too much too soon. As a rule of thumb do any exercise for at least two weeks before you increase the weight.

These exercises have been designed to work with little or no equipment. Adding water to one-litre cordial or milk bottles is a great way to progressively add weight into your routine.

Soft arm and leg cuffs are also gentle but effective way of adding resistance. Check your local sports store or the internet.

Remember – start light and progress slowly.

Enlist a Professional

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These exercises will be enough for nearly everybody to get enough exercise training at home but if you have a gym or pool nearby don’t be afraid to give them a visit. Water aerobics is a great form of low-impact resistance training and many gyms will tailor programmes especially for those who haven’t exercised in a while. Some physiotherapists are also specialising in exercise to assist in keeping people independent and strong. Give your local physio a call to see if they provide consultations specifically for older people.

 

Calf Raises

Grasp the back of a chair for stability, feet shoulder width apart.

1. Slowly raise both heels off the ground.

2. Return to the starting position.

Starting repetitions:

5 each side

People doing stuff
 

Hip Raises

Lying on your back, bend both knees so your feet are flat on the floor, shoulder width apart.

1. Raise your hips until your body is straight.

2. Return to the starting position.

Starting repetitions:

5 each side

People doing stuff
 

Knee Lifts

If you are worried about your balance you can grasp the back of a chair for stability.

1. Raise your knee as far as is comfortable or until your thigh is parallel to the ground, keeping your back and hips straight.

2. Return to the starting position.

Starting repetitions:

5 each side

People doing stuff
 

Knee Extension

Begin standing or seated with your feet a comfortable shoulder-width apart and with your knees bent to a 90 degree angle.

  1. Working one leg at a time, slowly straighten your knee as high as you comfortably.
  2. Slowly relax your leg to the starting position your knee.

Complete your repetitions with one leg before repeating with the opposite leg.

Starting repetitions:

5 each side

People doing stuff
 

Mini Squats

Grasp the back of a chair for stability, feet shoulder width apart.

1. Slowly bend at the knees until your thighs are at 45 degrees to the floor.

2. Return to the starting position.

Starting repetitions:

5

People doing stuff
 

Leg Flexors

If you are worried about your balance you can grasp the back of a chair for stability.

1. With your weight on one leg, bend the other the knee until your lower leg is parallel to the ground, keeping your back and hips straight.

2. Return to the starting position.

Starting repetition:

5 each side

People doing stuff
 

Sit to Stand

Sit on the edge of the chair, feet hip-width apart. Lean slightly forwards.

1. Stand up slowly using your legs, not your arms. Keep looking forward.

2. Stand upright before slowly sitting down, bottom-first.

Starting repetition:

5 (the slower the better)

People doing stuff
 

Leg Exercises

Side Leg Lift

Grasp the back of a chair for stability.

1. Raise your left leg to the side as far as is comfortable, keeping your back and hips straight. Don’t tilt to the right.

2. Return to the starting position. Now raise your right leg to the side as far as possible using the same technique.

Starting repetition:

5 each side

People doing stuff
 

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