Back to the Basics
Here are some gentle back exercises to help keep your core strong and flexible. Remember, if any exercise produces pain, stop immediately and consult a medical professional.
Marching in Place
This teaches you how to weight shift and stand on one leg, which will help with walking. Rest hands on chair. Lift right knee up towards your chest and hold. Slowly lower right leg. Do not let it drop to the floor. Lift left knee up towards your chest and hold. Slowly lower left leg. Do not let it drop to the floor. Control movement in both directions. Keep back as straight as possible. Repeat 10 times.
Standing Hip Abduction
This helps to strengthen your hip stabilizers that assist with walking. Rest hands on chair. Kick leg out to side, keeping knee straight and toes pointed forward. Make sure the kick movements are side to side and not to the front or back. It should be a small movement. Do not let leg drop back to starting position, control it’s decent. Repeat 10 times with each leg.
Standing Hip Extension
This strengthens the muscles in the back of your leg and increases your confidence with stepping backwards. Rest hands on chair. Slowly kick right leg back, keeping knee straight. It should be a small movement. If you start to lean forward you are kicking too far. Do not let leg drop back to starting position, control it’s decent. Repeat 10 times with each leg.
Standing Toe Raises
Most older adults are fearful of falling forward so they push backwards. This exercise helps them feel more comfortable leaning backward. This exercise strengthens the lower part of your legs, which will assist you with balance.
The goal is to be able to complete the exercise safely without any support on the chair. Rest hands on chair, use legs for balance not arms. Go up and down on toes. Go slow. Do not lean forward. Repeat 10 times.
Sit to Stand Squats
Sit to stand squats area a great exercise to help strengthen your hips, thighs, and buttocks. In front of a sturdy, armless chair, stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms out so they are parallel to the ground and lean forward a little at the hips. Lower yourself in a slow, controlled motion, to a count of four, until you reach a near- sitting position. Keep your weight in your heels. Pause. Then, to a count of two, slowly rise back up to the standing position. Keep your knees over your ankles and your back straight. Repeat 10 times.
Single Leg Balance
Practicing balance activities will improve your confidence with controlling postural sway.Rest your hand on a chair. Contract your buttock muscles and lift 1 leg off the floor. Try to maintain your balance for 10 seconds, then switch to the other leg. Repeat 3 times on each leg. The goal is to be able to complete this exercise safely without any support of the chair.
Single Knee to Chest Stretch
With hand behind knee, pull one knee in to chest until a comfortable stretch is felt in the lower back and buttocks. Repeat with opposite knee. Hold 15-20 seconds. Do 3 times on each leg.
Double Knee to Chest Stretch
With hands behind knees, pull both knees in to chest until a comfortable stretch is felt in lower back. Keep back relaxed. Hold 15-20 seconds, do 3 times.
With hands flat on the ground, raise hips buttocks muscles. Hold 2-3 seconds at the top, do 10-15 times.
Flatten back by tightening stomach muscles off the floor bytightening your core and buttocks. Hold 2-3 seconds, then relax. Do 10-15 times.
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