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Strength Exercises for Balance


Walking Heel-to-Toe Purpose: Improves balance Starting Position: Stand close to a wall or handrail for balance. Action: • Choose a spot ahead of you and focus on it to keep you steady as you walk. • Walk by placing the heel of one foot just in front of the toes of the other foot. Your heel and toes should touch or almost touch. • Hold wall or handrail as a precaution. • Repeat for 20 heel-to-toe steps.

Leg Extensions Purpose: Strengthen the thigh and leg muscles. Starting Position: Sit tall with your feet flat on floor, shoulder-width apart. You may hold onto the sides of your seat for support. Action: • Breathe out and lift one leg off the floor until your knee is straight. Your leg should be slightly lifted off of the chair. • Flex your foot to point your toes toward the ceiling • Hold for one second. • Breathe in and slowly lower your leg back down to the starting position with both feet on the floor. • Repeat on the other side. Repeat: 6 to 8 times on each side. Rest, then do a second set.

Plantar Flex Purpose: Strengthen ankle and calf muscles. Starting Position: Stand behind a straight-backed chair or handrail, with both hands on the back of the chair for balance. Place your feet slightly apart. Keep your upper body straight. Action: • Breathe out and slowly lift both heels and stand as high up on tiptoe as you can. • Hold for one second. • Breathe in as you slowly lower your heels to the floor. Repeat: 6 to 8 times; rest a minute, then do another set of 6 to 8.

Standing on One Foot Purpose: Improve balance. Starting Position: Stand close to a wall, chair or handrail for balance. Action: • Shift your weight onto one leg. Stand on that foot and stretch the other leg out in front of you, a few inches off the floor. • Stand on one leg for eight counts. • For an extra workout, flex and point your lifted foot. That is, bend the ankle so your toes point away from you, then flex the ankle to bring the toes back towards you. Flex and point eight times. • Slowly return your leg to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg. • Repeat 10-15 times with each leg.

Side Leg Raise Purpose: Strengthen hip, thighs and buttocks. Starting Position: Stand behind a straight-backed chair or handrail, with both hands on the back of the chair for balance. Place your feet slightly apart. Breathe in slowly. Action: • Breathe out and slowly lift your right leg out to the side until your feet are 12 to 18 inches apart. Keep your back and legs straight, and your toes pointing forward. The leg you are standing on should be slightly bent. • Hold for one second. Then, slowly lower your leg back to the starting position. Repeat: 6 to 8 times with each leg. Rest, then do another set.

Hamstring Curl Purpose: Stretch quadriceps muscles on front of thigh. Strengthen hamstring muscles on back of thigh. Starting Position: Stand behind a straight-backed chair or handrail, with both hands on the back of the chair for balance. Place your feet slightly apart. Keep your upper body straight. Action: • Shift your weight onto your right leg keeping your leg slightly bent. Slowly bend your left knee, keeping both knees together. • Breathe in slowly and lift your left foot behind you about 10 to 12 inches off the floor. Bend only at the knee. • Slowly return to starting position. Repeat. • Complete one set, then work the other leg. Repeat: 6 to 8 times with each leg. Rest, then do another set.

For more information see the American Heart Association.


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