Some leg strength is normal as part of aging. Lack of enough water, pinched nerves and medical conditions such as diabetes can cause weakness, pain, weakness, and numbness.
These leg problems can impact your quality of life.
“Poor balance is a major concern,” stated Heather Nelson a Marshfield Clinic Hospital System physical therapist. Poor balance is something that people believe they cannot fix, but it’s possible to improve your balance. To avoid falling, you should do all that you can.
Other conditions that can impact your life include weakness, numbness and pain, as well as poor flexibility. These conditions can keep you awake at night, make grocery shopping more difficult, and prevent you from participating in social events.
Leg exercises for flexibility and strength
Your quality of life will be improved if you take steps to improve the function of your legs.
These basic leg exercises and stretches can be a great place to begin. For support, hold onto a railing or other sturdy object while you do the exercises. Do two sets of 10 strength exercises each day. Do the stretches for 30 seconds, then repeat twice daily.
Nelson suggests consulting your doctor if you don’t exercise or have concerns about your health before starting an exercise program.
1. Aerobic exercise
Water aerobics, stationary cycling, and walking are all low-impact ways to increase blood flow and leg strength. You can exercise for as little as 30 minutes five days per week, or more. To avoid blisters, wear comfortable shoes.
2. Heel raises
People with decreased balance, or issues with calf spasms may experience a decrease in calf strength. A stronger calves can improve balance and prevent falls. You can strengthen your calves by doing heel raises. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, slowly lift your heels off of the ground.
3. Calf stretch
Stretching is important after exercising to increase mobility and prevent cramps. You can place your hands on the wall with one hand behind you and extend your other leg in front. Keep your heels on the ground until your back feels stretchy.
4. Hamstring stretch
Calves and hamstrings that are tight often go hand in hand. Place one foot on the step in front of you, and then lean forward until you feel a stretch in your back.
5. Tandem balance exercise
Place one foot on top of the other, in a heel to toe position. This position should be held for 30 seconds before you switch feet.
Nelson suggests talking to your doctor if you have severe weakness, numbness, or are unable to walk without an assistive device.
Community fall prevention programs or physical therapy provide safe and supervised exercise.
Nelson stated that a physical therapist can create an exercise program that is safe, effective, and tolerable for you. Your therapist will assess your strength, flexibility, and balance in order to design your exercise program. You can also make adjustments as you progress.
There are many ways to improve leg function
Apart from stretching and strengthening your muscles, drinking 64 ounces water per day is one of the best things you can do.
Nelson stated that not drinking enough water can make your muscles feel tight and spasm-like.
Heating can help to relax muscles after a spasm.