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Fitness

Lower Body Exercises

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Abdominal muscles

Lower Body, Back, Hip Flexors, Abdominals

Lower Body Exercises. Data shows that older adults with chronic low back pain have significantly lower muscle strength, and more muscle weakness, which is associated with a history and risk of falling. It’s essential for seniors to take preventative action such as participating in back and lower body strengthening exercises.

These 4 exercises will help to strengthen your lower back. Also, your hip flexors and abdominal muscles. Consequently, this will help to increase your stability, and fall prevention.

Eccentric straight leg raises

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Ecentric Leg Raise

Lower Body Exercises. The important thing to remember when performing any leg exercises lying down. Above all, make sure you press your back into the ground and hold your pelvis as still as possible during the movement. In this way, the exercise is more of a pelvic stabilization exercise than a leg exercise. Keep your breathing relaxed and rhythmic, breathing all the way down to your belly.

Purpose of this exercise

This exercise works your abdominal and hip flexor muscles which will improve your ability to get out of bed, get out of a chair and maintain your posture. Consequently strengthening and improving your stability. Lie on your back and tighten up your abdominal muscles. After, raise your right leg and bring your right knee up toward your chest. But, keep your left leg on the floor. Straighten your right leg and slowly lower to the floor. Repeat 10 times with both legs. Inhale during the upward movement phase. Exhale during the downward movement phase. Hold your leg at the top for 10 seconds. Later as you get stronger you could add an ankle weight

Supine Bent Knee Raise

Image of a supine leg raise to support the text on lower back
Supine Leg Raise

Lower Body Exercises. The supine bent knee raise will stabilize and strengthen your abdominal and low back muscles helping to reduce the pain associated with lumbar instability. So then, to get the most out of your back exercises, make sure you press your back into the ground, stabilize your hips and tighten your tummy. This back exercise works your abdominal and hip flexor muscles which will improve your ability to get out of bed, rise up from a chair and maintain your standing posture.

Don’t perform this exercise too fast or your momentum will cause you to lose form and begin to arch your back. Raise your legs one at a time and lower both together for greater control of your spine. Also, inhale during the upward movement phase, exhale during the downward movement phase. Keep breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Keep your pelvis as motionless as possible. Make sure your spine is in a neutral position. Hold your leg at the top for a seconds pause. Later as you get stronger you could add an ankle weight

Modified Sit Ups

Image of a modified sit up to support the text on lower body abdominals
A modified sit up

Lower Body Exercises. This is the classic sit-up that has been done for years but modified to lessen the strain on your lumbar spine. So then, having a strong abdominal musculature is important in adding to your overall lumbar stabilization program and fall prevention.

If you have back pain symptoms, check with your doctor to be cleared for exercise. Also, those with pain due to a disk problem will also want to check with their doctor before doing these exercises. Furthermore, this is because abdominal crunches are a forward flexion movement that increases the force on the spinal disk material.

Abdominal exercises help with posture and balance by strengthening your core muscles. Simple things like getting out of bed or up from a chair can become easier when your abdominal muscles are strong. Also, remember, every movement you do involves your core muscles so they need to be kept strong.

Start on back with knees bent and hands behind your head, tighten abdominal muscles. Breath in, then exhale as you lift your shoulders off the ground. Pause but keep tummy muscles tight. Return to starting and repeat 10 times. Inhale during the upward movement phase. Exhale during the downward movement phase. Keep breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Protect your back by keeping it pressed to the floor. In addition, by placing your hands behind your head, you can give your neck extra support avoiding pain. Don’t lift too high. perform diagonal curl-ups by directing your elbows to the opposite knee, working on the sides of your abdomen. as shown in the video.

Back Extentions

The back extension exercise or “cobra” is below. Try these exercises 3 – 5 times per week for increased strength and endurance during the day.

Image of the back extention to support the text on lower body back muscles
The Back Extention

As we age our spine and head will begin to curve forward with the effect of gravity and poor posture. This will bring on many mechanical problems including, pain in the mid-back or thoracic spine.

To reduce the risk of these problems associated with poor posture, it is important to perform a movement in the opposite direction as your curvature. This is called spinal extension. A great and easy way to do this exercise is shown below in the video. Relax on your bed or floor for this exercise.

So then the purpose of this exercise is to stretch and extend the lower back and mid-back muscles. It can also help with mid back pain associated with postural strain. This will make it easier to maintain good posture with sitting and standing. Firstly, begin by lying face down on your bed or the floor with your hand’s palm down by your face. Secondly, start to bring your head up and slowly arch your back. push up to your elbows. Return to starting position and repeat 10 times. Also, you can increase the effort by raising your elbows a little.

The Video

How To Make Your Own Weights

A new group joined during the holiday period and although I have published it before I thought it would be good to add it to this post for them. So then, when I started I made weights from household items and added a little sand. By doing this there is no gym fee, no travel you train at home. This takes the pressure off our meagre pensions.

In Conclusion

Lower body strength is extremely beneficial as you get older, it supports your posture, stability, and balance. Also, many older adults have serious life-threatening falls, some do not recover, so you should be keen to ensure you work to strengthen these muscles to help protect yourself.

Important Note

Remember that everyone is different, and it is ultimately YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to find what your body responds to. So please do your due diligence before trying anything new, including getting Medical Advice to ensure your safety and peace of mind.

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4 replies on “Lower Body Exercises”

Very helpful. I have been losing strength since I entered my late 70s, and these exercises are a Godsend. Now I have hope and less fear of falling.

Hello Victoria, I am happy to hear you are enjoying and finding the exercises are helping you, these exercises are very helpful for stability, but I would recommend you also lift weights, not heavyweights but enough to tire the muscles used, as this helps to build strength, thank you for your comment, I really appreciate the feedback, good luck, Ian

Your fitness videos are great! I am in my mid 60’s and very petite, I have noticed since retirement ( landscaping everything is heavy ) that I have gotten mushy 😱. Since light weights like me have a tendency to get osteopenia and osteoporosis ( cause we don’t bear much weight in order to build bone ) I’m working on weight training. Your videos are easy to follow, you are to the point, factual ( no nonsense ) and very creative. Kudos to you and I’m gonna keep following you!

Hi Yvonne, I am happy you are enjoying the posts and videos, I try hard to make them clear and easy to follow, getting feedback like this makes it all worthwhile, thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it, all the best Ian

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