To do any of these exercises, stand up straight and use a counter or sturdy chair for support. Start by doing each exercise a few times, and work your way up to 8 to 12 times for each exercise.
- Leg bends. Bend one knee so your foot comes up behind you and is level with your knee. Slowly lower your foot to the floor. Repeat, using the other leg.
- Knee bends . Hold onto the back of your chair. Stand with your knees relaxed and your back straight. Your knees should face the same direction as your toes. Slowly bend your knees, then raise your body by straightening your knees.
- Heel raises . Rise up onto your toes. Hold for a few seconds. Slowly lower your heels to the floor.
- Leg lifts. Hold onto the back of your chair. Keeping your legs straight, lift one leg a few inches to the side. Hold for a few seconds. Slowly lower your leg. Repeat on the other side.
- Sit-to-stand. Sit in your chair, with the chair against a wall. Stand up without using your hands. If this is too hard, start by using a pillow on the chair until you get stronger.
Exercises for improving your balance
These exercises can help you with balance. You can start by holding on with both hands. When that gets easy, hold on with just one hand. Then hold on with just two fingers of one hand. Soon you may be able to do each exercise without holding on with either hand. But it is important that you only try this when you feel that the way you are doing it now has become too easy.
The first exercise has 4 steps. Remember to relax and take slow, deep breaths. Keep yourself safe by going at your own pace. Trust your instincts, and don't push yourself to do too much too soon.
One-leg balance. Hold onto the sink, the counter, or the back of your chair with both hands. Try the first step below. If you can do that one easily, go on to the second step. If not, just do step one of this exercise for now and move on to the next exercise. Keep yourself safe, and go at your own pace.
- First step: Stand on one leg. Balance for as long as you can, working up to 60 seconds on each leg. When you can do this for 60 seconds, try the next exercise.
- Second step: Stand on one leg and fold your arms across your chest. When you can do this for 60 seconds on each leg, go on to the next exercise.
- Third step: Stand on one leg and hold your arms out to the sides. When you can do this for 60 seconds on each leg, try the next exercise.
- Fourth step: Stand on one leg and fold your arms across your chest. Balance for as long as you can, working up to 60 seconds on each leg.
- Toe-heel balance. Hold onto the sink, the counter, or the back of your chair with both hands. Stand on your toes and hold that position for 10 seconds. Then rock back to your heels, holding that position for 10 seconds. Repeat about 5 times.
- Hip circles. Hold onto the sink, the counter, or the back of your chair with both hands. Without moving your shoulders or feet, make a big circle to the left with your hips (counterclockwise). After you make 5 circles to the left, make 5 circles to the right (clockwise).
- Heel-toe walking. Stand with your left side toward the kitchen counter. You can use the counter for balance if you need to. Place the heel of your left foot in front of the toes of your right foot so the heel and toes touch. Focus on a spot ahead of you, and take a step so that your right heel touches the toes of your left foot. Work up to 20 steps. You can turn around and go in the other direction, with the counter on your right.