DEVELOP LEG FITNESS
What should we do to improve the ability of our legs?
- Stretch the calf and the achilles tendon (back of the heel).
- Stretch the hamstrings (back of the thigh).
- Stretch the quadriceps (top of the thigh).
Increase the strength of the leg muscles: We lose 1% of our muscle mass every year after the age of 50. Strengthen:
- Strengthen the quadriceps (top of the thigh).
- Strengthen the gluteus maximus (the rear end).
- Strengthen the knee joint stabilizers (small muscles surrounding the knee).
Stiffness is a huge problem for us as we get older. Extended sitting is one cause. The joints stay in a static condition for periods of time, causing them to tense up. That increased tension reduces blood flow, causes a loss of range of motion (those in wheelchairs often stop moving their legs therefore eventually lose the ability to straighten their knees) and intensifies pain and discomfort. Increase the agility of the leg joints. In other words, make the joints movable:
- Improve mobility in the hip joints.
- Release tension in the knee joints.
Improve the health of the feet:
- Make your foot joints movable. There are 32 joints in the foot and ankle (10 in the ankle, 22 in the foot). Using massage and movement, loosen and move all the joints.
- Stretch the ankles, especially the achilles tendon at the back of the heel. Flex and point your feet with the emphasis on pulling the toes back while flexing. If you keep your heel on the floor, the achilles tendon will be targeted.
- Strengthen the ankles. Standing heel lifts help.
Leg fitness is one of the primary goals of Building Better Balance. Exercises to improve this are included in every DVD class within the series. But the 2nd DVD, Legs & Feet, includes a complete exercise routine for improving leg condition as described here. All of the above concerns are covered.
The 4 DVDs of the Building Better Balance series contain hour long classes designed to improve balance and prevent falls. Every class is divided into sections. A 10 minute section on foot health using varied exercises is included in each. A wonderful use of these DVDs would be to purchase all 4 and do only the foot sections, one per day, alternating between the 4. Your foot health would improve and your ability in walking would absolutely improve. And it's easy.