5 Exercises for Seniors to Improve Leg Strength

By Hayley Townsend |

Build strength and stability in your entire lower body with this 7-minute workout.

As always, safety is key. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

Reverse Lunge

Start by standing beside a sturdy chair for balance support, if needed. Shift your body weight to your right leg, then step your left leg back. Keep your chest up as you bend your knees and sink straight down. Remember to maintain the right range of motion for your body. Next, push yourself back up to standing, then step your left foot up beside your right. Alternate 3-5 reverse lunges with each leg.

Single Leg Hip Hinge

Stand tall and shift your weight to your right leg. Raise the heel of your left foot to point your left toes to the floor. Place your hands on your hips or on a sturdy chair for balance support. Then, allow your right knee to bend slightly as you slowly hinge forward from the hips. Only hinge as far forward as is comfortable for you. Next, pull yourself up to standing tall. Repeat the single leg hip hinge 3-5 times with each leg.

Make it more challenging: As you hinge forward, step your left foot back.

Make it intense: Keep your hands by your ears as you move through this exercise. As you hinge forward, lift your left foot from the floor and push your left heel toward the back of the room.

Lunge Combo

Stand tall and shift your weight to your right leg. Feel free to grab hold of a sturdy chair for balance support as you move through this exercise. Next, step your left foot forward, with your heel meeting the floor first, then the ball of your foot, then your toes (heel-ball-toe). Then, sink straight down into a lunge position. Push yourself back up and tap your left foot back to center. Next, step your left foot behind you, meeting the floor toe-first (toe-ball-heel) then sink straight down into a lunge. Then step your left foot up beside your right. Repeat the lunge combo 3-5 times on both sides of the body.

Make it more challenging: As you step back to center after each lunge, raise your left knee up instead of tapping your toe to the floor.

Heel-to-Toe Walk

Start by standing an arms-distance away from your chair for balance support, as needed. Step your left foot in front of your right, with your heel meeting the floor first, then the ball of your foot, then your toes. Your left heel should be touching your right toes. Next, step your right foot in front of your left (heel-ball-toe). It should feel like you’re walking along a tight rope. After you’ve taken 3-5 steps forward: Reverse! Step your left foot behind your right, meeting the floor with your toes first, then the ball of your foot, then your heel (toe-ball-heel). Take 3-5 steps back. Repeat the heel-to-toe walk, forward and backward, 3-5 times.

Rocking Horse

Stand tall with your feet spread apart at a comfortable distance. Raise your right knee up, then step your right foot down. Next, lift your left heel up toward your backside, then step down. You should feel your body weight shifting from side to side as you move through this exercise. Repeat this sequence of raising your right knee up, then lifting your left heel up, 3-5 times. Then alternate and raise your left knee and right heel and repeat 3-5 times.

Make it more challenging: As you move through this sequence, shift your body weight forward and back (rather than side to side). As you raise your knee: Lean back. As you raise your heel up: Lean forward.

Try adding one or more of these exercises to your weekly routine and you’ll feel your legs getting stronger and your balance improving. For more leg strengthening exercises, try these modified squats.

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