National Senior Health and Fitness Day is a good time to address the exercises your dad is avoiding. If he’s fallen, which isn’t uncommon in older adults, he needs to work on balance and muscle strength. Strengthening the muscles in the legs is especially important.
Balance is an issue, so your dad may not be able to stand for long periods. Chair exercises are ideal. These simple chair exercises will help him get started strengthening his leg muscles.
Have your dad sit in a chair and lift one foot off the ground. With the foot off the floor, he wants to roll his foot in clockwise circles. After 5 or 10 of these rolls, he should change the direction and go counter-clockwise. Now, have him lower that foot and switch to the other foot.
As he builds his ankle strength, he can increase from 5 or 10 ankle rolls to 20, 30, 40, or more. Each time, he should work one ankle in both directions and then switch to the other foot.
Once he’s done his ankle rolls, he should move to calf raises. With his back straight against the back of the chair, he raises his foot so that his toes stay on the floor, but the other parts of the foot are lifted up. His knee will raise slightly and stretch his calf muscles. Hold that for a count of 10 and lower the foot again.
He’ll do this 10 times and switch to his other leg. He wants to repeat the exercise three times on each leg, but he should switch back and forth between legs with each set of 10. Again, as it gets easier to do this exercise, he should increase the count past 10 to 20, 30, 40, or more.
Have your father hold the arms of the chair for support and start marching from a seated position. He wants to keep his back straight while sitting far enough forward to bring each leg up into a march. He should do this for 30 seconds at first. As he builds up strength, he can increase it to 45 seconds, a minute, and 90 seconds.
From his seated position, your dad wants to point his toes towards the wall in front of him and lift his leg while keeping it straight. Once he had his leg up so that it’s parallel to the floor, he wants to hold it for a count of five and lower it. He should repeat this 10 times before switching legs.
Once he’s worked both legs once, he wants to go back and do them again until he’s done three sets on each leg. As his muscles become more toned, he can increase the count from 5 to 10.
Your dad will need encouragement. Elder care services provide the companionship and encouragement he needs. Call an elder care agency to arrange companionship services for him.
If you or an aging loved one is considering elder care in South Riding, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 782-3655.
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