Did your mother ever tell you to stop making faces or crossing your eyes to avoid “getting stuck that way?” While we all know our silly faces and crossed eyes never actually became permanent, there was some truth and wisdom to her words.
Anything we do on a continual basis can quickly become a habit. Habits, of course, are a form of getting stuck that way! Some habits don’t take much effort to create; it’s easy to continuously watch TV, slouch or stay home all the time because those things don’t require extra effort. They’re easy.
As we age, it can also be easy to fall into habits we don’t necessarily want to keep. Sedentary days can quickly become a sedentary lifestyle, especially if we aren’t intentional about staying active.
It doesn’t take a lot of fancy equipment or a ton of time to remain active, either. No matter your age or ability, you can do a few exercises each day to maintain your activity levels and to keep you from getting stuck.
Here are a couple of strength-building exercises to help you stay strong and better maintain your balance.
Side Leg Raises
To begin, place a chair in front of your body. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, straighten your spine, and hold onto the chair for balance.
Next, slowly raise your leg to the side six to twelve inches, being careful to maintain straightness throughout your entire leg and spine. Hold the position for several seconds with your toes pointed forward.
Slowly lower your leg and repeat the process with your other leg. Repeat this exercise eight to fifteen times, alternating your legs with each set. After completing your repetitions, take a break. If you’re able, do this exercise multiple times throughout the day.
Stand behind a chair and hold onto it for balance. Draw one leg toward your chest, bending it at the knee. Be careful to keep your waist and hips upright. Hold this position for one second. Release your leg and lower your foot to the ground.
Repeat the exercise with your other leg. Continue alternating until you’ve done this eight to fifteen times. Again, if you’re able, complete this exercise several times throughout the day.
These exercises and others like them will strengthen hip and thigh muscles. This added strength will improve balance and reduce your risk of falling. If you’ve been able to complete these exercises several times and would like more of a challenge, add ankle or leg weights to increase the difficulty.
Don’t “get stuck that way!” Commit to a simple, daily exercise routine. Even if it doesn’t feel like you’re accomplishing much at first, the activity adds up, keeping you stronger and helping you to stay confident every day. With the help of our care managers and nursing staff, you can maintain a more healthful life. Give us a call today – Pinellas/Pasco 727-787-8677 and Hillsborough 813-884-6100!