Ankle Flexibility Exercises For Seniors and the Elderly

Ankle Circles

Ankle flexibility exercises for seniors and the elderly are important to maintain your balance and stability as you age. Ankle stretches are a vital part of lower body flexibility.Sitting down is a great position to begin ankle range of motion exercises.

Try this next exercise anytime you find yourself sitting for a prolonged period. Strong and flexible ankles are necessary to maintain your balance. One of our first lines of defense against losing our balance is the stability of our ankles.

When we walk, strong and flexible ankles allow us to maintain control as we push off from one foot to the next and when we stop or change directions.

Even just standing still, our ankles are working behind the scenes to keep us erect and our center of gravity over our base of support. Learning how to strengthen and stretch these work horses of our lower body will do wonders for your balance and stability.

The seated ankle circles exercise is a great place to start. Find a nice comfortable chair to begin. Usually a dining room chair works great. If you sit up tall and try not to lean back during the exercise, it will be easier and less tiring on you hip flexors. If you cross your legs, make sure they are lightly crossed so as not to cut off circulation to your foot.

Purpose of this exercise

This exercise improves your ability to move your ankle upward and downward.This is a great warm up exercise for the lower leg and feet.

Step 1

Sit in a chair with feet flat on the floor. Extend your right knee and move your foot in a circle 20 times

ankle-flexibility-1a

Step 2

Then move in the other direction 20 timesRepeat with the other ankle

ankle-flexibility-2a

Breathing

Continue to breathe normally through the exercise, in the nose and out the mouth.

Tips

If lifting your knee up is too hard, try just extending your knee out. Ankles often make crackling sounds. If  your ankle is painful when making circles, try smaller circles or just move your foot up and down.

Take it up a notch

Try spelling your first name with your right foot and spelling your last name with your left foot. Try performing ankle flexibility exercise standing up to improve your balance.

How to do Ankle Circles

More Leg Strengthening Exercises

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1. Ankle Circles

  • This exercise improves your ankle flexibility and ability to move your ankle upward and downward.
  • This is a great warm up exercise for the lower leg and feet.

2. Hip Marching

  • This exercise will strengthen your hip flexor and thighs.
  • With correct seated posture it will also help your abdominal muscles.

3. Knee Extension

  • Strengthening your knees width knee strengthening exercises will improve your ability to stand and balance.
  • This exercise will improve your available knee range of motion.

4. Calf Raises

  • Strengthening your calf muscles with calf exercises will give your more power to step forward on level surfaces or carry you up hills on uneven terrain.
  • Helps pump blood up from your legs to your upper-body and brain.

5. Standing Knee Flexion

  • These knee exercises strengthens your hamstring muscles.
  • Also helps with your standing balance.

6. Side Hip Raise

  • Safely strengthens your side hip muscles to help with hip arthritis.
  • Helps maintain your lower body endurance to better walk and side step around objects.

7.Sit to Stand

  • Excellent hip exercises to maintain your leg and hip strength.
  • One of the most important exercises used daily to keep your independence and confidence.

8. Heel Stand

  • Strengthens the front part of the lower leg with ankle stretches.
  • You will become better able to raise your toes to avoid tripping.

9. Lunges

  • To strengthen your quadriceps and hips with leg toning exercises.
  • Improve your ability to get out of a chair and balance.
  • Help you with lifting chores around the house.

10. Straight Leg Raise

  • To increase your quadriceps and hip flexor strength with this leg workout.
  • To strengthen your abdominal muscles.
  • Allow you to advance your leg during walking with greater ease.

11. Partial Squats

  • Increase your hip flexibility, quadriceps strength and hip flexor strength.
  • Improve your ability to get up from a chair and walk.
  • Steady your body for better balance and safety.

12. Hip Extension

  • This exercise will help with strengthening the hip joint and muscles.
  • This will improve the ability to walk and propel yourself forward or up stairs.

Resources Stay Independent
https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/pdf/STEADI-Brochure-StayIndependent-508.pdf