Warming Up Stretching For Seniors And The Elderly; Ankle Circles

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Warming up stretching exercises for seniors and the elderly are light repetitive activities usually referred to as limbering up exercises.

The ankle circles exercise below is an example of a warming up exercise for the ankle joint, calf muscle, shin muscles and foot.

This exercise is best done sitting down for increased control and relaxation of your ankle.

Simply extend your knee to straighten out the leg, then begin rotation of the ankle.

Sometime there are sounds like clicking and popping that accompany this exercise.

Stop if there is any pain, otherwise it is likely a tendon snapping. Let’s get started.

Purpose of this exercise

  • Improve the range of motion of the ankle and foot.
  • Can help with ankle swelling.

How to do it:

Step 1

Ankle Circles Start

  • Sit comfortably in your chair.

Step 2

Ankle Circles end

  • Extend or lightly cross your right leg.
  • Circle your right ankle 10 times in each direction.
  • Repeat with the other leg.


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


  • If you have had recent hip surgery, consult with your doctor or physical therapist for movement precautions.
  • If you experience numbness in your foot during this exercise, simply extend your knee for the movement.

Take it up a notch

  • Extend both legs out at the same time for this exercise.

Lower Body Stretches – Watch These Exercise Videos

1. Seated Lifts

  • Improve the range of motion in your hips and legs.
  • Help stabilize your low back and pelvis.
  • Learn what is flexibility.

2. Standing Quadriceps Stretch

  • Will improve your hip and knee range of motion with these exercises to increase flexibility.
  • Can improve your standing posture by allowing you to stand up straighter.

3. Back Stretch

  • Improves the range of motion in your spine and trunk with lower back stretching.
  • Increases your ability to bend and reach low or high.

4. Inner Thigh Stretch

  • Improve your hip and thigh range of motion with stretching legs exercises.
  • Increase your functional ability in standing, walking and stepping.

5. Calf Stretch

  • Targets the flexibility of your calf muscle and heel cord. with calf muscle stretches.
  • Increases your ability to straighten your knee

6. Hip Side Stretch

  • This is a good stretch for the side hip area.
  • Improve the range of motion of our hips.
  • These stretching techniques also can help with balance.

7. Hip Rotation Stretch

  • Increase the range of motion of your hips with these flexibility stretches.
  • Improve the functional use of your legs as in getting out of a car or stepping over the side of your bath tub.

8. Soleus Stretch

  • Increases the flexibility of the deep calf muscle with flexibility stretching exercises.
  • Generally improves your lower body flexibility and functional use of your legs.

9. Ankle Circles

  • Improve the range of motion of the ankle and foot with warming up stretching.
  • Can help with ankle swelling.

10. Hamstring Stretch

  • Increases your ability to lean forward and reach your feet with hamstring stretching.
  • Improves the flexibility of your low back and legs.

11. Knee To Chest

  • Stretches your knee and hip joints with flexibility importance exercises.
  • Improves low back flexibility.

12. Ankle Stretch

  • Helps maintain good ankle flexibility which will assist with walking and standing with ankle stretching exercises.
  • Also helps with knee and hip stiffness.


  1. What exercises can my mom do to improve the mobility of her feet? She had a back operation and is unable to flex her feet. She struggles to stand on her feet. Are there exercises she can do seated or lying down?

    1. You are right, it doesn’t take long to become weak and stiff after a major surgery. I would start slowly with exercises that don’t involve bending or twisting. This is very important. Don’t do too much. Start with just a few minutes a day and work up from there. Get two kitchen chairs, have her sit in one and place another in front of her to hold onto when standing. Start with one or two seated upper body stretches upper body exercises and one or two lower body stretches for the first week leg stretches. Then add one or two leg exercises. leg exercises Standing is ok, just sit down after the exercise and rest. With the two chair method she will slowly progress doing more exercises. Good luck.

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