Fall Prevention Series – Lower Body Exercises Part II


  by Dr. Harry Papadopoulos Falls are preventable, and all health organizations have recommended steps to prevent falls. Below are more exercises to help prevent falls. Leg Lift – Side (strengthens hips) Stand upright while using the back of a sturdy chair for balance. Place your feet shoulder width apart with your knees slightly bent. Breathe out and move one leg straight out to the side, making sure that your toes are always facing forward. Avoid leaning to the side and/or lifting your leg too high. Breathe in and lower your leg slowly to the starting position without touching the floor, while maintaining some tension in the leg. Repeat 10 times on each side. Rest for a minute and perform another set of 10. Standing Calf Raises (strengthens muscles at the back of lower legs) Stand upright while using the back of a sturdy chair for balance. Place your feet shoulder width apart and facing forward. Keeping your legs straight, breathe out and rise up on your toes. Hold for one second. Breathe in and return heels to the floor. Repeat 10 times. Rest for a minute and perform another set of 10. Chair Rise (strengthens thighs and buttocks) Sit toward the front of your sturdy chair with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Rest your hands lightly on the seat on either side of you, keeping your back and neck straight and chest slightly forward. Breathe out and slowly stand up, using your hands as little as possible. Breathe in as you slowly sit down. Do not let yourself collapse back down into the chair. Rather, control your lowering as much as possible. Repeat 10 times. Rest for a minute and perform another set of 10. Dr. Harry Papadopoulos is an Associate Professor of Exercise Science at Pacific Lutheran University and a certified Health and Fitness Instructor by the American College of Sports Medicine. His research interests are in fall prevention and physical activity interventions for older adults. You can contact Dr. Papadopoulos at papadoha@plu.edu if you have any questions.