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Healthcare | February 13, 2023
Exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for seniors. Staying active has so many benefits as you age. It helps you enhance your mobility, stimulate your mental health, and improve balance so that you avoid future injuries. The right physical activity can also help you address one of the most common issues for seniors – knee pain.
Knees support our bodies and are at the core of many common activities, including walking, sitting, and bending. Our knees tend to be one of the first problem areas as we age, which is why it’s important to work them out and make them stronger. Keep reading to find out different exercises for bad knees and other ways you can support these joints.
Whether you choose to do one or all of these exercises, it’s never too late to give knee exercises a try. Each of these knee exercises for older adults are quick, easy, and can be done at home without any need for workout equipment. Let’s break down each exercise and how it helps you address strengthening your knees.
Knee extensions are a great beginner exercise that helps strengthen the quadriceps muscles, which support the knee and makes it easier to walk, squat, and do other regular leg movements.
How to do them: Start by sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. While staying seated, raise your right leg off the floor and extend it out in front of you. Hold for a count, then lower back to the floor. Repeat the motion with your left leg. Hold, then return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times on each leg, up to three sets.
Tip: If you’ve mastered side steps, consider adding light ankle weights to get your muscles working.
Calf exercises help strengthen supporting muscles in your calf and back leg. These muscles help to take pressure off your knee when standing and walking.
How to do them: Start by standing on a flat surface. Make sure you have something to hold onto to support your balance, like the back of a chair or edge of a counter. Stand on your tiptoes, raising your heels off the ground. Hold for three counts, then slowly lower your heels to the floor. Repeat 10 times, up to three sets.
Tip: For an easier workout, do this exercise while seated in a chair.
Side steps help to improve balance and mobility, and is an easy exercise for stretching bad knees. These steps also help work out your hip and leg muscles, offering extra support for your knee joints.
How to do them: Stand facing a wall with your feet hip-width apart. Step to the side with your right leg so your legs are wide apart. Then bring your left leg next to your right. Reverse the movement by stepping to the side with your left foot, then bring your right leg back in. Repeat 10 times, up to 3 sets.
The pillow squeeze exercise can help strengthen the inside leg muscles, which help support the knee.
How to do them: Lie on your back with both knees bent and pointed toward the ceiling. Place a pillow between the knees. Squeeze your knees together, squishing the pillow between them. Hold for five counts, then relax your legs. Do two sets of 10 repetitions.
Tip: For an easier workout, do this exercise while seated in a chair instead of lying on your back.
Stretching keeps you flexible and can improve your range of motion. Calf muscles help support the knee, so keeping them stretched and loose is important.
How to do them: Start by standing on a flat surface. Make sure you have something to hold onto to support your balance, like the back of a chair or edge of a counter. Slowly bend your right leg. Step back with your left leg, and slowly straighten it behind you. Press your left heel toward the floor. You should feel the stretch in the calf of your back leg. Hold for a 10 count. Repeat twice, then switch legs.
Tip: If you can go further, slowly increase the time you hold your position up to 30 to 60 seconds (just make sure to talk to your doctor first).
Knee exercises are great, but sometimes knee pain can make the above exercises too difficult. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways that you can still bend your knees and strengthen them until you’re ready for these workouts. Here are two other activities that can improve bad knees:
Walking is a great form of exercise for individuals of any age. The problem is that most people don’t walk enough each day. Start slow, pace yourself, and keep at it so that you start taking more steps each day. Regular walking can ease knee pain, strengthen leg muscles, and improve posture and flexibility.
Water exercises can be beneficial for bad knees. Swimming and aerobics done in the water takes the weight off weakened or aching knees due to water’s buoyancy, making it easier to engage in physical activity. If you need to strengthen your knees and get some exercise, the pool can be your best friend.
A good exercise program is important for older adults, but it’s important to work at your own pace. Don’t be afraid to start slow and work your way up to a comfortable workout routine. Even small steps are better than none when it comes to improving your quality of life.
Whether it’s completing exercises to strengthen your knees or dealing with senior housing, it’s important to do what you can to enjoy your senior years. Trying to figure out the best senior housing option for your personal lifestyle and needs? National Church Residences can help. Find out which senior living options are in your area or give us a call at 844-465-6063 to talk to one of our friendly staff members today.
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