Leg strengthening exercises with a resistance band
By Mary Ann Wilson, RN
One of the most common changes seen in the aging process is a reduction in muscle mass. The loss of mass is greater in the lower extremities than in the upper extremity muscle groups. There is as much as a 30% decline in muscle strength between the ages of 50 and 70. Any lack of muscle power results in a decreased ability to react and respond to sudden changes. Strengthening all the muscles in the legs is critical in maintaining stability and preventing falls. Keep these muscle groups in mind as you develop a leg strengthening program designed to improve balance.
1) The quadricep muscles (the four muscles on the front of the upper thigh) stabilize the knee joint. They work together with the hamstring group of muscles (on the back of the upper thigh) to maintain balance and also play an important role in stair climbing and walking.
2) The muscles of the lower leg, the tibialis anterior, (muscles on the front of the shins) and the larger calf muscles (on the back of the lower leg) control movements of the foot and are active in controlling balance.
3) The adductor and abductor muscle groups (inner and outer thigh) need to be strengthened since they control lateral movements.
4) The small muscles in the feet contribute to balancing the body by helping to support the toes.