Five lower body daily dose activities

By: John Griffin, MSc

Many of us struggle to be physically active on a regular basis. Exercise—particularly starting an exercise program—challenges people to change their behavior, and that’s hard. More than half the attempts to begin exercise programs lapse within a few months.

One approach to this problem is to structure exercise right into our lifestyle. When we think about exercise as an integrated part of daily life, it stops being an add-on. Instead, it complements what we do every day.

Most days, people complete a series of routine tasks. Some of these we may enjoy, like reading the paper. Others are routine jobs, like sweeping a floor or brushing our teeth.

Daily active living simply enhances simple activities in a daily routine. Here are some examples:

  • walking to the store instead of taking the car
  • climbing stairs instead of riding the elevator
  • active playing with grandkids
  • taking on a more vigorous chore for the day.

This kind of active living can complement a daily exercise program or replace it from time to time. It’s about making active choices that become a way of life.

Lower Body Daily Dose

Here are five lower body ‘daily-dose’ routines. You can do these routines whenever you brush your teeth. Eventually, just going into the bathroom will cue you to do the exercises.

Note: Use the edge of the sink for balance and support while you do these routines.

 

Side-leg lifts

Side-leg lifts

  1. Stand tall with your legs apart and knees slightly bent.
  2. Moving from the hip, lift your right leg slowly out to the side.
  3. Slowly bring your leg back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat the exercise, alternating legs .

Hamstring curls

Hamstring curls

  1. Stand straight with your legs apart and knees slightly bent.
  2. Slowly lift your right heel up behind you.
  3. Lower your foot back to the ground.
  4. Repeat the exercise, alternating legs.

 

 

Toe or foot lifts

Toe or foot lifts

  1. Stand with your legs apart and knees slightly bent.
  2. Keeping your heel on the floor, slowly lift your right foot up.
  3. Return your foot to the floor.
  4. Repeat the exercise, alternating feet.

Knee-up hip roll

Knee-up hip roll

  1. Stand with your legs together.
  2. Lift your right knee up in front of you.
  3. Slowly swing your leg out to the side, moving from the hip. Keep your knee bent and pointing out to the side.
  4. With your knee still bent, slowly return your leg to the front.
  5. Lower your leg to the starting position.
  6. Repeat the exercise, alternating legs.

Partial squats

Partial squats

  1. Stand tall with your legs apart
  2. Bend your knees and slowly lower yourself as if you were about to sit in a chair.
  3. Slowly straighten up.
  4. Repeat.

About the Author
John C. Griffin, MSc,is a professor in the Fitness and Health Promotion Program at George Brown College in Toronto, as well as a consultant, speaker, coach, and writer. This article is adapted with permission from “Boost lifestyle activities to support clients in aging well,” in The Journal on Active Aging, March/April 2013: www.icaa.cc.

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