Exercise might be the last thing on your mind following the first snow fall of the season. But don’t let the chilling temperatures cool your motivation to stay active. Since bones and joints are more at risk for injury during the winter, it’s important to keep them strong and healthy. Try these simple strength and balance exercises to improve your reflexes and lower your risk of falls.
Exercises for improving your strength
- Leg bends. Bend one knee so your foot comes up behind you and is level with your knee. Slowly lower your foot to the floor. Repeat, using the other leg.
- Knee bends. Hold onto the back of your chair. Stand with your knees relaxed and your back straight. Your knees should face the same direction as your toes. Slowly bend your knees, then raise your body by straightening your knees.
- Sit-to-stand. Sit in your chair, with the chair against a wall. Stand up without using your hands. If this is too hard, start by using a pillow on the chair until you get stronger.
Exercises for improving your balance
- Toe-heel balance. Hold onto the sink, counter, or the back of your chair with both hands. Stand on your toes and hold that position for 10 seconds. Then rock back to your heels, holding that position for 10 seconds. Repeat about 5 times.
- Hip circles. Hold onto the sink, counter, or the back of your chair with both hands. Without moving your shoulders or feet, make a big circle to the left with your hips (counterclockwise). After you make 5 circles to the left, make 5 circles to the right (clockwise).
- Heel-toe walking. Stand with your left side toward the kitchen counter. You can use the counter for balance if you need to. Place the heel of your left foot in front of the toes of your right foot so the heel and toes touch. Focus on a spot ahead of you, and take a step so that your right heel touches the toes of your left foot. Work up to 20 steps. You can turn around and go in the other direction, with the counter on your right.
For more strength and balance exercises visit our health library here.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a stiff, painful knee or hip that is interfering with your daily activities, learn how the Joint Replacement Center at Washington Adventist Hospital and Shady Grove Adventist Hospital can help.