Don’t take your legs for granted. Your legs are your strongest and largest muscle group, and they are charged with the valuable tasks of carrying you around and keeping you upright.
Your mobility and quality of life are riding on them.
Spending too much time sedentary, however, can waste that valuable muscle away. Aging, in general, can lead to muscle loss in the legs, as well. So, the older you get, the more important it is to prioritize leg strength.
You don’t need to hit the gym for the squat rack or leg press machine to build leg strength. You can do it in a much less intimidating fashion at home with easy-to-use resistance bands.
If it’s been a while, you can start with bodyweight exercises.
Here are a few exercises you can try, using a chair for support. Each can be performed while standing and holding the back of a sturdy chair.
Side Leg Lift: Loop a closed resistance band around both calves and stand behind a chair with your feet together. Hold the chair with one or both hands.
Shift your weight to your left leg and keep your right leg straight. Slowly lift your right leg to the side, making the band taut, about six to 12 inches off the floor. Hold it for a second and slowly return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do 12 per leg.
Hip Extensions: Use the same starting position as the leg lifts. Put your weight on the left leg and straighten your right leg. Slowly lift your right leg behind you, until it is six to 12 inches off the ground.
Don’t move your hips or arch your back during the movement and keep the buttock of your standing leg tight for stability. Slowly return to the starting position. That’s one. Do 12 per peg.
Standing Hamstring Curl: Loop one end of a band around your right calf and the other end around the middle of your left foot (so you’re standing on it). Stand behind the chair with your feet together and hold the back of the chair.
Bend your right knee and bring your heel up towards your butt as high as you can. Don’t move your hips or arch your back; you should only be bending at the knee. Hold for a second and slowly return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do 12 per leg.