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5 home exercises to strengthen aging legs and prevent falls

Falling is a serious problem, especially in the Midwest. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health, the state has one of the highest rates of death from unintentional falls in the nation, twice the national average. The good news is you can prevent falls.

Senior woman stretching at yoga class - Exercises to prevent falls
Certain exercises can help build strength and prevent falls.

“Poor balance and falls are a huge concern,” said Heather Nelson, a Marshfield Clinic Health System physical therapist. “Some people think they can’t do anything about poor balance, but you can. You want to do everything you can to avoid falls.”

You can help prevent falls by strengthening your core and legs. A 2021 study from the Journal of Human Sport & Exercise showed that the following exercises “led to changes that would likely decrease fall risk and did so in an extremely short time.”

If you are not currently exercising or have concerning health issues, Nelson recommends checking with your doctor prior to starting an exercise routine.  

Exercises to try at home

Step ups

Step up a stair, alternating left foot and right foot. Do three sets of these moves ten times.

Chair squat

Stand in front of a chair and squat down slowly as if to sit down. Prior to touching the chair, stand back up. Hold arms in front of you to help with balance. Do three sets of this move two to ten times.

Standing heel raises

Stand behind a chair with both hands on the chair back. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your heel off the floor. Do three sets of this move ten times.

Standing toe raises

Stand behind a chair with both hands on the chair back. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your toes off the floor. Do three sets of this move ten times.

Single leg balance

Stand on one foot for as long as possible, maintaining balance. Do this move near a counter or wall if needed for safety.

Physical therapy

If you are looking for more direction or supervision with exercise, or if you have balance concerns, physical therapy may be an option for you. Talk to your primary care provider about how to get a personalized and safe home exercise program developed to help improve your strength and balance.

For help preventing falls, talk to a Marshfield Clinic Health System provider.

Schedule appointment Message your provider

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31 responses to “5 home exercises to strengthen aging legs and prevent falls”

  1. Tammie

    Hi I’m Tammie trying to find some leg exercises for myself I’m definitely interested in help . Please let me know what you can help me out with

    1. Jordan Simonson

      Hi Tammie, Here are some videos we have for leg exercises: https://shine365.marshfieldclinic.org/?s=stronger+legs I hope they help! -Thanks, Jordan

  2. ZM

    I am looking for an advice to improve strength of my legs. I am 77 years of age . Standing, walking and climbing stairs tired my legs out, keep them aching for a while. Can you advise what exercises can help.

  3. hare krishna money

    Glad to see ur website n various replies. Encouraging. 82 years but unable to walk. Using walker. Pl suggest home remedies and exercises can I do to strengthen my lega n muscles. I am in Canada. Thanks
    Hare KRISHNA Money

  4. Sean Gogarty

    I start my 94th year in 2021 and am having difficulty walking and am having falls.
    Up to a few months ago I was using an exercise bike for some 45 minutes daily.
    I still do some 40 pushups every day.
    However I need to find some exercise to strengthen my legs.
    It would be great if you could help.

  5. .Keith Piddell

    I am 88yrs of age could you please help me some exercises that will strengthen my legs.,I find that I beginning to drag my feet when walking, I do have some exercise things such as step platform and dumb bells and also have an exercise bike. I used to go to the gym but as that is now out, I need to do these exercises at home. Thank you regards Keith.

    1. Jacob Zipperer

      Hello Keith,

      Thank you for reading Shine365 and reaching out.

      If you are looking for additional exercises on top of what was highlighted in the article, we recommend discussing this with a physical therapist. They are able to create customized exercise programs that are designed specifically for you.

      If you are within the Marshfield Clinic service area and looking for a physical therapist, here is a link to our providers: https://marshfieldclinic.org/doctors/search?k=%22physical%20therapy%22%20OR%20%22occupational%20therapy%22

      Thank you and I hope that helps,

  6. Farhan Ud Din

    Hello sir ,
    I play badminton and do gym but still have week legs 1 year ago only walking was enough for strong legs now i do legs exercises bit still have week legs feeling too week on badminton court … Exercise do not give me any benefit so please ensure me that what problem i am facing
    Waiting for your kind reply

    1. Jacob Zipperer

      Hello Farhan,

      Thank you for reaching out. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide individualized medical advice on this platform. If you have any concerns about the symptoms you are experiencing, we strongly recommend that you see your doctor. They can best advise you due to their knowledge of your medical history and conditions.

      If you are a Marshfield Clinic patient, you can message your provider directly through My Marshfield Clinic at the following link: https://www.marshfieldclinic.org/mymarshfieldclinic


    2. Vic Bank

      Weak not week

  7. Jwintx

    I fell today and I it took 2 hours to get up. Totally pisses me off. I refuse to become disabled.

    1. Michele Pendrey

      Speak to your subconscious, who is running the show anyway. For a while I was strategically placing objects in my path and tripping. Someone asked why I put in my way? Got me to thinking. Why indeed? I conquered habit, but can only guess at what subconscious was trying to accomplish.

  8. Jen

    Very helpful suggestions on this site. thanks, but why don't you offer some exercise suggestions for the folks who leave comments?
    They have probably seen their primary health care provider and are looking for additional help. Is it a legal thing about offering medical advice online?
    Again thanks for some really good exercise suggestions.

    1. Jacob Zipperer

      Hi Jen,

      Thanks for reaching out and we are glad to hear you're finding these suggestions helpful!

      We are limited in what we can respond to due to legal reasons.

      Hope you have a great rest of your day,

      1. Jen

        Thanks Jacob. Your response answers my question and I totally understand your position.
        Keep up the positive suggestions won’t you?

      2. Jacob Zipperer

        Hi Jen,

        Will do 🙂 Thanks again and hope you have a great day!


  9. Anna Gore

    I had extensive knee surgery last December, fell and shattered my femur. Since then I have not had any strength in my legs especially when I fall and cant get up. I end up crawling on my knees to a place where I can boost myself up. I go to pt twice a week but it's not helping. What can I d[?

    1. Jacob Zipperer

      Hello Anna,

      Thank you for reaching out. We recommend talking to your provider or physical therapist so you can determine next best steps together. They are most aware of your medical history and can best advise you moving forward.


      1. Terri

        Hi there. I went from a wheelchair to finally walking on my own again after being laid up for 3yrs after a back surgery. I had physical therapy at home and hates it. Well recently had another surgery and this therapy was good. I had water therapy it works wonders. I also have done what your saying and you need to be in control of your body. The physical therapist wont know you need something more unless you tell them. They will work with you for something more. If your not feeling it give it time. It is actually working it just takes time. It took me three years. I was so determined to walk again I was walking around my block with my Walker. Be strong friend you will get there. But communicate! Good luck. I was told I'd never walk again I walk and do more. I'm not a 100% but better than I ever thought.

  10. Brenda Romine

    I have muscle weakness in my upper legs. My doc put me on steroids. I immedatlet started gaining a lot of weight. I am 68 years d. An yo suggest an exercise to strengthen those muscles?

    1. Jacob Zipperer

      Hi Brenda,

      Thanks for reading Shine365 and for reaching out. We recommend reaching out to your provider regarding your question.

      If you are a Marshfield Clinic patient, you can message your provider directly through My Marshfield Clinic: https://www.marshfieldclinic.org/mymarshfieldclinic

      Thanks and hope you have a great day,

  11. ALICE

    My husband has been bedridden for a about 2 months and his legs are weak what exercise can I do for him to help him?

    1. Jacob Zipperer

      Hello Alice,

      Thank you for reaching out. We recommend talking to your husband's physical therapist about exercises that can help him – they know the most about his health history.


  12. Carol A

    I have sever scoliosis which causes a lot of pain in my lower back and right shoulder. One doctor said to strengthen my core, another said to do weight lifts on my legs. My problem is it is difficult to get up from a sitting position whether in the tub or on the floor, especially a hard surface. What is the best way to help me?

    1. Jacob Zipperer

      Hi Carol,

      Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide medical advice on this platform. A doctor who had access to your previous medical history would be better able to answer your question. If you are a Marshfield Clinic Health System patient, you can message your doctor on My Marshfield Clinic: http://marshfieldclinic.org/mymarshfieldclinic


  13. Eleanor Johnson

    I am 72 had a fractured femur bone over a year ago. I have not done anything die to leg have lost almost all my muscle. I have pain tingling tightness in both legs. My bones creak all over. I'm getting scared what can I do

    1. Kirsten Shakal, Shine365 Editor

      Hi, Eleanor. You should contact your doctor so you can determine next best steps together. -Kirstie

      1. Tousif

        Sir my right leg is shrinking month by month kindly help me out from this and I am feeling that I am loosing my strength from 1&half years. Also unable to lift my foot…
        However I am in sales marketing in this field leg work is very important… Any suggestion for me.

      2. Jacob Zipperer

        Hello and thank you for reaching out,

        We strongly recommend contacting your doctor as soon as you can about what you are experiencing. A doctor can best advise you due to their knowledge of your past conditions and medical history.



    Thanks for the gentle reminder that I can do something to improve my balance which at 85 is slowly getting worse. Good information that will get me off my butt and on my feet.
    Every now and then there is an article on shine356 that fits my situation very well. I find it very helpful for me.

    1. Kirsten Shakal, Shine365 Editor

      I'm so happy to hear that Eldine. If you ever feel there's a topic we haven't written about that you would like covered, please do not hesitate to reach out. Thank you for reading Shine365. -Kirstie

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