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Top Leg Strengthening Exercises for Seniors at Home

The CDC reports that every year, around 3 million seniors are admitted to ERs for injuries sustained from falling. According to the CDC, one way older adults can help prevent falls and related injuries is to strengthen their legs with exercise. This list includes leg strengthening exercises for seniors that are appropriate for all levels of ability. 

10 Leg Exercises For Seniors 

Below, we offer step-by-step instructions for performing exercise for leg strength such as leg extensions, calf raises, squats and more. In addition to these simple exercises, we also recommend going on walks to enhance your leg health and overall wellness. 

These exercises should be safe for the majority of seniors. But if you feel any intense or unexpected pain while performing any of them, stop what you are doing immediately. Either come back to it when you are sure you can do it safely, or consult with your doctor for advice before trying again.

Leg Extensions

  1. Sit in a chair. Place both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift one leg and straighten it. Hold for a few seconds, and then lower it.
  3. Switch and do the same thing with the other leg.
  4. Go back and forth, repeating 10-15x.

Calf Raises

  1. Stand behind a chair so you can hold onto the back of it for balance support if needed.
  2. Slowly rise up on your tiptoes. 
  3. Slowly lower yourself back onto the floor.
  4. Repeat as many times as needed. 

Squats or Half Squats

  1. Stand upright with your feet about shoulder-length apart.
  2. Bend your knees and squat down toward the floor. Go as low as you can manage.
  3. Stand upright again.
  4. Repeat 10-15 times. 

Young lady doing a squat stretch in a beautiful outdoor setting

If you cannot go all the way to the floor, that is perfectly okay. You can do half-squats. It may also be helpful to have a chair in front of you if you need help with balance or getting back up.

Marching in Place

  1. Stand upright.
  2. Begin marching in place. Lift your knees up high with each step. March for as many steps as you want.

If you need help with balance, you can use a chair, counter, railing, etc.

Sit to Stand

  1. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Extend your arms out in front of you.
  3. Rise up from the chair to a standing position. You can lower your arms as you do.
  4. Sit back down in the chair again, extending your arms in the process.
  5. Repeat as many times as you need.

As you get older, you may find it increasingly difficult to get up and sit down, especially in low chairs. Training this action helps you build up the strength, balance and coordination to do it more safely and effectively. 

Hip Extensions

  1. Lay down flat on your back with your arms at your sides.
  2. Pull your legs in toward your chest so that your knees are pointed up at the ceiling.
  3. Lift your hips up off the floor.
  4. Lower your hips back onto the floor.
  5. Raise and lower your hips for as many reps as you want.

Yoga Teacher giving student a hip extension stretch assist

Leg Raises

  1. Lie down on the floor. Bend one knee toward the ceiling with your foot pulled in toward your torso, and keep the other flat and straight on the floor.
  2. Raise the straight leg up at a 90 degree angle to the floor.
  3. Lower the leg back to the floor. Perform 10-15 reps.
  4. Switch sides and do the same thing with the other leg.

Note: You can do an alternate version of this leg strengthening exercise for seniors where you put both legs flat and straight on the floor, and then raise them simultaneously and lower them. 

Pillow Squeeze

  1. Lie down on your back on the floor.
  2. Bend your knees so they point at the ceiling, with your feet pulled in toward your torso.
  3. Place a pillow between your knees.
  4. Squeeze the pillow with your legs. Hold for 5 seconds.
  5. Relax for 5 seconds (with your knees still together).
  6. Squeeze again for 5 seconds. 
  7. Continue performing 10-15 reps.


  1. Sit in a chair. Place both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Keeping your heels on the floor, raise your toes up toward the ceiling. Hold them in that position for 5 seconds.
  3. Lower your toes back to the floor. Wait 5 seconds.
  4. Raise your toes again, doing as many as reps as you wish.

Wall Sits (Advanced)

  1. Stand with your back against a wall.
  2. Gradually lower yourself down into a position where you are “sitting” on the air against the wall. Your thighs should ideally be parallel to the floor.
  3. Hold it for as long as you comfortably can.
  4. Gently raise yourself back up to a standing position. 

If you accidentally overdo it and find it hard to stand back up, just slide the rest of the way down to sit for a moment, and then stand up. 

Causes of Weakened Muscles in the Elderly

As we get older, we can experience a progressive form of muscle atrophy called “sarcopenia.” Cleveland Clinic explains that it occurs as a result of the aging process, but that certain health conditions act as risk factors. Examples include rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease and diabetes. 

In addition, if your diet is not healthy or you are sedentary, those may worsen this type of age-related muscle weakness.

How the Right Shoes Can Help

You probably will perform most leg strengthening exercises for older adults indoors without shoes on. But if you do decide to perform some of them outdoors, or if you want to go for a walk or a run, then you are going to need quality footwear.

Woman walking with pretty pink adaptive sneakers


Consider Cadense Original Adaptive Shoes for men and women. Here are some of the features of these shoes that make them ideal for older adults:

  • Wide base for stability.
  • High traction soles for firm grip.
  • Patented variable friction technology 
  • Lightweight, breathable materials for comfort.
  • Cushioning for support.
  • Attractive design. 

The patented variable friction technology is an innovative feature that is ideal for seniors who may not be able to fully lift their feet due to issues affecting their gait. It makes it possible for the shoes to glide over uneven surfaces smoothly and safely. 

Guy walking with adaptive slate colored sneakers


Wearing shoes like these can minimize fatigue and help you walk naturally, maintaining stable alignment and firm footing. As a result, you are less likely to slip and fall. View the entire collection of Cadense shoes for seniors.


To wrap up our guide to leg strengthening exercises for seniors, let’s answer a few frequently asked questions. 

How do I get my strength back in my elderly legs?

Studies have shown that home-based exercises for strengthening the legs can be well-tolerated and effective among seniors. Try performing some of the exercises in this guide. If you have safety concerns, be sure to consult with your doctor or physical therapist before beginning exercises.

Do leg peddlers work?

Some seniors may find leg peddlers useful for getting more exercise with a sedentary lifestyle. Keep in mind, however, that what you can do with a leg peddler is limited. Also, leg peddlers can worsen certain ankle and knee problems. Talk to your doctor prior to using a leg peddler if you have concerns about either.

Can elderly regain leg strength?

Yes, seniors can regain strength in their legs by performing suitable exercises. Remember to be consistent with your exercises, but also to allow yourself rest days so your muscles have a chance to recover and repair.

Can special shoes improve leg strength?

Yes, wearing special shoes may help you improve leg strength indirectly by making it easier, safer and more comfortable to exercise more. Our top recommendation is to wear Cadense Original Adaptive Shoes.

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