Cycling helps my legs get strong, but it doesn’t count as weight bearing exercise (who knew?), so my doctor recommended more walking, running and weight training to prevent osteoporosis. Here are a few of my favorite lengthening and strengthening leg exercises that are also good for your bones.
1) Step Ups (for quads mainly, but works most of your leg muscles): Stand in front of some stairs or playground equipment (ladders are good!) and place your right foot on a step or rung that will allow a 90 degree angle between your thigh and calf. Step up, placing all weight on your right leg. Once your right leg is straight, bring your left leg up beside it. Step down, and repeat on the left side. Do 30 (15 per side).
If you need more of a challenge, do your step ups with a (full) water bottle, can of soup or 2-pound dumbbell in each hand. Start light, then increase the weight in subsequent workouts.
2) Donkey Kicks (for glutes): Get on all fours, extend your right leg out behind you, keep your leg straight and hold it parallel to the floor. For maximum benefit, your foot should be flexed (i.e. do not point your toe). Do 10 on each side.
|Donkey Kick – starting pose|
3) Walking Lunges (for quads): Step forward with right foot, lunge forward until back knee almost touches the floor. Don’t let your right knee get too far over your foot. Push up with right leg and bring left foot forward to lunge with left leg. I do these around the playground or around the kitchen when I’m waiting for water to boil. Do these for 3 minutes.
Love me a good leg workout. How ’bout you?