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Geriatric fitness levels can vary from individual to individual. No matter what your current fitness level may be, your muscle mass, balance and flexibility decline with age. Certain standing exercises can help counteract these losses, however. To strengthen the abductor muscles, which are found on the outside of the thighs, do standing leg routines with a chair as a prop to support your balance.
A standing leg lift strengthens your abductor muscles. While standing with feet together behind the chair, place one or both hands on the chair back for stability. Lift your left leg slowly out to the side while keeping your toes forward, hold for one second and return your leg back to the floor. Do 10 side leg lifts, rest and repeat the set one or two times. Do the same number of repetitions and sets with the other leg.
The standing leg circle exercise works your abductor muscles and increases the flexibility in your hip flexors, which are found where your legs join your hips. Start by standing on the left side of a chair and hold the back of the chair with your right hand. Lift your left leg an inch or two off the floor in front of the body. Point your toes and circle your leg out to the side and around behind your body. Keep the leg extended as you circle. Circle your leg five times and then reverse the direction of the circle, starting with your leg lifted behind the body. Repeat the leg circle set one or two times with the left leg. Move to the other side of the chair and repeat the sequence with your right leg.
Standing knee and leg rotations also work the abductors. Stand next to the left side of the chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your left knee and place your toes or the top of your left shoe on the ground. While keeping your hips still, rotate your left knee in toward your right leg and then rotate it out away from the body. The rotation action originates from your hip flexors, but you'll feel your abductor muscles working, too. Do 10 sets of rotations -- in and out -- and repeat the set one or two times. Move to the other side of the chair and work the right leg with the same number of repetitions.
Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise. If you're new to leg abductor exercises, take a class designed for seniors or seek out a personal trainer to learn how to do these exercises safely. Start out easy and increase the number of repetitions as you start to feel stronger. Exercise in moderation and do not use ankle or leg weights. The American Council on Exercise recommends that seniors avoid doing heavy-resistance exercises.