Want to stay active and on the go? Then you'll want to maintain your ability to step with power and confidence.
How well do you step forward and back? How about side to side? Or up and down?
To stay truly mobile and independent, it’s important to step in different directions so you can climb stairs, walk down a hill, or scoot in and out of a narrow plane aisle.
Luckily, there's an easy way to preserve your ability to step: Practice stepping in different ways and directions. As with any other everyday activity, the more you practice it, the easier it will be to do in real life-for years to come.
Try these moves to keep your step strong.
How to Use These Exercises
You’ll want clear space and a step bench or low, sturdy exercise box.
You can pick one or two exercises to add to your normal workout, or you can do all four together as a routine. After warming up, perform each exercise as directed, focusing on good form. If you're doing them as a routine, work up to two to three sets total.
As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.
Step Exercise #1: March in Place
March for 30 seconds
How to do it: Stand tall facing a wall, kitchen counter, or back of a sturdy chair, holding on for support if needed.
From here, raise one knee as high as you comfortably can, making sure not to tilt your trunk as you do so. Pause, then lower your leg to the starting position. Repeat with your opposite leg.
Step Exercise #2: Side Squat
Do 6 to 8 reps per side
How to do it: Stand tall with your feet together and arms at your sides. Brace your core as if you’re about to be punched in the gut. This is your starting position.
Step out to the side with your right foot, making sure to land with your toes pointing forward. When both feet feel secure, push your hips back, and bend your knees to lower into a squat. At the same time, bring your hands together in front of your chest.
Pause, then push through your heels and step in to return to the starting position. Perform all reps, then repeat on the opposite side.
Make it easier: Use a wall or sturdy chair for support. Focus on good form, even if it means doing a smaller squat.
Step Exercise #3: Skater Step
Do 6 to 8 reps
How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
With control, step one foot behind you at a slight angle, landing on the ball of your foot with your hips and knees bent slightly. You can step back as little or as much as comfortable for you. Let your arms swing gently and naturally.
Still with control, return your foot to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side. That's one rep.
Step Exercise #4: Stepup
Do 6 to 8 reps per side
How to do it: Stand in front of a step. You can rest your hands on your hips or by your sides.
Set your left foot (leading) on the step, push down through your heel, and lift yourself up until your leg is straight. Bring your right foot (trailing) up to the step.
Step down with your right foot (trailing) and then your left foot (leading). Perform all reps, then repeat by leading with your right foot.
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