Move through every day with ease by adding this important exercise to your routine.
You climb stairs, get in and out of your car, or kneel down to pick something up off the floor almost every day. And the lunge is an excellent exercise to help you do all of that with ease and grace.
“Lunges are a vital building block to maintaining functional movement and staying independent,” says Terecita “Ti” Blair, the 2017 SilverSneakers Instructor of the Year. “This yoga pose strengthens the butt, thighs, calves, and ankles, helping you build and maintain lower-body strength and mobility.”
In the video above, Blair demonstrates how to perform a lunge while standing, but you can also do it while sitting if that’s more comfortable for you.
Ready to give it a try? Follow this step-by-step guide. As always, safety is key. If you have a chronic condition (including osteoporosis), an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.
Step #1: Move One Foot Forward, the Other Back
Step one foot forward and the other one back so your feet, knees, and hips face the same direction. Separate your feet as wide as necessary to feel grounded and stable.
Step #2: Bend Your Front Knee
Bend your front knee, keeping it above or just behind your ankle. Keep your back leg as straight as possible, and come up onto the ball of your back foot. You can keep your back leg bent slightly if that's more comfortable for you.
Step #3: Draw Your Belly In and Up
Engage your belly, and lift your chest. Breathe slowing and continuously here, finding stability in your lower body while lifting up in your upper body.
Step #4: Position Your Hands
If it's comfortable, place your hands on your hips. For more upper-body action, you can try any of the following:
- Reach your arms in front of you with palms facing each other.
- Reach your arms up to the sky to challenge your balance.
- Clasp your hands behind your back.
Whichever position you choose, hold for three to five slow breaths, then repeat all steps on the opposite side.
Step #5: Make It Your Own
If standing lunges aren't right for your body, try a seated version. Sit tall in a chair with your knees, toes, and hips facing forward. Open your knees and thighs out to the right and left, with your knees facing the same direction as your toes. Plant your feet.
From here, rotate your entire body to the left so both feet and knees are facing the same direction. Both knees should be bent, and keep your front knee directly above or just behind your front ankle. Come up onto the ball of your right (back) foot. Draw your lower belly in and up, and lift your chest. Breathe here for three to five breaths. Return to face forward, then repeat on the opposite side.
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