Swelling often occurs in seniors’ legs and ankles, making it difficult for them to move around, causing discomfort, and increasing the risk of falls. Legs, feet, and ankles become swollen when excess fluid builds up in the lower body due to gravity. Here are some exercises for swollen legs and ankles that can be done at home to ease discomfort. As always, it’s important to check with your doctor before performing these exercises.
Point and Flex
This foot exercise is incredibly simple to carry out. It improves your circulation by restoring mobility to your feet and ankles. It can be performed either seated on a chair or the floor. Start by sitting down on the floor with one leg extending out away from you, or on a chair with one foot on the floor and the other elevated a few inches above the floor. Keep your back straight and your arms to your sides, then point your toes forward, stretching them away from you as far away as you can without straining. Hold the stretch for five seconds, then bend your foot back and point your toes skywards, moving your heel away from your body. Hold this position for five more seconds and repeat the exercise 10 times before doing the same with the other foot.
This exercise strengthens your toe muscles and boosts your circulation. Take a seat and place a soft, malleable object, such as a cotton ball, between each one of your toes. Squeeze your toes together, making sure that your core is tight and your back is straight while doing so. Hold the squeeze for five seconds before you relax. You may repeat this exercise 10 times on each foot.
Massage the Soles of Your Feet with a Tennis Ball
Massaging the soles of your feet with a tennis ball can increase circulation in your foot. To massage your soles with a tennis ball, you can either sit on a chair with your feet placed on the floor or stand in a neutral position. Under the arch of one foot, place a tennis ball and roll the ball around under your foot, applying slight pressure as the ball moves from your heel to your toes and back. Do this for 30 seconds on one side of your foot before switching to the next. Ensure that you do not apply too much pressure on your foot.
Make Lifestyle Changes
While exercise can help relieve the swelling and discomfort in your legs and ankles, simple lifestyle changes can also boost your overall health and strengthen your body. For instance, placing a pillow beneath your feet when you go to bed can help relieve pressure on your feet.
You and your loved ones should exercise regularly. If you are prone to sitting for long periods throughout the day, remind yourself to get up regularly and move around every half an hour or so to keep your circulation going. Doing light aerobics, tai chi, and other forms of low-impact exercises are great as well! Drinking plenty of water daily to flush out toxins, maintaining a healthy weight through exercise, and having a good diet can all help to reduce swollen legs and ankles.