Here are some lower-body exercises. If you are 50 or older and have not been exercising, check with your physician before beginning any exercise program.
Squats: Standing with feet shoulder-width apart and abdominals contracted, bend knees as though you were slowly sitting in a chair, keeping knees behind toes. Never lower thighs below parallel to floor. Slowly return to standing position. Tip: When ready to add intensity, hold weights.
Plie squat with heel raises: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing outward, abs contracted and back straight. Lower into a plie squat position, knees in alignment with toes. Lift heels of right foot six to eight times, repeating with left heel. Push through heels, returning to original position.
Hamstring on ball: Lying on a mat, place both heels on ball. Contracting abdominals, lift hips off floor so that your body is in a straight line, from head to toes. With feet flexed, press heels or calves into the ball, rolling ball in toward hips. Keeping hips lifted and abs tight, roll ball back to original position. Tip: You may decrease intensity by lowering hips to the floor after each rollout.
Side leg lifts with resistance band: Wrap a resistance band around both ankles. You want to feel some tension on the band when you tie the ends together. Hold onto a support if needed. Without moving upper body, and while keeping hip, knee and ankle in alignment, flex foot while lifting leg to the side until you feel tension. Lower leg without touching the floor and repeat for desired repetitions. Tip: Contracting abdominals will help to give you stability.
Standing quadriceps stretch: Hold onto a sturdy support or balance with one arm extended to the side. Having a slight bend in the standing leg, hold other foot, raising it toward buttocks, slightly pushing pelvis forward. Hold for about 30 seconds. Tip: Contract abdominals and try to keep both knees close together.
Easy hamstring stretch: Hold onto a support, if needed. Extend leg on a step or low stool, relaxing supporting leg. Flex foot and bend slightly forward from hips; do not round lower back and do not lock knees. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat with other leg.