Simple Foot Exercises for Seniors

Foot Exercises for Seniors

Staying physically fit is essential in maintaining excellent overall well-being. It’s crucial that your parents or grandparents strive to maintain their mobility and improve fitness levels to enjoy a comfortable and active post-retirement life. Hence, they should spend a good amount of time engaging in exercises to help keep their muscles and joints in peak condition.

Healthy feet are crucial to a person’s balance and stability. Aside from reducing their risk of falls, your older loved ones can go about their daily activities with ease when their feet are strong and healthy. But then, what exercises can help your older relatives keep their feet sharp and fit?

Seasons Retirement, a reputable retirement community in Canada, encourages their residents to stay healthy and fit by engaging in exercises regularly. They recommend these exercises for swollen ankles for older adults.

This article focuses on simple foot exercises for older people, discussing seven (7) exercises that enhance strength and stability in the feet.

  1. Ankle Circles

Strong and flexible ankles play a crucial role in maintaining balance, especially in older adults. Ankle circles are one of the best workouts to keep the ankles in good shape. This exercise focuses on the ankles’ upward and downward mobility.

To perform ankle circles, sit on a sturdy chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Then, stretch your left knee before rotating your foot in a clockwise circular motion. You can begin with 20 reps, then rotate your feet in the anti-clockwise direction the same number of times.  Afterwards, repeat this exercise for the other foot as well.

  1. Thumb-Toe Stretch

One of the best foot exercises for older people is the thumb-toe stretch. This exercise helps to maintain a wide range of motion in the big toe. It stretches and eases pain in the toes like discomforts caused by wearing tight footwear.

Here’s how to do the thumb-toe stretch — sit up straight in a chair, while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Then, place one foot on the opposite thigh and, with your fingers, gently pull the big toe up, down, and to the side. Hold the thumb-toe in each position for at least 5 seconds.

Aim for 10 reps with one foot before switching to the other foot.

  1. Heel Stand

The heel stand is another simple workout that helps improve strength and flexibility in the feet and ankles. It also enhances stamina in the front part of the lower legs. This exercise enables older adults to raise their toes without tripping.

To perform the heel stand, you will need a sturdy chair for support. Stand behind this chair, hold its backrest, and lift your toes before slowly lowering them. Repeat this action.

Ensure you breathe out when raising your toes and breathe in when lowering them. Meanwhile, be sure to keep your body aligned, and try not to overly rely on the chair for support.

  1. Toe Splay

The toe splay is one of the most effective feet exercises for seniors. This workout gives your older ones control over their feet muscles. The best part is that older people can perform the toe splay on both feet at once or on one foot at a time — the choice is theirs.

To do the toe splay, sit up straight in a chair with your feet resting on the floor. Spread the toes apart from each other as far and comfortably as possible. Keep this position for 5 seconds and go for at least 10 reps.

After practicing this exercise for a while, your older relatives can introduce a rubber band around their toes. This will serve as a resistance band and increase the intensity of the workout.

  1. Heel to Toe

This is a simple workout routine for older adults. As its name suggests, all your older ones need to do is walk a distance in a heel-to-toe manner. 

Here’s how to walk the heel-to-toe way — begin by positioning your right foot in front of the left one, with the heel of the former touching the toes of the latter. Then, gently move your left foot forward till it reaches the front of the right foot.

Try to ensure that the right heel carries the body’s weight during the motion. After the move is complete, you can transfer the bulk of the weight from the heels to the toes.

You can perform 20 steps to complete a set.

  1. Rock the Boat

If your parents or grandparents love going on walks every day, then Rock the Boat is an exercise they should enjoy. It is one of the best feet exercises for older people, as it helps increase the balance in their legs.

To perform this workout, your older ones will need an exercise mat and a pair of walking shoes. These items will provide them with adequate support during the exercise. 

Firstly, stand with both feet shoulder-width apart. You can increase your balance by lifting your arms. While looking straight ahead, position your shoulders back and gently raise your right foot off the ground. Hold this position for approximately 30 seconds before slowly returning to the starting position.

Repeat this exercise for your left leg, and at least five times on each leg.

  1. Toe Curls

Toe curls is a straightforward foot exercise that older adults can do while sitting. It strengthens the flexor muscles of the toes and feet, enhancing the overall stability of the leg.

To do the toe curls workout, sit up straight in a chair with one foot on a small towel on the floor. Then try to grasp the towel with the toes of that foot. Repeat this motion five times before changing to the other foot.


Staying fit and active will help your parents and grandparents lead independent, healthy, and fun-filled lives as they grow older. Engaging in healthful activities is the most effective way for them to remain fit and active. And above is a list of foot exercises for older adults that can help your older loved ones make headway in their fitness journey.

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