Leg Muscle Atrophy Exercises While Sitting

Exercise keeps leg muscles active.
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Muscle atrophy is a loss of muscle tissue due to a lack of physical activity and use, or an injury or disease to a nerve that connects to the muscle. Disuse atrophy is due to a lack of muscle use[ people with sedentary jobs, such as office workers, may find their muscle tone decreasing. As people age, activity levels may be reduced and muscle tone may decrease. Keeping leg muscles active is a way to avoid or reduce muscle atrophy. Many exercises can be done while in a sitting position.

Seated Knee Extensions

Seated knee extensions target the quadriceps muscles which are located in the front of your thigh and aid in bending and straightening your leg. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention includes this exercise in their program for keeping seniors active. To perform this exercise, sit all the way back in an armless chair with your feet shoulder-width apart and barely touching the floor. Slowly raise your left leg so that it extends completely. Slowly lower your foot back to the ground. Repeat this action 10 times with your left leg and then do the same with the right. To add additional resistance, add ankle weights.

Quadriceps Contractions

Another exercise for the thigh muscles is the quadriceps contractions. Sit with your legs extended in front of you with your knees straight and heels on the floor. Contract or tighten your thigh muscles and hold for a count of 10. Relax the muscles, and repeat this action 10 times.

Seated Shin Strengthener

This exercise strengthens the shin muscles and includes a few variations. Start by sitting on the edge of a chair with your heels on the floor and your toes pointed upward. Point your toes downward and hold for a few seconds, and then flex them upward, again holding for a few seconds. Repeat this movement 10 to 15 times. For a modification to this exercise, you can place a small ball on top of your feet and try to hold the ball in that position with your toes flexed for a count of 10. Rest for a few seconds and then repeat.

Inner Thigh Squeeze

This is an exercise that uses the aid of a child’s playground ball and works the muscles of the inner thigh. Sit on the edge of a chair with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Place the ball between your knees. Press your knees together to squeeze the ball and hold for two or more seconds. Repeat 10 times for your first set. Repeat for a second set. You should feel resistance in your inner thighs during this exercise.

Stability Ball

For people working extended hours in a sitting position, a stability ball can aid in decreasing leg muscle atrophy. A 2012 study at the Indiana Ergonomics Laboratory showed that office workers using a stability ball instead of an office chair experienced improved muscle activity in the various muscles of the legs. The most activity was found in the anterior tibialis, or shin muscle.

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