Help prevent osteoarthritis by regularly doing a variety of exercises and maintaining a healthy weight, which puts less strain on joints, says Michelle Olson, PhD, a FITNESS advisory board member and professor of exercise science at Auburn University at Montgomery. Do three sets of each exercise four times a week, Olson says.
Targets hips and outer thighs
- Lie on right side on floor with legs stacked, propping torso on right elbow, resting head on right palm.
- Keeping left leg straight, lift left leg as high as you can while maintaining a straight back and hold for one count; lower to start.
- Do 15 reps then repeat on opposite side.
- MAKE IT HARDER: Place a resistance band (like SPRI Mini Band, $5; spri.com) around your ankles.
Front Leg Lifts
- Sit on floor with legs extended and recline torso 45 degrees, propping upper body up on forearms, then bend right leg, placing right foot flat on floor.
- Keeping left leg straight, raise left leg a few inches off floor, hold for one count, then lower to start.
- Do 15 reps, then repeat on opposite side to complete one set.
- Stand on balls of feet on the edge of a step, heels hanging off the back. (For extra support, place one hand on a wall.)
- Lift left foot off step balancing on right foot, then lower right heel, hold for one count, then raise right heel above step, hold for one count.
- Return to start, keeping left leg lifted throughout.
- Do 15 reps then switch sides and repeat.
Originally published in FitnessMagazine.com, June 2012.