Climbing stairs can become difficult as we age due to loss of muscle strength and flexibility, and yet the ability to remains important to maintain independence. One of the exercises in the Strength and Balance Circuit is the Step Up. As you can see from the photos there is support there if you need it but we encourage participants to work towards being able to step up safely with no support needed. This exercise helps improve balance, steadiness on stairs and reduces the risk of falls, in addition to all that is helps maintain muscle strength in your legs. Climbing stairs is also an easy one to practice at home, you don’t need to go to the top! Start at the bottom of the stairs and put your strongest foot on the bottom step and then push upwards and forwards with the lower foot to step up and have both feet on the bottom step. Then step down again. To start use the bannister as a balance aid, but try not to pull yourself up with your arms as you want to use as much leg power as you can. When you start to feel more confident try without using the bannister.
For those participants who do not have a problem using stairs without support it is encouraged to step up and down faster and therefore getting an aerobic response (huff & puff!) . Most exercises in the class can be tailored towards the participants goals, whether that is to improve endurance, increase strength or improve balance.