American Stroke Foundation

ExerciseLower Body Exercise & Range of Motion (ROM)

Lower Body Exercise & Range of Motion (ROM)

Exercising is essential to building muscle strength & supporting health, cognition, and mood. Exercising also reduces your risk of stroke. This video demonstrates seated lower body stretches and exercises you can do to improve movement in your joints and strength in your legs.

Make sure you are seated in a sturdy chair, sustain your breathing, and maintain good body posture. Take your time and focus on each movement. Complete these exercises at your own pace and to your own abilities.

High Knee Marches (0:29-1:00)

Start with your feet flat on the floor hips width apart. Pick your foot up off the floor and raise your knee up high. Alternative legs for 30 seconds. Increase the speed of the movement and/or bring your knee higher to challenge yourself.

Kicks (1:01-1:35)

Alternate kicking your feet out in front of you, by extending your leg straight for 30 seconds. If you need more support, you can cross your less affected leg under the ankle of your affected leg.

Ankle Rolls (1:37-2:20)

Slowly roll your ankle in a counterclockwise circle for 15 seconds. Then repeat on the other ankle. You can roll your ankles in both directions (clockwise and counterclockwise) or can roll both ankles at the same time, for more of a challenge.

Side to Side Ankle Kicks (2:21-4:50)

Make a u-shape with your ankle by kicking the inside of your foot in and then kicking it out for 30 seconds. Repeat with other leg.



For a modified side to side ankle kick: with your feet on the ground hip-width apart, slide your toes together to face each other with heels apart. Then slide toes facing outward with heels together.

Heel lifts (4:52-5:39)

Lift your heels up from the floor while keeping your toes planted then place heels back flat on the floor. You can do both feet at the same time or can do one at a time for 30 seconds total. You should feel a nice stretch in the bottom of your foot and calves.

Side Toe Taps (5:40-6:26)

Alternative lifting your thigh up from the chair and moving your leg out to the side to tap your toes for 30 seconds.

Ankle up/down (6:29-6:58)

Lift your foot off the ground with your leg extended out straight. Alternate moving your ankle to point your toes up to the ceiling, then pointing them down to the floor. Continue to do this movement for about 15-20 seconds. You can do this movement one foot at a time or both at the same time.

Heel Rock-Backs (6:59- 7:42)

Starting with your feet flat on the floor, rock back onto your heels with your toes pointed up, then back down, making sure to get your feet back flat on the floor. Continue this movement for 30 seconds.

Back Toe Taps (7:43-8:25)

Scoot forward to the edge of your chair. Bring your foot straight back with pointed toes to tap underneath you. Then bring your foot back flat on the floor. Alternate the movement with each leg for 30 seconds.

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