There are many reasons that you might need physical therapy to help you regain mobility, improve balance and smooth your gait while walking. Your doctor may recommend this type of exercise if you’ve recently been injured or had an illness that affected your ability to walk or move around with or without an adaptive device. These gait training exercises are designed to help you strengthen your muscles, improve posture and develop the muscle memory that allows you to regain your mobility.
What’s Involved in Gait Training?
A key benefit of gait training is that it reduces the possibility that you’ll have a fall due to lowered mobility or instability while walking. Before getting started with gait training or any other physical therapy, it’s important that your physician is comfortable that you’re able to safely do the exercises. These exercises may be performed with or without a physical therapist, depending on your unique needs and physical condition.
Gait Training Exercises
The majority of gait training exercises are meant to help strengthen your muscles or improve stability. These activities could include:
- Walking on a treadmill
- Lifting your legs
- Sitting down
- Standing up
- Stepping over objects
These targeted exercises may also help improve your gait.
- Heel raises and toe raises, where you sit in a chair with your feet flat and then either point your toes to raise your heels or raise your toes off the ground while your heels stay connected.
- From a seated position, lift your right leg towards your chest as though you were marching in place. Repeat with your left leg, and alternate for up to 10 repetitions.
- Lying flat on your back, raise your knees towards your chest. This particular exercise is meant to work your core muscles, so focus on having your tummy do the work!
- Practice standing on one leg, while holding onto a sturdy chair or desk for stability. Hold for 5-10 seconds and then switch legs for 10 repetitions.
You can do the majority of these exercises at home, perhaps with minimal assistance from friends or family members. However, there is no replacement for working with trusted and knowledgeable physical therapists at Santé. We provide a full spectrum of care from rehabilitation to skilled in-home nursing and hospice care. Contact us today at 480-563-2402 for more information or visit us online to see our full range of service offerings.