WHETHER YOU THINK of your legs from the feet up or the hips down, the best way to ensure that they will last you a life time and serve you well is to start them with exercise at day one. So that is up to you, caregiver: mom, dad, aunt, uncle, grandma, nanny!

Baby legs need exercise tooLittle Legs
Little hips need to be rotated in and out. Little legs need to be bicycled forward and backward. The backs of little legs need to be stretched. Little ankles need to be rotated in and out and circled. The feet of little legs need to be pushed up and down. Little feet need to be barefoot. Only then do the muscles get fully used and developed. Little bodies need to be fed well, not over-fed and allowed to move unencumbered.

Little walking legs need to jum, hop, and skip.Little Walking Legs
Little walking legs need to walk, run and climb. Little walking legs need to push and pull. They need to jump, hop and skip. They need to do this on many different surfaces and whenever possible, such as on a beach or a rug, be free of shoes.

Teen legs need to walk instead of ride.Teen Legs
Teen legs need to walk instead of ride. They need to run and hike, ski, skate, kick balls, chase balls and dance. They should be able to do full deep knee bends. Teen legs need to be the legs that are used to help others. Be grateful for your good strong legs and use them well and for good purpose.

Grown-Up Legs
Grown-up legs need to continue to walk, run and hike. The more diverse the terrain the better. DON’T run on the road. Run on trails, tracks and the beach. Running on a treadmill or walking on a stair stepper does not even compare to doing the same on trails, tracks and beaches. The muscles are used differently and they are used repetitively on a treadmill and stepper. Muscles love the variety of diverse terrain such as cross-country. Dance: square, ballroom, line… any kind… as long as it is not repetitive, keeps your offensive and defensive muscles in good order. and is a prevention against falls.

Bonnie Prudden doing deep knee bendsOlder Legs
Keep doing what you’ve been doing. Find a pool and walk in many different ways. Run, hop, skip, jump, kick, grapevine. Go up on your toes and down to knee bends. Use the resistance of the water to keep you strong and flexible.

The sooner a muscle problem is detected the easier it is to fix.How Do Your Legs Stack Up?
Your legs should be strong, straight and flexible. You should be able to stand with feet together, knees straight and bend over and touch the floor. Should you notice any deviation… knock knees, bowed legs, flat feet, toes in, toes out — think muscles. Your feet should be strong and flexible.Muscles can pull your legs and feet out of alignment just as they do in the rest of your body. Little legs and little walking legs should be checked often. The sooner a muscle problem is detected the easier it is to fix.

And Your Feet?
Your feet should be strong and flexible. They should be without bunions, corns, calluses, or hammer toes.

For more information about legs and feet:

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If you have questions or need help, email me at enid@bonnieprudden.com.

For more information about Bonnie Prudden®, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®, workshops, books, self-help tools, DVDs, educational videos, and blogs, visit www.bonnieprudden.com. Or call 520-529-3979 if you have questions or need help. Enid Whittaker, Managing Director, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®