Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Exercises to Strengthen Legs

As an occupational therapist, I am always looking for new information from the physical therapists as to how to strengthen the legs to improve gait and use stairs. I recently had the opportunity to sidewalk with a physical therapist and learned that I could strengthen the rider's quadruceps's by having the child sit sideways and march the legs. This involved lifting the knees as though marching. Then she asked the child to extend the legs (again in side facing position) and lift each foot to touch her hands. Strengthening these muscles should help with lifting the legs up to the next step.
I did this activity again later with one of my clients. but I incorporated a squeaky dog toy so that each time the child's knee or foot reached up to touch it, I made it squeak. This really goes to show how much we can learn from one another's disciplines.
I would love more ideas from physical therapists............

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L, author of The Recycling Occupational Therapist


  1. Hi Barbara!

    I love your posts! They will be helpful when I begin in April! Your site is beautiful! I will be happy to share my ideas once I begin!


  2. Hi Barbara!

    Your site is beautiful! I love all of your great ideas for hippotherapy! Thank you for sharing them!

    I will be sure to post any ideas I come up with once I begin in April as a new OT hippotherapist!