Do you find yourself winded (short of breath) when doing some activities, like climbing stairs? Does your balance sometimes feel off? There are simple things you can do at home to increase your strength and balance and build stamina. Try these tips.

Strengthen Muscles

• Sit all the way back in a straight-back chair.
• Hold the seat with both hands and slowly raise both legs up as high as you can.
• Keep your legs straight and hold them up for a count of 10 (or as long as you
can), then slowly lower your legs. Do one leg at a time if you need to.

Try this exercise three or four times a day. Do it at least five times in a row each time, resting for 10 seconds in between each lift. If you can only do the exercise one or two times in the beginning, that’s OK. The more you do it, the stronger you will be.

This exercise will strengthen your thigh muscles and stomach muscles, which help make it easier to do certain activities, like climbing stairs.

Increase Flexibility

While sitting in your favorite chair watching TV, increase the flexibility and range of motion in your ankles:

• Lift one foot off the floor at a time and slowly rotate your foot at the ankle, forming
circles in the air.
• Do 10 times, circling in one direction, then circle in the opposite direction
for 10 times.
• Repeat with the other foot.

Try doing this exercise during one TV commercial in the morning, afternoon and evening. It will strengthen your ankles and make it easier to climb stairs.

Practice Balance

• Stand next to a wall with your left side facing the wall.
• Place your left hand flat on the wall, and stand with your feet together.
• Slowly lift one foot off the floor a few inches.
• Now, try closing your eyes for a few seconds and slowly take your hand off the
wall. If this is too uncomfortable, keep your eyes open, and find a focal point to
rest your gaze.
• Tighten your tummy and balance on one foot for a count of 10.
• Turn around and do the other leg.

You may need to put your hand on the wall periodically for balance, but that’s OK. Build up to a count of 10—it takes practice! Try this exercise every day and for a little longer each time.

Remember: Take deep breaths before, during and after each exercise!

Talk to your doctor about your symptoms, and explain them clearly. Your doctor will determine if something more serious is going on.