Exercise is very beneficial to seniors. But at some point, he/she may be unable to participate in aerobics, cycle or even walk… that’s why I’m super excited to introduce you to some simple chair based exercises for the elderly.
First, let me remind you why physical activity is more important at an advanced age- perhaps more than ever.
Why Exercise Matters For Seniors.
A recent study found that exercise is the number one contributor to longevity-it adds extra years to our life.
But workouts are not only about adding years to our lives, it’s more about adding life to our years.
When you sweat it out, you look better, feel sharper, become more energetic, and feel much better.
Sounds good? Okay. Let’s now see what chair based exercises for the elderly are.
What Is Chair Exercises For Seniors?
Chair exercises for seniors are gentle sitting exercises aimed at improving your mobility, general fitness, balance, and overall body condition.
And you guessed it right…you’ll need a stable chair-the type without wheels- to attempt chair workouts for seniors.
Why Do the Elderly Need Chair Exercises?
In short: you can’t afford to live a sedentary life. The risks are far too high.
Yet, you may be unable to participate in any other type of physical activity due to the effects of old age and the risks involved
Chair exercises for seniors, therefore afford, you an opportunity keep fit.
And since they are in variety, you get to experience all the amazing benefits of exercise
What You Need
Chair exercises for elderly are unique in that they are super gentle and very easy to follow- as we will see shortly.
But First, What Equipment Must You Have?
I’ve already talked about a stable chair. In addition, you’ll need;
- Loose, comfortable clothing
- Non-slippery floor
- Training videos where possible
- Physically, you must be comfortable sitting with your feet completely flat on the surface.
- Your knees should be able to bend at right angles.
What to Avoid
- Chairs with arms are bad as they restrict your movement.
How To Approach Chair Exercises For Elderly.
- Start slowly and gradually increase the number of repetitions for each exercise
- Try to exercise at least twice per week
- Mix sitting exercises for seniors with other routine workouts if possible
17 Best Chair Based Exercises For The Elderly.
Here now are some of the best youtube chair exercises for seniors
Start with what the easiest.
You can later take on more for a more complete seated workout
Exercise 1: Chest Stretch
This chair exercise for seniors is excellent for posture.
- Sit upright -don’t lean on your seat.
- Pull both shoulders back and downwards.
- Stretch your arms out wide to the side.
- Gently push your chest to the front- and in an upward direction till you feel your chest tightening.
- Hold this for 5-10 seconds then repeat 5 times.
Exercise 2: Shoulder Circles
These seated exercises for the elderly warm your shoulders and minimizes the risk of muscle strain
- While seated, position your fingertips on the shoulders.
- Circle your shoulders fifteen times- in a forward motion.
- Reverse the movement-this time circling backward 15 times.
Exercise 3: Upper-Body Twist
This upgrades flexibility in your upper back.
- Sit upright-your feet lying flat on the surface
- Cross your arms then reach for the shoulders.
- Without moving the hips, turn your top body leftwards farthest possible. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
- Repeat step C. on the right side.
- Repeat 5 times per side.
Exercise 4: Shoulder Rolls
Engaging your shoulders plus traps makes it easier for you to lift and carry objects
- Sit tall -your feet positioned flat on the floor.
- Shrug your shoulders upwards towards your ears
- Slowly rotate both shoulders in a circular manner—back, downwards, forward, then back top.
- On reaching the top, reverse – now roll them forward, downwards, back, and again back top.
- For each direction, repeat 10 times making it twenty reps in total
Exercise 5: Hip Marching
This is one of the easy chair exercises for elderly targeted at strengthening your hips and thighs.
It also improves tolerance.
- Sit upright without touching the back of your chair.
- Grasp the sides of your chair.
- Raise your left leg -knee bent to the highest comfortable point.
- Return the foot down with some tender force.
- Repeat with the other leg.
- Do 5 lifts per leg.
Exercise 6: Sit and Reach
Of all our seated chair exercises for seniors, this is one of the simplest
- Sit upright. Place your knees together.
- Stretch one arm straight towards the ceiling.
- Still seated, stretch your whole body upward till you can feel the stretch across your torso.
- Look towards your hand – again until you sense some stretching in the neck and shoulders.
- Hold this position for between 5-10 seconds
- Switch to the alternate side.
- Repeat 3 times per side.
Exercise 7: Ankle Stretch
The ankle stretch is one of the few simple chair exercises for seniors targeting ankles
It generally makes your knee more responsive.
Besides, it also makes it harder for blood clots to form in your ankles for whatever reason.
- Sit upright, holding on to the sides of your chair
- Straighten your left limb off the floor.
- With your leg now straight and raised, try to point your toes further from you.
- Now point your toes back towards you.
- Try 2 sets (each 5 stretches) per foot.
Exercise 8: Ankle Rotations
You can refer to our chair exercise videos for seniors when doing this one.
- Sit up straight
- Rest one ankle on the other leg’s knee.
- Rotate the resting ankle in circles-ten times clockwise and another ten rotations anticlockwise.
- You can point your toes to get an additional stretch.
- Repeat with the other ankle
Exercise 9: Arm Raises
These chair aerobics for seniors works on your shoulder strength.
- Sit upright- your arms relaxing free on the sides.
- With your palms forwards, lift both arms out sideways, and up to the highest comfortable point
- Return to your starting position.
- Raise your arms again, then lower- repeating 5 times.
Your shoulders should be down and the arms straightened all through.
Breathe out when raising your arms while breathing in as you bring them down.
Exercise 10: Toe Taps
Toe taps are among the most popular seated exercises for seniors- especially when starting off due to their directness
- Sit upright straight, as usual, your feet firmly flat on the floor.
- Bend your toes towards the ceiling then back to the ground.
- Repeat this movement 8-10 times
If you want to go further;
- Sit near the edge of the chair -still your legs straight.
- Ensure your heels remain on the ground even when bending your toes upward or back down.
These senior citizen chair exercises strengthen your calves and shin muscles
Exercise 11: Neck Stretch
Neck stretch relaxes tight neck muscles.
- Sitting upright, gaze straight ahead
- Press your left shoulder downwards using your right hand.
- Gradually tilt your head -towards the right- still pushing your shoulder down till you feel some discomfort
- Hold this stretch for 5 seconds
- Repeat this- now on the opposite side.
- Do this 3 times on either side.
Exercise 12: Captain’s Chair
This is unique in that it acts on your abs plus other core muscles such as your glutes.
Anyway, not many sitting exercises for older adults will touch such areas
- Sit up straight
- Grip the edges of the seat.
- Slowly hoist your feet (off the ground).
- Move your knees towards your chest (Never extend past a comfortable point)
- Squeeze your abs gently at the top
- Then slowly bring down your feet and back to the surface.
Congratulations. You have just pulled off one of the best seated core exercises for seniors
Exercise 12: Seated Row
Back and chest chair based exercises for older adults –such as the seated row help keep your chest and back in top condition
- Sit close to the edge of a steady chair
- Hold your arms out in front -elbows bent- and with thumbs pointing to the ceiling.
- Next, draw your elbows backward- shoulder blades squeezed together.
- Return to the original posture
- Repeat 8-10 times.
Exercise 12: Seated Tummy Twists
Tummy twist seated exercises for seniors work your core muscles
- First, sit in a good posture.
- Hold a ball using both hands, close to your body-and with your elbows bent.
- Slowly rotate your torso leftwards going furthest comfortable- while holding the remaining part of your body still.
- Rotate back toward the centre and then rotate toward the right.
- Two twists equal one set, and beginners should target eight sets.
Exercise 14: Glute Squeeze
Strengthening your glutes ushers in an overabundance of daily benefits including making casual walks enjoyable affairs.
Glute squeeze is one of the chair based exercises for the elderly that come in handy for your buttocks.
- Here you will simply squeeze your backside muscles together while seated on the edge of a steady chair
- Try to maintain the squeeze for some seconds before release.
- Repeat this 8-10 times.
Exercise 15: Seated Tap Dance
Some chair based exercises for the elderly can be fun!
- Sit- knees bent and toes resting softly on the floor.
- Extend one leg forward gently tapping your heel onto the floor.
- With your limb still outstretched, point your toes then tap them onto the floor.
- Flex your foot, and then tap your heel yet again.
- Return to your original position, then repeat with your remaining leg.
- You should “tap dance” for 3-5 minutes- but try to extend as you grow into it.
Exercise 16: Seated Forward Bend
This helps your back
- Sit, legs wide open, and your feet staying flat -on the ground.
- Slowly lean forward while dropping your torso towards your thighs.
- Now relax your neck, then start lowering your hands towards the feet until you feel some strain
- Hold the stretched position for 30 seconds
- Then slowly return to your starting position.
- Repeat 3 times.
Exercise 17: Rowing
‘Rowing’ improve blood circulation and balance.
- Sit towards the edge of your chair.
- With your hands held together, reach out to the front
- Then pull your arms backward to one side
- Then to the other side- as if you are paddling your canoe down a river.
- Continue rowing for approximately 20 – 30 seconds
Chair based exercises for the elderly could be lifesavers when the rest of the exercises prove a hard nut to crack
And with most sitting exercises for seniors being super easy, it’s time to start enjoying the physical, mental and emotional rewards of working out..