10 Easy and Effective Chair Exercises for Seniors

Everyone benefits from regular exercise. This includes seniors citizens as well. Practices and physical activity in seniors reduce the risk of chronic diseases. It also helps improve life expectancy and enhances the ability to perform daily tasks, including cleaning, cooking, and improves physical health as well. Furthermore, it also preserves the functional capacities of the seniors.

Yes, there is a significant concern with limited mobility. However, it can be overcome. This is where the seated chair exercises for seniors come into use. Different chair exercises for seniors help work out different muscle groups of the body. Chair exercises are an excellent substitute for seniors. 

10 Efficient Chair Exercises For Seniors

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1. Ankle and Wrist Rolls

Due to extremities, numerous people struggle with poor circulation. This further adds to the challenges of mobility as well as balance. Ankle and wrist rolls involve a series of low-intensity moves before the actual and rigorous exercise starts.

  • Sit and keep your back straight on the chair and do not lean against the chair.
  • Flex your fingers and proceed to open and close your fists several times. Then roll your wrists ten times in each direction.
  • Perform the same with your feet to work out your ankles. Flex and point each of the foot rightly while simultaneously straighten and curl your toes.
  • After, roll the ankles ten times in each direction.

2. Single-Leg Calf Raises

This chair exercise for seniors helps improve mobility and strength throughout the lower leg.

  • Sit and keep your back straight on the chair and place your feet on the floor with about hip-distance apart. Look straight ahead and engage your core.
  • Starting with the right foot and lift the heel off the ground as high as you can. This helps engage the calf. Proceed to lower the foot back to the floor and continue doing the same exercise for a set of 10 repetitions.
  • Do the same with the left foot.
  • Repeat the entire exercise for a total of three sets of 10 reps per leg.

After this, lift both your heels simultaneously for two more sets having ten repetitions. In the end, complete the exercise by holding your heels up for 20 seconds.

3. Sit-and-Stands

Chair Exercises For Seniors Sit and Stand
Credits: nhs.uk

This exercise is suited for older adults who have a problem standing up from soft couches or lower chairs. This exercise is like a precursor to squats. It helps seniors maintain or even gain the ability to stand up from chairs independently. It improves control, functional balance, as well as leg strength.

  • Sit on a sturdy chair and place your feet on the floor with about hip-distance apart.
  • Do not try and take support from your hands or arms; engage your core, and lean forward from the hips.
  • Spread your weight throughout the four corners of your feet and stand up by extending your hips and knees fully.
  • After this, reverse the movement by bending your knees and sitting down on the chair.

4. Seated Hip Marches

Chair Exercises For Seniors Hip Marches
Credits: dailymail.co.uk

This exercise helps improve mobility and flexibility through the hips. This is even a good alternative for seniors who need a modified choice for performing cardiovascular exercises.

  • Sit on a sturdy chair and place your feet on the floor with about hip-distance apart.
  • By taking the support of the armrests or the edges of the chair using your hands, engage the abdominal muscles to keep the torso tall.
  • Lift your right leg bent high up, in such a manner that you are doing a knee-high march. Lower it back down with control.
  • Repeat the same with the other leg.

Perform 20 alternating marches one after the other. Take a break and then proceed to repeat the same exercise 2 to 3 times. It can be repeated to increase the cardiovascular effect. It can also be used to raise the heart-rate by including it into the warm-up. It also gets the blood flowing such that you can perform more strength-focused movements.

5. Heel Slides

This exercise is a modified hamstring curl. It is made to help strengthen the muscles which span from the back of the thigh to between the glutes as well as the knees. It can also help improve the abdominal strength owing to the core engagement.

  • Sit on a sturdy chair and place your feet on the floor with about hip-distance apart.
  • Extend and flex the right foot while maintaining the heel in contact with the ground. The toes should be pointed up.
  • Engage the hamstrings and the glutes and bring your right heel back to the chair while keeping in contact with the floor.
  • Reverse the movement and move the heel away from you. Repeat this 10 to 12 times and then switch the leg.
  • Perform a total of 2 to 3 sets for each leg.

You do not need any special equipment, but you can use a small towel or a paper plate, which makes it easier for the heel to slide across the floor.

6. Seated Shoulder Press

Shoulder Press
Credits: verywellfit.com

In this exercise, you can use a light dumbbell, canned goods, water bottles, or even resistance bands. This exercise helps improve strength and maintains flexibility through the shoulders.

  • Sit on a sturdy chair and place your feet on the floor with about shoulder-distance apart.
  • Hold the dumbbell (or the other object) in each of your hands. Your hands should be next to your shoulders with your palms facing away.
  • Push your hands straight by extending your elbows.
  • Lower them back carefully to the starting position.
  • Perform 2 to 3 sets of this exercise, having a set of 10 to 12 repetitions.

7. Seated Torso Twists

Torso Twist
Credits: evelo.com

This exercises the core, which enhancing spinal mobility.

  • Sit on a sturdy chair and place your feet on the floor with about hip-distance apart. Do not lean against the chair.
  • Place your hands behind your head by keeping your elbows bent and facing the sides of the room.
  • Keep your pelvis steady and start to twist your torso to the right while exhaling.
  • Inhale while returning to the center. Remember to keep your hips stable.
  • Continue this in the opposite direction, i.e., the left side.
  • Perform the exercise for each side 6 to 8 times for two sets. Give a break in the middle of the sets.

8. Modified Leg Lifts

This chair exercise for seniors again improves core strength.

  • Sit on a sturdy chair and place your feet together. Push your shoulders back to maintain a good posture.
  • By taking the support of the armrests or the edges of the chair using your hands. Keeping your feet and knees together, lift both the legs. Keep the knees bent and raise them as high as you can. Exhale while doing this.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds, and then proceed to lower your feet back on the ground.
  • Repeat this 10 to 12 times. Complete a total of 3 to 5 sets.

9. Modified Planks

Chair Exercises For Seniors Modified Planks
Credits: forum.facmedicine.com

Planks are one of the best exercises for developing and maintain core stability throughout the front half of one’s body. For seniors, this exercise can be a little difficult, and thus, can be modified. Position the chair against the wall so that it does not move.

  • Once the chair is placed correctly, lay your hands on the back of the chair and make sure your hands are placed a shoulder-distance apart.
  • Step your feet back until you are forming a diagonal and straight line from your head to your heels. Arms should be straight and aligned, as well.
  • Stay in this position for 10 to 60 seconds and then return to a standing position.
  • Perform three sets of this exercise, holding each plank for longer while maintaining good posture.

10. Modified Burpees

By making appropriate modifications according to age and ability, seniors can perform burpees as well. Consider the following modified version of burpees, for instance:

  • Push a chair against the wall so that you can take support from it. It will prevent it from moving as well during your exercise.
  • Face the chair and stand to keep your feet shoulder-distance apart. 
  • Come into a half-squat position by bending your knees and pushing your hips back.
  • Take the support of the chair by placing your hands firmly on it. Keep them straight and aligned under the shoulders.
  • Just like the plank position mentioned above, step your feet back until you are forming a diagonal and straight line from your head to your heels. 
  • Now reverse the exercise by stepping forward and returning to your original position.
  • Press through your feet and extend your knees as you come back to the standing position.
  • Perform 2 to 3 sets with 6 to 10 repetitions each.

Final Thoughts

It is crucial that while doing these chair exercises, seniors do not overexert themselves as it could result in serious injuries. It is a good idea to listen to what your body is saying and exercise accordingly. It is never too late to start exercising and reap the benefits as mentioned above.

One should also maintain a proper diet consisting of healthy foods, fruits, and snacks, which can further help boost energy levels.

Continue Reading: Ankle Strengthening Exercises for Strong Legs

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