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7 Chair Exercises for Seniors

Fonthill House, St Albans, Hertfordshire

Staying active is vital for seniors, but it doesn’t always require strenuous workouts. Chair exercises offer a safe and accessible way for older adults to maintain their mobility and overall well-being. These gentle routines can be done while seated, making them suitable for various fitness levels and rehabilitation challenges. 

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to seven chair exercises specially designed for seniors. They’ll help you to improve your strength, flexibility and circulation, while taking care of your body with compassion and consideration for your unique needs.

1. Raised arm extension

The raised arm extension is an excellent chair exercise for seniors, promoting upper body strength and flexibility. Sit comfortably in a sturdy chair with your feet flat on the floor. Lift your arms straight up toward the ceiling, palms facing inward. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower your arms. Repeat this movement 10-15 times. 

Raised arm extensions enhance shoulder mobility and can be adapted to your comfort level by using light weights or resistance bands for an added challenge.

2. Seated rows

Seated rows are another beneficial chair exercise for seniors, targeting the muscles in the upper back and arms. Begin by sitting upright in your chair, feet flat on the floor. Hold a resistance band or tubing with both hands, palms facing each other. Pull the band toward your body, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Slowly release the tension and repeat for 10-15 reps. 

Seated rows help improve posture, strengthen the back, and enhance overall upper body stability, making daily activities easier and more comfortable.

3. Seated march

To boost your lower body strength and circulation, try the seated march — a simple yet effective chair exercise. Sit tall in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Lift one knee as high as comfortable, then lower it and repeat with the other leg. Continue alternating for 30 seconds to one minute. 

This exercise enhances leg muscle tone, helps maintain joint flexibility and stimulates blood flow to the lower extremities, making it an ideal choice for seniors looking to stay active and mobile.

4. Seated twists

Alternatively, seated twists are another great chair exercise for seniors looking to increase spinal mobility and core strength. Begin by sitting with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Hold onto the sides of the chair with both hands. Slowly rotate your upper body to the right, looking over your shoulder, and then return to the centre. Repeat on the left side. Make sure to perform 10-15 twists on each side. 

This exercise enhances flexibility in the spine and can alleviate stiffness, contributing to better posture and comfort.

5. Foot circles

Or, why not try some foot circles, a seated exercise with proven benefits for lower body flexibility and circulation? Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor. Lift one foot slightly off the ground and begin making gentle circles with your toes, rotating the ankle clockwise and then counterclockwise. After 15-30 seconds, switch to the other foot. 

Foot circles help maintain ankle mobility, improve blood flow to the lower limbs, and alleviate stiffness, promoting better overall leg function.

6. Seated bicep curls

Improve your arm strength and muscle tone with some seated bicep curls. Sit in a chair with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell or a household item with some weight (like a water bottle) in each hand, palms facing forward. Start with your arms fully extended, then bend your elbows to curl the weights towards your shoulders. Finally, lower your arms back down and repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

Foot circles help maintain ankle mobility, improve blood flow to the lower limbs, and alleviate stiffness, promoting better overall leg function.

7. Seated knee extensions

Seated knee extensions are another valuable chair exercise for seniors, designed to enhance lower body strength and knee joint flexibility. In fact, this exercise helps to build quadriceps strength and promotes better knee mobility, aiding in daily activities and stability. 

Sit with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Slowly extend one leg straight out in front of you, hold for a few seconds, and lower it back down. Repeat this movement with the other leg and perform 10-15 repetitions on each side. 

Fonthill Care Home stands as a beacon of hope and support for those seeking long-term care for their loved ones. We understand the unique needs of each individual and tailor our rehabilitation accordingly, fostering physical, emotional and social well-being. Contact us today to find out more.

Foot circles help maintain ankle mobility, improve blood flow to the lower limbs, and alleviate stiffness, promoting better overall leg function.

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