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Elderly person exercising

Top 10 Most Effective Chair Exercises for the Elderly

Exercise for elderly people should focus on core strength and flexibility. It can help improve balance, prevent falls, and even help to give mental health a boost. However, when mobility or weakness is already a problem due to age, this can seem a daunting prospect. Fortunately, there are plenty of chair exercises for elderly individuals which involve graduated effort according to ability.

Chair Exercises for Seniors

Exercise for elderly people done using a chair is an ideal way to exercise gently. Do make sure that the chair is both solid and stable. Do not use one with wheels and for these exercises, choosing one without arms is ideal. Check that the sizing of the chair is right with your knees bent at right angles.

Try to do the exercises a few times a week, and gradually increase the amount you do.

  1. Chest Stretch

The chest stretch is a good example of why chair exercises for elderly persons should be done on chairs without arms. Hold your arms out to the side with your back away from the back of the chair. Consciously drop your shoulders as you extend your arms to the side. When comfortably in this position, push your chest both up and to the front. You should feel a gentle stretch. Hold for 5 seconds and then repeat.

  1. Toe Stretches

For this exercise you can rest your back on the chair as long as your feet are firmly on the ground. While keeping your heals on the ground lift up your toes towards your knees. Hold for 5 seconds and then repeat. This exercise is working the muscles in your legs, which will help with balance.

  1. Twist Stretch

Once again, wriggle forwards slightly from the back of the chair. Sit upright and ensure your feet are securely flat on the floor. Now cross your arms holding on to opposite shoulders. Keep your hips steady; now twist your upper body slowly and gently to each side. Go only as far as is comfortable, hold for 5 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.

  1. Hip March

Sit upright and resist the temptation to lean back into the chair. Hold onto the seat with your hands. Now march your feet up and down alternately. Lift your legs only as far as is comfortable. Do not drop your feet back to the floor but use your muscles to replace each foot in turn gently and in a controlled way.

  1. Chair Rowing

Again sitting on the edge of the chair, hold your arms out in front of you with your thumbs facing up and elbows bent. Draw your elbows back towards your body while squeezing your shoulder blades towards one another. Hold for 5 seconds.

  1. Ankle Stretch

Once again, hold on to the sides of the chair to balance yourself. First, take your left leg and straighten it in front of you, raised from the floor. Try to keep your leg as straight as you can while you point your toes back and forth and circle your ankles. This exercise aids circulation and builds ankle stability.

  1. Hand Squeezes

It’s important to maintain or improve strength in your hands so that you can retain as much independence as possible. These exercises will help with everything from holding a pen to eating. Hold a rubber ball (approximately football size) in front of you. Now squeeze the ball with a grip as if you are trying to push the air out.

  1. Arm Raises

A chair without armrests will make this easier. Sit with good posture in an upright position with your arms by your sides. Open your hands so that your palms are facing forwards. Now slowly raise your arms up from the side in a symmetrical pattern. Go only as high as possible, but try to extend this over time.

  1. Neck Stretching 1

If you sit in a chair regularly and for extended periods, it is essential to use chair exercises for seniors such as neck stretching to increase your range of movement and comfort. Sit upright and consciously drop your shoulders. Look ahead of you. Now slowly turn your head to the left shoulder, hold for a few seconds, and then turn to the right and hold for a few seconds.

  1. Neck Stretching 2

Having done the neck stretch above, hold one shoulder with the other hand. Now tilt your head as if trying to put your ear on the shoulder that you are holding. Repeat on the other side.

Build up gradually, take your time, and these chair exercises for elderly individuals can become an important and valuable part of your routine.