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20 Chair Seated Exercises Seniors Can Do at Home

Exercising and physical therapy are vital at any age but essential for seniors and older adults. Whether we like it or not, regular exercise keeps our bodies moving and operating efficiently as we age. We lower our chances of aging healthfully if we do not get up and move our muscles. Suppose an older adult has difficulty moving around independently and finds it hard to procure even a little amount of exercise during the day. They need not be concerned since there are chair seated exercises for seniors that they can do at home.

Chair exercises are an excellent replacement for seniors. Seniors do not need any gym equipment or a trainer, and elders are not required to have a caretaker with them at all moments. The only thing a senior requires is a chair; nevertheless, some of the exercises below may necessitate a resistance band or dumbbells to be performed correctly and effectively.

Please bear in mind that everyone’s degree of comfort with exercise varies. Therefore, start slowly and establish a health regimen that is suited to your ability for safety.

Before You Start Chair Exercises

Before beginning any new fitness program, including ones developed for seniors, such as the one listed here, be sure your doctor has cleared you to participate in physical activity. All of these movements are feasible at home. You might also attend a workout class guided by a professional trainer at a physical therapy clinic or fitness center oriented for elders.

The secret to a great workout is to go slowly, recognize your limitations, and listen to your body. Then, stop and attempt an alternative workout if anything doesn’t seem right. Finally, if you continue to have discomfort or pain, get advice from experts or a physical therapist.

Here are 20 seated chair exercises that are suitable for seniors to do at home:

 

Chair Exercising Warmup

Always start every workout with the warmup. Whether sitting or standing, warm up your body for 3 to 5 minutes.

  1. Warm up by moving your feet alternately for 30 to 60 seconds.
  2. After that, do 30 seconds of arm circles.
  3. Repeat for another 3 to 5 minutes.

 

Chair Exercises for Shoulders

Seated Shoulder Press

The sitting shoulder press will assist with extending the arms above while improving strength, movement, and stamina.

Steps

  1. Select a light weight or a resistance band and slip it beneath the seat or sit on it.
  2. Sit in the chair with your hips far back. Make sure your back is firmly attached to the chair’s backrest.
  3. Maintain a tight core.
  4. Begin by spreading both elbows to the sides of the body and aligning them beneath the shoulders. Extend your chest.
  5. Face straight forward, hands front, and grab the dumbbells.
  6. Extend the arms over the head until they are completely extended. Keep your hands apart and your arms parallel.

The difficulty level of this exercise is easy. You can do 2-3/8-12 repetitions, and you need 4 minutes for it.

 

Seated Front Shoulder Raises

This exercise is very beneficial for holding things in front of you or extending one arm forward.

Steps

  1. Take out a set of weights, a resistance band, or a ball.
  2. Sit in the chair with your hips far back. Make sure your back is firmly attached to the chair’s backrest.
  3. Maintain a tight core.
  4. Extend your chest.
  5. Keep your arms to the sides of the body, allowing weights to dangle. Keep the palms facing the body.
  6. Slide a resistance band underneath the seat or sit on it until it is the same length on both sides of the body. Then, hold both arms at your sides, allowing them to dangle with palms towards the body.
  7. Hold a ball at the edge of your lap and grab the ball with both hands on each side.
  8. Continue to lift the arms in front of you while keeping the arms straight and palms facing forward.
  9. When the arms are parallel to the ground, and the hands directly see the eyes, stop the action.
  10. Return to the starting position gradually.

The difficulty level of this exercise is easy. You can do 2-3/8-12 repetitions, and you need 4 minutes for it.

 

Chair Exercises for Chest

Seated Chest Press

A complex movement engages not just the chest muscles but also the shoulders and triceps at the same time.

Steps

  1. Take out a resistance band.
  2. Place the band on the chair to precisely correct behind the shoulder blades. Make sure the resistance band cannot move. Shifting the resistance band during the workout might cause injury or target the different muscles. Consider using a sturdy clip or pin to hold it secure, or have a family member help you.
  3. Sit in the chair with your hips far back. Make sure your back is firmly attached to the chair’s backrest.
  4. Maintain a tight core. Extend your chest.
  5. Maintain a neutral posture with both palms facing the ground, elbows bent, and parallel to the shoulders. Both hands should be somewhat wider than shoulder-width.
  6. Push the band forward until your arms are entirely stretched in front of you.
  7. Slowly return to the starting position.
  8. If a chair cannot be changed or insufficient strain, the band can be wrapped around another sturdy item such as a pole or beam.

The difficulty level of this exercise is easy. You can do 2-3/8-12 repetitions, and you need 4 minutes for it.

 

Modified Push-Ups

Steps

  1. Stand up straight in front of the chair.
  2. Place your hands on the bottom of the chair. Move both feet backward a few steps, maintaining both arms a little bent at the elbows until the torso is in a diagonal posture in front of the chair. Check that the buttocks are not raised in the air and that the back is not arched. From shoulder to heel, the body must be kept straight. If a senior feels resistance in their core, they are at the right place. Your elbows should be close to your body’s sides.
  3. Bend the elbows gradually, bringing the body closer to the chair.
  4. Push back to the beginning position after the chin has just about touched the chair.
  5. For further support, position the chair against a wall. If the chair is not against a wall, ensure it does not slip while performing this exercise. When clutching the chair, be cautious not to slip your moist palms off the seat.

The difficulty level of this exercise is advanced. You can do 2-3/8-12 repetitions, and you need 5 minutes for it.

 

Chair Exercises for Biceps

Seated Bicep Curls

Steps

  1. Take out a set of weights or a resistance band.
  2. If you’re using a band, move it beneath the seat or sit on it until it’s the same length on both sides of your body.
  3. Sit in the chair with your hips far back. Make sure your back is firmly attached to the chair’s backrest.
  4. Maintain a tight core.
  5. Extend your chest.
  6. Hold both arms by your sides, allowing them to hang with palms facing front and elbows tucked.
  7. Continue by curling both forearms from the body sides to the front of the shoulders.
  8. Maintain tension as you gently drop both forearms back to the beginning position.

The difficulty level of this exercise is easy. You can do 2-3/8-12 repetitions, and you need 4 minutes for it.

 

Chair Exercises for Triceps

Isolated Tricep Extensions

Steps

  1. Pick up a weight.
  2. Sit in the chair with your hips far back. Make sure your back is firmly attached to the chair’s backrest.
  3. Maintain a tight core.
  4. Extend your chest.
  5. Maintain a “V” position with both elbows raised in front of the torso, and one hand dropped behind the head. Brace the arm right below the elbow with the opposite hand. Maintain the assisting hand in this posture. The palm of the weight hand should be towards the head.
  6. Raise one arm above the head with a weight until it is completely stretched.
  7. Lower the forearm slowly back to the initial position.
  8. Repeat for the other arm.

The difficulty level of this exercise is medium. You can do 2-3/8-12 repetitions, and you need 7 minutes for it.

 

Chair Exercises for Core

Seated Knee-to-Chest

Steps

  1. Sit near the chair’s edge without worrying that you’re going to fall over.
  2. Keep a straight back and a firm core.
  3. Extend your chest.
  4. To maintain stability, put both hands on the sides of the chair and grab the seat.
  5. Place your feet in front of the body, toes pointing to the ceiling. Your feet should be perpendicular to the hips.
  6. Raise both legs slowly closer to the torso while bending the knees. Bring both knees to the chest.
  7. Perform this motion slowly in the opposite way back to the beginning position. This is one “rep.”
  8. You may also isolate this action by moving one leg at a time. Before lifting, ensure the opposite leg is securely placed on the ground.

The difficulty level of this exercise is easy. You can do 2-3/8-12 repetitions, and you need 4 minutes for it.

 

Extended Leg Raises

Steps

  1. Sit near the chair’s edge without worrying that you’re going to fall.
  2. Keep your back straight and a tight core.
  3. Extend your chest.
  4. To maintain stability, put both hands on the sides of the chair and grab the seat.
  5. Place both feet in front of the body, toes pointing to the ceiling. Both of your feet should be parallel to your hips.
  6. Without shifting the body’s center, raise one leg to the maximum height possible. The opposite leg will remain in the beginning position.
  7. Bring the leg lower slowly back to the starting position, then continue with the opposite leg.
  8. Kicking both legs counts as one “rep.”
  9. This workout can also be performed with one leg at a time. Before elevating the leg, ensure the opposite leg is securely placed on the ground.

The difficulty level of this exercise is medium. You can do 2-3/8-12 repetitions, and you need 4 minutes for it.

 

Leg Kicks

This workout is quite similar to extended leg lifts in terms of movement.

Steps

  1. Sit near the chair’s edge without worrying that you’re going to fall.
  2. Keep a straight back and a tight core.
  3. To maintain stability, place both hands on the sides of the chair and grab the seat.
  4. Put both feet out in front of you and point your toes forward. Both feet ought to be perpendicular to the hips. To stabilize, carefully bend the upper body backward while moving both feet forward.
  5. Lift one leg to the highest position possible (ideally parallel to the hips) while keeping the body’s center still.
  6. Slowly lower the leg back to its starting position before moving to the other leg. Imagine the person swimming and kicking their legs in the water to visualize this action.
  7. One “rep” equals one kick for each leg.
  8. To make this exercise harder, try not to touch your feet on the ground until the workout is completed. This exercise can also be performed with only one leg. Before lifting, ensure the opposite leg is securely placed on the ground.

The difficulty level of this exercise is advanced. You can do 2-3/8-12 repetitions, and you need 5 minutes for it.

 

Modified Planks

The plank exercise is well-known as one of the most common core workouts for people. The movement promotes core tension, causing the person to remain steady. Training with this action will benefit you in several ways, one of which is the ability to maintain proper posture when seated.

Steps

  1. Stand up straight in front of the chair.
  2. Put your hands on the seat of the chair.
  3. Shift both feet backward a few steps, maintaining both arms a little bent at the elbows until the torso is in a diagonal posture in front of the chair. Check that the buttocks are not raised in the air and that the back is not arched. From shoulder to heel, the body must be in a straight line. If a senior feels resistance in their core, they are at the right place.
  4. Maintain this posture for 30 seconds, then get up or sit down to take a short rest.
  5. Repeat 2-3 times more.
  6. For further support, position the chair against a wall.

The difficulty level of this exercise is advanced. You can do 2-3/30 repetitions, and you need 4 minutes.

 

Chair Exercises for Legs

Sit-to-Stands (Chair Squat)

The seniors’ body weight should be used to begin this activity. If they believe the exercise is too simple, they can increase weight by holding a medicine ball or similar object of equivalent weight.

Steps

  1. Place your feet on the edge of the seat and sit.
  2. Maintain a tight core.
  3. Extend your chest.
  4. Maintain a comfortable position in front of the body with both hands in front of you, a comfortable stance for stability.
  5. Sit up gradually from the chair until you are entirely standing. When transitioning from sitting to standing, be sure your knees aren’t bowing inward; alternatively, they should extend outward from your body’s center. This exercise entails thrusting the body to a standing posture with the hips rather than the knees.
  6. Return to the beginning posture while checking for proper knee placement.
  7. When going to a standing posture, squeeze the glutes (buttocks) together; this will activate the glutes more and tone the muscles.

The difficulty level of this exercise is easy. You can do 2-3/8-12 repetitions, and you need 5 minutes for it.

 

Modified Squats

Squatting is recognized as one of the most effective workouts a person can undertake, regardless of age. Nevertheless, not everyone can do a standard squat; occasionally, help is required.

Steps

  1. Place the chair in front of your body, towards the back. Take one step back from your chair.
  2. Directly align the body with the center of the chair. Put both hands in front of your body.
  3. Place both feet hip-width apart and straight under the torso.
  4. Toes should be pointed forward or somewhat away from the body’s core.
  5. Bend both knees and release the hips, bringing the buttocks toward the floor while maintaining the knees behind the toes. Keep an eye on both knees and drive them away from your body, so they don’t collapse inward into the center of your body.
  6. Bring the body to a standing posture after coming to a complete halt in the squat position.
  7. Put the front end of the chair against a wall for support if it is moving or unsteady. In addition, if the back of the chair is high, you may lay your hands immediately on top for balance.

The difficulty level of this exercise is medium. You can do 2-3/8-12 repetitions, and you need 5 minutes for it.

 

Knee Extensions

Steps

  1. Sit in the chair with your hips far back. Make sure your back is firmly attached to the chair’s backrest.
  2. Maintain a tight core.
  3. Extend your chest.
  4. To maintain stability, put both hands on the sides of the chair and grab the seat.
  5. Maintain a 90-degree angle with the chair on both legs.
  6. Stretch one leg in front of the body in the air until it reaches full length. For balance, keep the opposite leg in its original posture.
  7. Gradually return one leg to its starting position.
  8. To qualify as one set, continue for both legs.

The difficulty level of this exercise is easy. You can do 2-3/8-12 repetitions, and you need 6 minutes for it.

 

Heel Slides

If a senior suffers from severe knee discomfort, this may not be an appropriate workout owing to the strain placed on the joints. If a senior has knee pain, they should apply slight pressure to avoid agitating the joint. You can protect the floor by laying a blanket or towel in front of the chair.

Steps

  1. Place your feet on the edge of the seat and sit.
  2. Maintain a tight core.
  3. Extend your chest.
  4. To maintain stability, place both hands on the sides of the chair and grab the seat.
  5. Stretch one leg in front of you and point your toes forward. The foot of the outstretched leg should be diagonal to the hips. Put the foot on top of a blanket or other material if using one. The second leg should be bent naturally, near the torso, and placed on the floor.
  6. Maintain a flat foot with the extended leg, press against the floor, and draw the foot gently facing the body until it approaches the flexed position of the opposite leg.
  7. Stretch the leg back to the beginning position while maintaining pressure.
  8. A single repetition is when you complete the whole pulling and push your foot back to the beginning position.

The difficulty level of this exercise is easy. You can do 2-3/20-30 repetitions, and you need 6 minutes for it.

 

Seated Calf Raises

If a senior’s calves are stiff and squatting is difficult, calf raises may assist stretch those muscle stiffness or joints around the bottom half of the leg.

Steps

  1. Sit in the chair with your hips far back. Make sure your back is firmly attached to the chair’s backrest.
  2. Maintain a tight core.
  3. Extend your chest.
  4. To maintain stability, place both hands on the sides of the chair and grab the seat.
  5. Maintain a 90-degree angle with the chair on both legs. Both feet must be flat on the ground.
  6. Slowly raise your heels, bringing your toes to the ground and elevating your heels in the air.
  7. Return both feet to the initial position.
  8. Rep to this action 20 times or more to get a “burning” sensation in your calves.
  9. If this action feels too easy with simply your bodyweight, add a medicine ball or another weight of equivalent weight to the edge of your lap. Alternatively, for a full range of motion, place a shallow item beneath both feet (approximately 3-4 inches off the ground).

The difficulty level of this exercise is easy. You can do 2-3/20-30 repetitions, and you need 6 minutes for it.

 

Chair Stretching Exercises

Neck Turns

A stiff neck is excruciatingly painful. If a senior has trouble sleeping because of neck pain or is unable to swivel their head comfortably, stretching may help.

Steps

  1. Sit in the chair with your hips far back. Make sure your back is firmly attached to the chair’s backrest.
  2. Maintain core stability by maintaining the back erect and the spine straight.
  3. Maintain a flat foot on the floor.
  4. Maintaining this posture, swivel the head to the left or right until you feel a slight stretch. Maintain this posture for 20-30 seconds.
  5. Rotate in the other way once the timer expires.
  6. Repeat in both directions 3-5 times or as desired.

The difficulty level of this exercise is easy. You can do 2-3/20-30 repetitions, and you need 5 minutes for it.

 

Seated Backbend

This stretch relieves discomfort and tension in seniors’ lower back, neck, and chest.

Steps

  1. Sit on the chair’s edge. Maintain core stability by maintaining the back erect and the spine straight. Maintain a flat foot on the floor. Maintain this secure stance for the hips and lower body.
  2. Put both hands on your hips.
  3. Slowly arch your back inward, pull your tummy outward, and lean backward, utilizing only your upper body.
  4. Stretch the back in this position until you reach a comfortable stretch.
  5. Hold this position for 10-20 seconds before releasing and returning to the beginning position.
  6. Repeat the sequence 3-5 times more if necessary.

The difficulty level of this exercise is easy. You can do 3-5/10-20 repetitions, and you need 4 minutes for it.

 

Seated Overhead Stretch

Steps

  1. Sit on the chair’s edge. Maintain core stability by maintaining the back erect and the spine straight. Maintain a flat foot on the floor. Maintain this secure stance for the hips and lower body.
  2. Put both hands on your hips.
  3. Elevate your hands from the hips level over the head slowly, joining them at the top.
  4. Slowly arch the back inward, pulling the stomach out, causing the belly to expand.
  5. Stay in this position for 10-20 seconds before returning to the beginning position.
  6. Repeat 3-5 times or as desired.

The difficulty level of this exercise is easy. You can do 3-5/10-20 repetitions, and you need 4 minutes for it.

 

Seated Side Stretch

Steps

  1. Sit on the chair’s edge. Maintain core stability by maintaining the back erect and the spine straight. Maintain a flat foot on the floor. Maintain this secure stance for the hips and lower body.
  2. To stabilize, hold the right side of the seat with your right hand.
  3. Stretch the left hand over the head in the form of a spoon or a stretched “C.”
  4. At the same time, move the upper torso to the right side slowly without compressing the abdomen.
  5. Stay in this position for 10-20 seconds before switching sides.
  6. Repeat 3-5 times on each side or as desired.

The difficulty level of this exercise is medium. You can do 3-5/10-20 repetitions, and you need 8 minutes for it.

 

Seated Hip Stretch

The hips play a significant role in our daily activities. If an elder is slouching, having difficulty moving their legs at the hips, waddling as they walk, or has a pattern of pain in the approximate area of their hip, this stretch may be beneficial.

Steps

  1. Sit back in your chair and relax. Maintain core stability by maintaining the back erect and the spine straight. Maintain a flat foot on the floor.
  2. Cross one leg over the other to form a triangle between the legs. Make sure the ankle of the crossed leg is past the opposite leg.
  3. Bend the upper body forward gradually, maintaining the spine straight and the core firm. Stop when you feel resistance in your glutes or hips.
  4. Repeat 3-5 times each leg or as desired.

The difficulty level of this exercise is easy. You can do 3-5/10-20 repetitions, and you need 8 minutes for it.

 

Tips for Seniors with Limited Mobility

If mobility limitations prevent you from performing sitting or standing exercises, you can adapt the routines and benefit from them. Wickham suggests practicing the movement with a limited range of motion.

For instance, if you have discomfort, restricted shoulder mobility, or both when performing the dumbbell overhead press, don’t elevate your arms overhead. Instead, only go three-quarters or halfway up or as high as you are comfortable.

“It’s natural to have movement constraints, especially as you become older owing to years of bad posture and sitting,” Wickham adds. So pay attention to your body and begin a flexibility and mobility regimen in addition to your workouts.

 

Conclusion

Physical fitness is crucial for us, and our demands may alter as we age. Taking part in an exercise program that allows for limited mobility will help you stay active while improving your strength and mobility.

Your best choice for home health physical therapy is the Health and Care Professional Network. We offer the most effective physical treatment in your house to any family member who needs it. Our therapists will deliver all of the available services during a visiting session. Furthermore, they will explain the healing process and what to expect during the therapy stages. The training sessions will significantly improve patients’ mobility. The therapist also observes and adjusts movements while walking or standing.

 

FAQs

Can chair exercise help you lose weight?

Chair exercises can help you reduce weight, especially if you want to keep healthy after age 50.

What is the effectiveness of chair exercises?

People can mostly burn 120 to 250 calories in a 32-minute workout, and using weights or resistance bands increases the calorie burn even further.

What exactly is a chair-based exercise?

Chair-based exercise (CBE) is proposed as an approachable exercise for elderly adults with poor health and mobility.

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