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Four Easy and Impactful Chair Exercises for Seniors

Exercise is an important aspect of everyday health and can help you live a longer, healthier life.

Strength and flexibility are two components of health that are important for all seniors and can increase a senior’s level of independence.

Having the ability to move through a normal range of motion makes daily activities easier and more enjoyable for seniors. Strong, flexible muscles support balance and stability, reducing the risk of falling and injury. And, seniors who continue to be active and more independent have less risk of feeling isolated or lonely.

Read Why Social Isolation Negatively Impacts Seniors’ Health.

There may be situations where standing exercises are not possible for seniors, making seated workouts essential.

Here are four easy, but impactful seated exercises to try at home*

*Please consult with your doctor to make sure these are the right exercises for you.

Chair Exercise Warm Up

Warm-ups help to loosen and warm the muscles which prepares them for movement and reduces the risk of injury. Consider trying the following warm-ups.

Neck Stretch

Neck stretches warm up your neck and the muscle group at the top of your back. They also prepare your body for arm exercises.

To begin, make sure you are sitting up straight in your chair, and slowly tilt your head toward your right shoulder. As you feel the stretch, hold the position and gradually extend your left arm down, to the side. You will feel a stretch on the left side of your neck. Release and repeat on your right side. Perform three to six repetitions per side, or as you feel comfortable. 

See video here.

Shoulder Circles

Shoulder circles warm up your shoulder muscles as well as reduce the risk of strain.

While seated in your chair, place your fingertips on each of your shoulders. Circle your shoulders in a forward movement for ten to fifteen repetitions. After, reverse, and circle backwards for ten to fifteen repetitions. 

See video here.

2. Arm Exercises

Stronger muscles can provide greater balance and stability, which reduces the risk of falling. Being stronger also makes daily life easier. When you can get around with ease, life becomes more enjoyable. Lifting bags and other items that used to weigh you down might serve as a reminder of your improved fitness and health.

Bicep Curls

This exercise focuses on strengthening your biceps (front of upper arm), forearms, and deltoids (shoulders).

Start by sitting up tall in your chair, place one lightweight, dumbbell up straight beside you. From this position, curl your arm, from the elbow, all the way up to the top and then slowly lower it back down. Repeat for 3 sets of 10 repetitions and alternate arms this exercise can also be done with both arms at the same time. Ensure you fully straighten your arm on the way down and fully bend it on the way up.

See video here.

Seated Row

This exercise focuses on strengthening your shoulders, chest, and upper back while placing little stress on your joints.

Begin by sitting on the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Hold your arms in front of you, with your thumbs pointed toward the ceiling and your elbows slightly bent. Draw your elbows back, squeezing your shoulder blades together, until your upper arms are in line with your body. Extend your arms again, and repeat eight to ten times. Once you build up more strength, try wearing wrist weights to make it more challenging.

See video here.

3. Leg Exercises

Leg exercises are especially important because your legs are the balance and support system for the rest of the body. Having strong leg muscles is crucial when standing up from a seated position and using stairs. Having good balance in your legs lowers the risk of falls.

Toe Taps

Top taps focusing on strengthening your calves and shin muscles.

Start by sitting up straight with your feet flat on the ground. Bend your toes toward the ceiling and back to the floor. Perform 8-10 repetitions.

See video here.

Knee Lifts 

Knee lifts help strengthen the hamstring muscles. These exercises are easy to do and help improve balance, lower body strength, and can improve gait.

Begin by sitting up straight with your feet flat. Slowly lift your right knee toward your chest, and then lower your foot back to the floor. Repeat with your left leg. Perform 10 repetitions per leg, for a total of 20 reps.

See video here.

4. Flexibility Exercises

Having a full range of motion, makes everything feel better, like reaching down to tie your shoe, or stretching for the top shelf. Flexibility reduces stiffness and pain, allowing you to perform your daily activities.

Flexibility exercises are beneficial at the end of your workout to stretch your warmed muscles.

Sit and Reach

This exercise can prevent injury - acute or chronic musculoskeletal injuries and lower back problems, risk of falling, gait limitations and postural deviations.

Start by sitting with your knees together and your back straight. Extend one arm straight toward the ceiling. Stretch your body upward, feeling the stretch along your torso. Look toward your hand to get a stretch in your neck and shoulders. Hold the position for five to ten seconds, and then switch to the other side. Repeat three times per side.

Knee to Chest

The knee to chest stretch is used to stretch your hip and low back (lumbar spine) muscles. It also helps relieve pressure on spinal nerves by creating more space for those nerves as they exit the spine. 

Begin by sitting up straight with your left foot firmly on the ground. Grasp the back of your right knee, and slowly pull it toward your chest until you feel a stretch. Hold the position for thirty seconds, and then repeat with your left leg. Perform three reps per side.

Living Well Is Being Well™

At American House, our mission, Living Well Is Being Well™, promotes whole-person health and wellness of the mind, body and spirit. Our brain health, wellness and enhanced mindfulness programs help you discover and grow personal choices that improve and support your lifestyle.

In conjunction with our Living Well Is Being Well mission, our maintenance-free lifestyle is designed around our belief that if you live well, you will be well. It presents you with extra time to concentrate on your health and wellness goals, explore new interests and continue your story in the company of friends and povidones’ believe the engagement of the mind, body and spirit will provide you with a lifestyle that is interesting, fulfilling and rewarding.

It will give you the opportunity to focus on your overall well-being—in a place where your happiness and wellness matters...American House Senior Living Communities.

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