21 Chair Exercises For Seniors: A Comprehensive Visual Guide

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January 31, 2020
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21 Chair Exercises For Seniors: A Comprehensive Visual Guide

This is the first in a series of 12 articles provided by  “California Mobility – a family-owned and operated company specializing in installing stairlifts for the elderly. The company was founded in 2018 in Sacramento, CA.” Each week we will provide two to four of the exercises for your use.


21 Chair Exercises For Seniors: A Comprehensive Visual Guide


No matter what age we are, exercising is super important, especially for those of us who may be over the age of 65. Whether we enjoy it or not, exercising on a regular basis continues to keep our body moving and functioning properly as we age. Without getting up and entertaining our muscles with movement, we reduce our chances to age healthfully.
As a senior, your loved one might love or hate exercising, but they’ve continued to be told, “exercising is healthy for you!” What if, now, they’re experiencing a mobility block? In younger years, they might have been able to run 10 miles a day or compete in a triathlon, now it’s just getting harder to even stand.

Pro Tip: Tony Mikla, Physical Therapist
“The most interesting trait of the human body is that it is always changing, literally, it cannot stay the same. With this in mind, it is constantly adapting to what you put it through. If you exercise, muscles adapt by getting stronger. Research through NASM shows exercising 2-4 times per week for 30 minutes is very beneficial for seniors.” – KIME Performance

If an older adult is having trouble with moving around on their own and finding it difficult to get even a little bit of exercise in the day, they shouldn’t worry too much because there are still ways to exercise without even having to move from a chair!
Chair exercises are a great substitute for aging adults. There doesn’t need to be a weight set, a trainer, and seniors don’t even have to have a caregiver with them at all times. The only thing a senior needs is a chair; though, some of the following exercises may require a resistance band or dumbbells to perform accurately with results.

Benefits of Performing Chair Exercises

Exercising on a regular basis (preferably at least 30 minutes per day) will not only keep an aging adult’s heart healthy, but can also prevent strokes, heart attacks, falling, high blood pressure, and chronic diseases such as dementia.

Pro Tip: Angela Gentile, Social Worker
“If your loved one has dementia, it will be difficult for him or her to remember what was agreed upon. It’s best to have someone do the exercise (such as walking or chair exercises) with your loved one. That way you can ensure the exercises are being done. Scheduling a routine is best, as that way the person with dementia and the helper can look forward to it and develop a habit.” – Care to Age

Not everyone over the age of 65 is able to move agilely or even out of their seat, but this shouldn’t mean that they can’t exercise. So many regular exercises can be done while using a chair as a mobility device.
All of the above benefits can still be reached when a senior uses even a regular chair. They don’t have to go out and get something brand new just so they can start moving around, a completely ordinary chair will do. This chair should be stable with four legs, no wheels or rollers, and for most exercises, without arms.
We’ve got a great list of exercises that seniors can do in the comfort of their own home with equipment that they can use by themselves. We’ll explain exactly how to do each exercise and provide examples for a step-by-step process.

Consult a Doctor

Before getting started on any of these exercises, a loved one should make sure that they consult their doctor if they:
1. Recently went through surgery
2. Have any recent injuries that could be agitated by over-using a particular muscle or set of muscles
3. Can’t physically perform the perfect posture during any exercise (even the slightest difference to the correct form of each exercise could result in pain or further injury)
The list we’re providing is not one-size-fits-all if an elderly loved one has injuries that could impede them from performing any exercise efficiently. It shouldn’t be assumed that a loved one can enact a particular exercise if they are instantly or progressively feeling pain. If this occurs, they must return to a comfortable position and stop the exercise entirely.
If you’re a caretaker of a senior and you don’t know if you’re legally permitted to enact any of the following exercises with your loved one, keep safety in mind.

Pro Tip: Tiffiny Thomas, Caretaker
“I like to make sure and go over any restrictions that a person may have or doctor’s orders that someone may have to limit them. Safety is always my number one concern. Next is making sure you don’t hurt yourself helping.”

21 Chair Exercises for Seniors: A Comprehensive Visual Guide