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Elderly Care

Best Chair Exercises for Senior Citizens

Physical strength, vitality, stamina, and of course, flexibility are the traits that are equally valuable for both young and seniors. If you want to fight the aging process, then you need to make your body strong enough to tackle the challenges of old age. For a healthy and happy life, you need to strengthen your body and mind. And the best way to achieve a healthy and strong body even in your old age is exercising regularly. 

NOTE:  Always consult with a physician before starting any exercise program.

With the increasing age, you reduce mobility, and this is natural. But with exercise, you can keep up your body’s vitality for many years. However, senior citizens cannot perform workouts like youngsters because of several health issues; but still, they can exercise while sitting on a chair. Yes, if you do not feel like getting up because of having some balance issues, then relax, take a comfortable chair, sit on it, and you are all set to start your exercises without any assistance. 

Now let’s have a look at some straightforward, simple, yet effective chair exercises that are best for seniors:

1. Toe Taps

This is a very simple yet important muscle-strengthening exercise that works on your legs’ lower front and rear muscles. Doing this exercise on a regular basis will help you safely and comfortably perform your normal activities like going upstairs and downstairs, climbing up a hill, going across any uneven surface, walking easily, stepping up the objects, etc.

How to do?

Just sit upright and with your back straight. Make sure your abs are also engaged. Keep your feet flat on even ground. Your heels should also be on the ground. Start tilting your toes in the upward direction and then bring them down back to the ground, make sure to do it slowly. Do  it as many times as you are comfortable. 

If you want to make this exercise a bit more challenging, then try sitting near to the chair’s edge. Try to extend your legs right in front of you. Extend as far as possible, while making sure not to lift your heels. Now start tilting your toes upward and downward. 

2. The Limited Motion Squeeze 

This exercise engages you in a workout with a relatively less range of motion. The best part of this workout is that it helps in strengthening inner thighs, triceps, and glutes muscles. 

How to do?

Grab a chair and sit on its edge. Try to sit as close to the edge as possible, safe, and comfortable for you. Make sure that you keep your abdomen muscles retracted so that they can support your spine. Put your palms on either side. Make sure they touch the sides of your hips. Try to keep your elbows a little bit bent. Now start squeezing your knees and glutes at the same time. Try to squeeze them tightly. While you are doing this, start pushing the chair with your palms in the downward direction. This movement will help in extending your elbows at the same time. The movement will be little and minor but will make you sit taller than you usually sit. Make sure that you do not lift your body from the chair anyway. 

You can make this workout more challenging as well. Just try to hold that position for at least 10 seconds when your muscles are squeezed. Make sure that you do not push your body to take this challenge, as it can harm several body muscles if your body is not ready for it. 

3. Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks is by far the best exercise that strengthens heart muscles. This is known to be one of the most challenging ones too. This cardio activity is not safe and doable for many seniors. However, there is an alternative as well, which is called seated jumping jacks, and it is completely safe for seniors. 

How to do? 

Sit straight on a comfortable chair; great if you can try to sit near to its edge. Retract your abdominal muscles to give support to your backbone. Now join your knees together and keep them a little bent. Make it sure that your feet are flat on the ground. Keep your arms at both sides of the chair while keeping the elbows slightly bent. Position your palms in the forward position pretending to catch a big sized ball. Now just quickly take both your legs sideways, flex your feet and point the toes in the upward direction. Do not lift your heels from the ground. Right at that time, take your hands straight up and over your head. Now repeat these movements again and again. 

If you want to make this exercise tough and more challenging, then pace up the movements of this exercise. But make sure that you gradually increase the speed, as it can put stress on your muscles. Initially, it is better to go slow and then gradually increase the pace. Have short breaks while you complete your sets. 

4. Do With A Twist

This is a fun-filled exercise that you will definitely enjoy doing. It helps in strengthening your core, arms, shoulders, and thigh muscles. 

How to do? 

Sit on a chair with your back straight and abdominal muscles retracted to provide support to your spine. Try sitting near the edge of the chair while also making sure that you are in a safe and comfortable position. Keep your feet flat on the ground, but this time, heels lifted. Make sure that only toes are touching the floor. Keep both your arms hanging in a downward direction on both sides. 

Now slowly raise your arms and stop right when they are exactly parallel to the ground. Then start taking your left leg on the left side and keep the toes fully pointed. When you are doing this, you have to lean a bit in the forward direction, give a little twist to your waist, and start bringing your left arm towards the inside of the right foot. 

Now repeat the same with the opposite sides. In case you have some issues with the motion of this exercise, then be patient and go slow. Do not force your body as it can harm different muscles. 

5. Seated Sit-ups

This exercise is extremely helpful for strengthening the muscles of your back and abdomen, and it keeps the lower body involved throughout as well. 

How to do? 

Sit upright and right in the center of a comfortable chair. Keep the knees together and bent, while keeping the feet absolutely flat on the surface. Lift your heels a bit and try to tilt your toes a little bit so that they can face the ceiling, but do not lift the toes up the ground. Keep the abdominal muscles retracted. Now start leaning back slowly till the blades of your muscles start touching the chair’s backrest. Start bending your body in the forward direction and keep giving it a little twist so that the right elbow could pass across the left knee. Repeat the same process with the opposite side. You can do three sets of 6-8 reps each. 

Still not clear on the instructions? Check out this YouTube video.

6. Seated Running 

Running is one of the best exercises that can engage our entire body, but since all the seniors cannot run on the ground, they can run while sitting. It is similar to a cardio workout that can strengthen the heart, arms, legs, and abdomen muscles. 

How to do?

Sit on a chair with your back straight, and the abdomen muscles retracted. Lean back so that both your shoulder blades could touch the backrest of the chair. Start extending your legs in the forward direction while keeping them right in front of your upper body. Keep the heels in contact with the floor and toes pointing upward. To keep yourself stable during the workout, it is important that you hold the sides of your chair with both hands. Lift your knees a little bit up from the ground. Now bend your left knee so that it can come as close to your chest as possible and your right shoulder should be turning inward towards the direction of your left knee. Start again and keep repeating as many times as you are comfortable with it.  

Final Words

Being a senior citizen does not make you less important. You are an equally precious and worthy part of society. If your mobility issues are not letting you go out and exercise the way you used to do when you were young, then it does not mean that you cannot exercise anyway. 

All the above-mentioned seated exercises for senior citizens are very easy, safe, and effective. Check them out and let us know your favorite one. 

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