Senior Friendly Exercises

The New Year brings opportunity for change and improvement, so in honor of the season here are some exercises specifically for seniors that can be completed from a sitting position. These exercises help build strength in a variety of muscle groups and do not require any special equipment.

Arm Circles

Arm circles are easy to do and help strengthen upper arm and shoulder muscles. Stretch your arms out so that they’re parallel to the floor. Move your arms slowly in small circles in a clockwise direction for a count of 20. Reverse to a counterclockwise direction for another 20 circles. As your stamina increases, increase the number of circles to 30, 40, 50, or as high as you can go.

Book or Weight Lifts

Don’t rush out to buy expensive arm weights if you have a heavy book, such as a dictionary around. Hold a book in your hand. Place your elbow on the arm of your recliner or other chair. Lower your hand and wrist so that your arm is fully extended. Bring your forearm up while holding the book. Do these lifts in counts of 20 and add more as your muscle strength increases. These arm lifts strengthen your upper arm muscles and help with wrist strength.

Chair Push-Ups

Chair push ups help with arm and shoulder strength. Place your hand firmly on the arm of your chair. Using your arm strength, push yourself up so that your lower body lifts off the seat of the chair. Hold for a count of three and slowly let yourself drop back into the seat. You’ll likely only be able to do a couple of these to start, but gradually work your way to doing sets of 10 or 20.

Forced Muscle Contractions

Forced muscle contractions are easy to do, but they do require some concentration. Focus on one part of your body – an arm, a leg, your glutes, Tighten the muscles in that area until their as contracted as you can get them. Count to 10 and release. This helps get tone those muscle groups and helps with stress release as you learn to tell when parts of your body is tensed up.

Jumping Jacks

Half jumping jacks are usually a favorite exercise of seniors with limited mobility. Sit in your chair and place your feet on the floor. Stretch your legs straight out and cross them in the air. While you’re lifting and crossing your legs, stretch your arms to the ceiling and cross them too. Lower your legs and arms, and repeat 20 times. Chair jumping jacks exercise arm, shoulder, and leg muscles at the same time.

Knee Lifts

Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor. Lift your leg up so that your knee is as high in the air as you can get it. Hold for a count of 10. Lower that leg and repeat the process with the other leg. Repeat this exercise until you’ve done 20 knee lifts per leg. This exercise helps tone glutes and upper leg muscles.

Leg Squeezes

Sit in a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Spread your legs as far open as possible and place your hands on your inner thigh. Using your arm strength, push on your thighs while trying to bring your knees together. Not only does this work out your upper leg muscles, but the force of your legs trying to close will work out your arm muscles too.

Neck Rotations

Tilt your head to one side and slowly move your neck in circles. Drop your head forward as far as you can while coming around the front so that you feel muscles in the back of your neck stretch. When your neck rotation reaches the back of your head, tip your head back so that your front neck muscles receive a workout. Repeat these neck rolls for a count of 10 in one direction and then switch and rotate your head in the opposite direction.

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