Chair Exercises for Seniors are a crucial part of keeping one’s physical health at its peak. Whether you are still in your 50s or you’ve already reached your senior years, exercise should be a part of your routine. However, it can be hard for seniors with chronic illnesses or injuries to engage in any physical activity. In fact, it’s one reason why seniors stop exercising as they get older.
Fortunately, chair exercises are a great exercise alternative for seniors who have limited mobility problems. And in this article, I will share some important information regarding chair exercises, the best chair exercises, and useful tips for you.
Importance of Chair Exercises for Seniors
Chair exercises provide a ton of benefits not just for your physical health, but also for your mental health. To name a few importances of chair exercises, it helps in:
We tend to be less physically active as we age especially people who have chronic illnesses and who live in areas with limited spaces for exercise. This leads to a sedentary lifestyle, which will over time cause stiffness of muscles and tissues. This stiffness will, later on, lead to poor posture.
Chair exercises help you keep up with your physical health, which means you’ll be able to maintain good posture even if you have limited space or mobility issues.
Improving Muscle, Bone, And Joint Strength
Muscle and bone density lessens with age. Fortunately, various chair exercises focus on strengthening muscles, bones, as well as tissues in our upper and lower bodies.
Chair stretching exercises are the best options for enhancing your flexibility despite old age. Making chair stretching exercises as part of your exercise will also reduce your risk of muscle and tissue stiffness caused by a sedentary lifestyle.
Chair exercises not only improve physical health aspects but also enhance one’s mind and eye coordination. One of the best chair exercises that enhances coordination is seated rotation. A repeated chair exercise routine helps build muscle memory and eye coordination.
Just like other exercises, chair exercises that focus on the upper and lower body are also proven to help in strengthening bones and muscles, hence preventing falls.
Who Needs Exercises
Just like other types of exercises, chair exercises are for anyone who wants to stay fit and healthy. Specifically, chair exercises are best suited for:
- Seniors who have severe arthritis
- Seniors who have mobility problems
- Seniors who have weak legs
- Seniors who have injuries in the feet or legs
Best Chair Exercises
To give you ideas on the best chair exercises, let’s take a look at the following:
Arm Sitting Exercises
- Seated Shoulder Press: This is a great exercise to work on your biceps and arm strength. To do this, start by sitting on a chair and holding dumbbells in both hands. Raise your hands above your head and do this repeatedly for about 30 seconds or longer.
- Seated Chest Press: To do this, first, stretch your arms outwards in front of you. Next, pull your arms back making a 90-degree angle. Repeat this process for about 30 seconds. It’s better to do seated chest presses while holding dumbbells or resistance bands on both hands.
- Bicep Curls: Bicep curl is another great and easy exercise to build bicep muscles. Start by sitting on a chair. Make sure to keep your back and abs firm. Also, keep both arms on your side, palms facing upward. Grab a dumbbell on both hands and start pushing both arms upward until it reaches your chest. Repeat this for about 30 seconds.
Leg Sitting Exercises
- Seated Calf Raises: This is a good warm-up or cool-down exercise. Start by sitting on a chair keeping both feet on the ground. Next, lift your heels off the ground and then bring them back down.
- Seating To Standing/Chair Squats: As the name states it. This is done by sitting on a chair and then standing upright. In doing seating to standing, keep your arms in front of you to support balance and strength in standing up. This exercise is good for enhancing muscle mass as well as heart health.
- Knee Extensions: While sitting in a chair, grab onto the sides of the chair for support. After that, extend one leg by lifting it until forming a straight line. Put the leg back down and extend the other leg. Repeat the process for about 30 seconds. This exercise is best for improving the strength of your legs.
Core Sitting Exercises
- Tummy Twists: In this exercise, what you need is a medicine ball or any alternative object. Hold this with both hands in front of you. The next thing to do is to twist your body from side to side while holding the medicine ball. This is a great exercise for improving bone flexibility in the spine.
- Extended Leg Raises: To do this, start by sitting down and resting your back on the chair. Extend your legs but make sure your heels are touching the ground. Grip the sides of the chair for support and then lift one leg. After that lower your leg and lift the other one. Repeat the process for 30 seconds or more.
- Leg Kicks: This is slightly similar to extended leg raises. The only difference between the two is that leg kicks are more challenging than extended leg raises. This is because, in leg kicks, your feet should not touch the ground while lifting your legs alternately. This is a more effective way of strengthening your core.
Stretching Exercises in Sitting Position
- Neck Turns: This is an easy stretching exercise that helps prevent neck stiffness. All you have to do is slowly rotate your head to the left and right for about 20 - 30 seconds.
- Seated Overhead Stretch: Seniors are more prone to discomfort in the back, chest, and neck. To solve this problem first is to put your hands on your hips. Next is to stretch your back inward like pushing your stomach forward. Not only does this pose stretch muscles all over your upper body, but it also improves posture.
- Seated Side Stretch: This is another common and effective stretching exercise. To do this first is to sit on a chair. With your right hand, grip the side of the chair for support. Next is to slowly lift and stretch your left arm making a letter C shape using your arm. Hold this position for 10 to 20 seconds before doing it to your left side.
Tips to Get The Most Out of Sitting Exercises
Including chair exercises in your routine will help you get the best physical health in old age. To help you get the most out of seated exercises, here are some tips you should keep in mind:
- Make It A Habit: Make sure to stick with your chair exercise routine daily. Preferably, allot a fixed time every day for your exercise. It’s also a good option to add different exercise varieties to your routine to prevent yourself from getting bored.
- Start Slow: Starting an exercise routine should always begin with light exercises that you are comfortable with then gradually increase intensity week after week.
- Expect Discouragements: There may be times when you get to unintentionally skip a few days of scheduled exercises. That’s one reason why most people tend to stop exercising completely, but that should not be the case.
Skipping a few days or a few weeks is common to all and should not be a reason to quit exercising. What you have to do instead is to start again slowly until you get back on track.
Note: If you feel pain when exercising, stop it immediately and talk to your doctor about your situation. It’s also essential to avoid any physical activity that involves injured parts of your body.
Chair exercises are the best exercise alternative for seniors. There are a lot of exercise varieties that fit depending on your strength, mobility, and condition.
If you have arthritis, osteoporosis, or injuries in the legs, you don't have to worry because you can still do chair exercises that focus on the core and arms. On the other hand, seniors suffering from injuries to their upper body can do chair exercises focusing on the legs instead. I hope this article helped you understand what chair exercises are all about.