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10 Easy Sitting Exercises for Seniors
As we age, our joints become stiff, and our range of motion reduces. It is why many seniors face difficulty while standing for long hours. Many seniors also report issues of leg pain because of stiff joints. If this sounds like you, regularly practicing simple yet impactful sitting exercises can help. According to chiropractors, there are many chair exercises that the elderly can perform sitting on a chair. These exercises are safe for senior citizens and help improve motion and reduce pain.
Seniors in wheelchairs or elderly with balance issues can also easily do sitting chair exercises. With regular practice, older adults can gain the strength to perform standing exercises, taking a step forward in their fitness journey. If you are ready to improve your mobility, strength, and flexibility, let’s quickly explore the best easy sitting exercises for seniors listed below.
1. Raised Arm Extension
One of the easiest chair exercises is the raised arm extension. It targets your lats, shoulders, and biceps. You can do raised arm extensions by following the below-mentioned steps.
- Sit on a static chair and keep your feet hip-width apart. Your shoulders should be rolled back, and a cushion can be placed on the back of the chair for instant and extra support (if needed).
- Once ready, extend your right arm towards the ceiling, pointing your index finger. You should look up while doing this step.
- Now gently bring back the right arm to the original position.
- Repeat the same steps with your left arm.
You can follow these steps 20 times for each arm. It would be best to perform it twice a day.
2. Seated Bicep Curls with Weights
Another simple sitting exercise is seated bicep curls with weights that target your biceps and strengthens them. You will need a dumbbell for this exercise. A suitable replacement for a dumbbell for seniors can be a small water bottle. Once you are ready with dumbbells or water bottles for each hand and the chair, follow the below-mentioned steps.
- Sit comfortably on the static chair with your back straight and hold the dumbbell or water bottle in each hand.
- The hands should be by your side in the starting position, and you should be looking forward.
- Gently flex both your elbows and slowly bring your forearms up.
- Hold this same position for a moment, then lower your forearms.
You can do this 10 times, twice a day.
3. Seated Lateral Raises
Another great addition to the seniors sitting exercises is the seated lateral raises. This exercise is easy to perform and targets your biceps, lats, chest, and shoulders. You will need lightweight dumbbells or a small water bottle for each hand to do this exercise. Once ready with these items, follow the below-mentioned steps to perform the exercise.
- Sit on a chair and hold the small water bottle or dumbbell in each hand. Make sure your entire back is straight, and your hands are by your side.
- Gently raise the arms laterally till they reach your shoulder level.
- Slowly lower your arms, bringing them back to their original position.
Repeat these steps and perform 10 reps, twice a day.
4. Seated Marching
An excellent way to work on your lower body is seated marching. This exercise targets your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Even if you are a beginner, start doing this exercise by following the below-mentioned steps.
- Sit comfortably on a static chair and keep your back straight. Your feet should be kept flat on the ground, and your shoulders rolled back.
- Gently lift your right foot and move it upward towards the ceiling. Ensure your knees are flexed during this step.
- Lower the right foot and bring it back slowly to the starting position.
Repeat the same above mentioned steps with your left leg to complete one rep. You can do 2 reps of seated marching 10 times, twice a day. If you feel uncomfortable at the beginning, try holding the seat of your chair for support.
5. Seated Leg Extension
This simple exercise is great for moving your lower body. It works on your hamstrings and quads. It is among the easiest seated exercises for older adults that can be done following the below-mentioned steps.
- Sit on a static chair keeping your back straight, feet flat on the floor, and shoulders rolled back. You should look straight while doing this exercise.
- Hold the chair’s seat by the sides to do this exercise comfortably.
- Now slowly raise your right leg in a controlled motion and extend it.
- Bring it back to the original starting posture, and repeat the same with your left leg so you can complete one rep.
You can repeat this exercise 10 times for each leg. 2 sets, twice a day will be enough for beginners.
6. Seated Twists
If you are looking for effective wheelchair exercises for seniors, seated twists are perfect. They work on your obliques and are incredibly easy to perform. Follow the below-mentioned steps to do seated twists.
- Get a static chair and sit on it comfortably. To start, clasp your hands together in the front and keep both feet flat on the ground.
- Start slowly twisting your upper body to the right side and then gently to the left side. Your focus should be fixed on the clasped hands while doing this step.
You can do this 10 times, twice a day. If the exercise makes you feel dizzy, stop and take a few deep breaths before resuming.
7. Seated Side Bends
Seated side bends are an excellent exercise to improve your posture and open the hips. It works great on your abs and obliques. It is one of the highly impactful seated exercises for the elderly that is safe and easy. You can follow the below-mentioned steps to perform seated side bends.
- Once you sit on a chair, spread both hands out to the sides. It should be at shoulder height.
- While looking at the front, bend your body to the right and try to touch the floor. Your feet should be firm on the ground, and your elbows should not flex while doing this step.
- Gently come back up to the starting position.
- Now bend your body to the left side, trying to touch the floor, then come back up.
You can do 2 sets of these including 10 reps, twice a day.
8. Seated Neck Stretch
This easy seated exercise for seniors targets your upper traps and neck muscles. It helps relieve neck pain and improve mobility. You can do a seated neck stretch by following the below-mentioned steps.
- Sit on the chair looking forward and keep your shoulders rolled back.
- Now look to your right and count to three.
- Look to your left and count to three.
- Look forward and lower your head, gently stretching the upper traps.
You can do seated neck stretches 5 times, at least three times a day.
9. High Knee and Reach
If you are looking for sitting exercises that target multiple muscles at once, try the high knee and reach exercise. This exercise can be done sitting on a chair and targets your lats, quads, biceps, hamstrings, and shoulders. You can follow the below-listed steps to do high knees and reach exercise.
- Sit on a static chair, keeping your back straight.
- Curl your palms into fists, look forward, and keep both hands at chest level.
- Gently raise the right hand straight up towards the ceiling.
- Lift your left leg simultaneously. During this step, keep your knees flexed and raise the left leg as high as possible.
- Bring the left leg and right hand to the starting position, and repeat the steps with the opposite side to complete a rep.
You can do 10 reps of the high knee and reach twice a day.
10. Toe and Heel Raises
Toe and heel raises are the best among the easiest senior sitting exercises. This exercise targets your calves, flexors, and ankle extensors and helps strengthen the entire foot. You can do toe and heel raises following the below-mentioned steps.
- Sit on a chair, looking forward. Keep your feet flat on the mat surface or ground and back straight.
- Gently lift both your toes while the heels are still touching the floor.
- Pause for a few seconds and lower your toes.
- Now raise your heels while the toes are still touching the floor.
- Pause for a few seconds and lower your heels.
You can do this 15 times, twice a day.
All these exercises are incredibly simple to perform and completely safe. You only need a chair and dumbbells/water bottles for a few exercises to get started. Start slowly with the abovementioned exercises and include advanced exercises as you progress.
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Benefits of Sitting Exercises for Seniors
Most sitting exercises are low-impact chair exercises that help increase movement throughout the body. These exercises also help seniors stay active without straining their joints. Some of the top health benefits of sitting exercises for seniors are listed below.
1. Strengthens Your Muscles
People lose muscle mass as they age, leading to potential injury and decreased mobility. The body chair exercises help seniors isolate the muscles in their legs and arms, increasing their strength. With regular practice, seated exercises can improve posture, relieve back pain, and build healthier muscles.
2. Improves Blood Circulation
Physically inactive seniors can experience tingling and numbing sensations in their feet and hands, digestive problems, and fatigue because of poor blood circulation. Even the simplest chair-sitting exercises involving the hand and feet can help improve blood flow. It relieves discomfort, and you can notice reduced swelling of your hands, feet, and legs.
3. Better Flexibility and Balance
Incorporating wheelchair exercises for seniors or seated exercises for the elderly can help stretch your muscles, assisting them in regaining their full range of motion. With regular stretching and strengthening of your muscles, you can have improved body balance and stability.
4. Boosts Energy Levels
People who move frequently tend to have less fatigue than physically inactive people. Regular sitting exercises allow improved blood flow to different body parts, increasing the body’s energy and oxygen levels.
5. Improves Mental Well-being
When we exercise, our body releases endorphins. Also known as the happy hormones, endorphins elicit a positive feeling and improves your mood. Seniors performing regular sitting exercises can notice a reduction in their stress levels and feelings of depression. Their sleep patterns can also be improved to healthy levels.
6. Enhances Memory & Thinking Power
Consistent exercising can help improve your thinking and memory power. Regular exercise improves the oxygen supply in your body, leading to the growth of new cells and blood vessels in your brain. It eventually sharpens your thinking and memory over a period.
7. Better Heart Health
Regular exercises are linked to better heart health. If you perform chair exercises consistently, it will increase blood pumping and strengthen your heart. Exercises also help your body move more oxygen and blood to your muscles, improving overall heart health.
In addition to these benefits, regular sitting exercises can also help you reduce dependence on others for performing basic activities like walking, climbing stairs, etc. You should start doing regular sitting exercises to experience the associated health benefits.
8. Improve Mobility, Flexibility, & Overall Fitness Levels with Simple Sitting Exercises
Limited mobility should never be the reason for your inactive lifestyle. Sitting exercises are perfect for you if you have been staying indoors or not making enough physical movements throughout the day because of stiff joints or other health reasons. These exercises are excellent for seniors who have difficulty standing for too long. With regular sitting exercises, seniors can significantly improve their body strength and balance, boost the immune system, and reduce stress.
To help the elderly start their fitness journey, we have shared the best ten seated exercises for older adults that they can start doing today. All these exercises are beginner-friendly, safe, and easy to do. You just have to be regular with these exercises to notice visible improvements. Depending on your fitness levels, you can start with all or a few exercises listed in this article.
This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.