Senior Chair Exercise Pictures
Chair exercises can help increase circulation and flexibility. They can also strengthen postural and mobilization muscles. A chair can be used to stretch safely with less risk of losing your balance and can easily be moved or stored. You might even try free weights with your chair exercises.
Before you start exercising, it is best to warm up for about 10 to 15 minutes. This can be done by marching seated at a regular, fairly quick pace pumping arms and feet to elevate the heart rate. The goal is to raise the temperature of your core muscles. Marching can include toe or heel taps, different rhythms and different positioning of the arms. Taking time to warm up reduces risk of injury.
Sitting tall in the chair, inhale and lengthen the neck. On the exhale turn the head toward the right shoulder. Once the neck has fully twisted, draw the chin down toward the shoulder to feel a deeper stretch in the side of the neck. Hold for three breaths and return the head to center. Repeat on the other side. To remain safe, turn only as far as your natural range of motion and do not force the twist. If there is any discomfort or pain, come out of the stretch.
Seated Leg Lifts
For improved leg strength, sit with both feet flat on the ground. With a long spine and an engaged core, inhale and on the exhale, lift both legs to a comfortable height. On the inhale, release the feet to the floor. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Legs can also remain lifted for several breaths, and you can add in ankle rolls or flexion and extension of the foot.
Adding a resistance band will build strength throughout the body, but especially in the upper body. Holding a resistance band in both hands, shoulder-width apart, stretch the arms out forward. Slowly pull the hands as far away from each other as you can, then slowly return back to center. Repeat 10 to 15 times. The arms can also be held above the head and behind the back to work on different muscle groups.
Dumbbells for Strength
Lightweight dumbbells will improve mobility and strength in muscles and joints. There are many exercises that can be done seated with dumbbells, including biceps curls, triceps extensions and shoulder presses.
For bicep curls, hold one dumbbell in each hand, engage the core and plant feet firmly on the ground. Face palms toward the ceiling and slightly bend the elbow. Bring the weight toward your shoulder and slowly release to neutral. To work the triceps, turn the hands so the palms face inward. Bring the weights to chest level then, straighten the arms as you push straight back as far as you can, squeezing the triceps on full extension. For a gentle shoulder strengthener, hold weights just above the shoulders and press upward, extending the arms toward the ceiling, then release to neutral. Repeat 10 to 15 reps of each exercise.
Sitting at the edge of the chair with both feet firmly planted into the ground, lift the left leg with your knee bent as high as you can hold. Pause and breathe for three long, full breaths, maintaining a tall spine and an engaged core. Release the left leg and return to a neutral position. Repeat with the right leg. Complete at least 10 repetitions on each side.
To help improve flexibility, a lateral stretch will open the sides of the body, improve shoulder mobility and build core strength. Sitting backward in the chair, use the back of the chair for support. Reach up with the left arm, pulling through the fingertips and extending the spine and feeling the side of the body elongate. Stay connected equally in both sides of the hips. Breathe deeply to increase the stretch. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths. Switch sides.
Gentle rotation of the spine improves back health, flexibility and overall mobility. Sitting tall in the chair, inhale and bring both arms to the sides at shoulder height. On the exhale slowly rotate toward the left side until you feel resistance. Pause at the point of resistance and allow the arms to rest where they fall. Hold and breathe deeply for five breaths. Return to center. Repeat on the other side.
Inner Leg Stretch
Sitting tall at the edge of the chair, extend the left leg to the left side so it is straight and the foot remains fully on the floor. Raise the right arm straight toward the ceiling, keeping the bicep near the ear. Pull up through the right finger tips while keeping the left leg extended. Hold and breathe for 5 to 10 long breaths. Switch sides. You should feel this stretch in the inner thigh as well as the sides of the upper body. This exercise can also strengthen hip muscles, shoulders and abdominals.
This exercise not only can stretch the quads, but it can also relieve tension in the hips. Standing behind a chair and using the back of the chair for support, shift your weight to the left foot and lift the right leg. Pull the foot behind you, grabbing hold of the foot or ankle. If you can't reach the foot, a resistance band or yoga strap can help. Keeping the knees lined up, press the right knee toward the ground and push the foot into the hand. To stay in good alignment to avoid twisting the knee or back, keep the spine long and don't let the lifted leg rise to the side.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat with the opposite leg.
Seated Hip Stretch
Coming to the edge of the chair with both feet planted squarely on the ground, shift the weight into the right leg and lift the left leg so the ankle comes to the top of the right thigh. Try to get the shin parallel with the floor. Curl the toes back, push through the heel and drop the left knee toward the ground. You should feel this stretch in the outer left hip. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and then switch sides.
Seated Chest Expansion
To broaden the chest muscles and build strength in the lower back, bring the arms behind you to grab on to the back of the chair. Rolling the shoulders down and lengthening the spine, inhale and lift the chest. Imagine the spine extending and growing longer with each inhale. Take 5 to 10 long breaths and release.
Sitting tall in your chair, raise the left arm to the sky. Drop the forearm so the hand comes behind the neck, elbow pointing to the sky. Take the right arm and gently pull the left elbow toward the right ear. You should feel this stretch in your triceps. Hold and breath for 5 to 10 breaths, then switch sides.
Sitting tall, raise the left arm and draw it as far across the front of your body as you can. Grab hold of the left elbow with the right hand and gently draw the left arm closer in toward the body. You should feel a stretch in the left side of the rear shoulder and upper back. Repeat on the other side.
Add a Stability Ball
Though it's not a typical chair, a large, inflatable stability ball is great for seated workouts. They are versatile and improve core strength and balance just by sitting on them. All seated exercises can be performed on a stability ball. Standing exercises, using a wall for support, is also beneficial. Using a resistance band and a stability ball simultaneously will really turn up the workout.
For a shoulder and back strengthening exercise, hold the resistance band wider than shoulder width apart. Inhale and bring the band above your head stretching it taut. Return to neutral on the exhale. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Senior Chair Exercises and More
Living a healthy senior lifestyle requires exercise and a balanced diet. Exercising three to five times a week for at least 30 minutes will produce a great benefit for your health. Before beginning any exercise program, ask your doctor which exercises are appropriate for you.
Find out more on living healthy and staying active: