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Gentle Exercises For Older and Frail People

As we age, it becomes more essential to keep ourselves fit and fine. This is where a regular dose of exercise plays an important role. Apart from the elderly ones, even frail people require some sort of exercise in their daily life. However, the exercise that they do, must be gentle so that they can be done by the older and frail people at ease without harming or injuring them. So, in this article, we will take a look at some of the gentle exercises for older and frail people.

Gentle Exercises For Older and Frail People:

Older and frail people can go for gentle exercises. Which might fall under general sub-categories like the aerobic exercises, balance, and flexibility exercises. For training one’s general fitness and improving endurance, one can prefer doing aerobic exercises. Some balance and flexibility exercises can help in improving balance, help in reducing falls, and also increase mobility. All these exercises are important and must be done by the older and frail people gently. Let us take a deeper look into all of these gentle exercises.

Aerobic Exercises:

Aerobic exercises help in keeping our muscles strong and can help in maintaining mobility as we get older. These exercises can also reduce the risk of injuries and falls in elderly ones. One can also experience a great mental health benefit from aerobic exercises as they age since these exercises keep our minds sharp. So, overall, the quality of life is improved when older and frail people perform aerobic exercises. Moreover, aerobic exercises also help in improving cardiovascular health, benefits in fighting symptoms of asthma, and are essential for better sleep quality. Below are some gentle aerobic exercises.

Brisk Walking:

This is an aerobic exercise and is considered a less intense type of aerobic exercise when compared with jogging or running. However, it is still beneficial and brings your heart rate up, and keeps your muscles working. Older and frail people can do brisk walking and improve their gait and also maintain a good posture.

Stationary Cycling:

Stationary cycling is an excellent form of aerobic exercise for older and frail people as it does not exert any impact on their joints and there is also a very minimal chance of any injury with this exercise. Stationary bicycles are available in all gyms, and community centers, and also can be purchased specifically for homes.


Another form of aerobic exercise that elderly and frail people can perform gently is swimming. This is a great exercise as our joints are not put under heavy stress while swimming since water supports our body weight. So, if you are having arthritis or if you are elderly, swimming could be one of the best exercises that can be practiced daily.

Balance Exercises:

Certain types of balance exercises can also be done by older and frail people to help build strength, stability, improve posture, and coordination; all of which can reduce their chance of falling or resulting in injury.

A study from 2016 has found that older adults who did balance exercises for 6 weeks experienced an increased level of balance control and also gained better confidence. These balance exercises also helped in improving their angle mobility, leg strength, and improved coordination.(1)

It has also been pointed out by the research from the year 2019 that balance and coordination exercises can improve the overall quality of life in the case of older people.(2)

Balance exercises might not only help in improving stability and balance but also help in increasing mental functioning.

Below, let us take a look at some of the balance exercises that could be the most effective gentle exercises for older and frail people.

Tai Chi

Tai chi is a balance and flexibility exercise that is a low-intensity workout yet have got tremendous benefits in improving balance and flexibility. It is also greatly known for its excellent mental health benefits. It helps with improving concentration and relaxation. Older and frail people can practice this exercise.


One more balance exercise is squats. This is also a gentle exercise that can be done by older and frail people. Squats are pretty simple to do and effective enough in improving balance and stability. The best part of this exercise is that you do not need any equipment for doing it.

For doing squats, you need to lower yourself from a standing posture into a semi-sitting or chair posture. Make sure this is done correctly. You can take help from a trainer if required.

Flexibility and Strength Training Exercises:

The ability of your muscles and tendons to stretch and lengthen in response to movement and to have a joint with an enhanced range of motion. You can incorporate a good stretching program into your daily routine and maintain your flexibility.

According to a study published in the Journal of Gerontology that looked at the 12-month results of a stretch and flex program for older people it was found that participants experienced positive changes in various ways that included improved physical fitness, self-efficacy, and overall well-being. The participants also experienced a reduced level of pain.(3)

Strength training along with cardio can be the best way to gain muscle mass as you turn older or weak.

Check below to know about a few gentle exercises for older and frail people that can increase flexibility and muscle strength.

Gentle Stretches:

Gentle stretches can increase your flexibility to a great extent. You can try some gentle stretches on a chair or bed daily. Follow the below-mentioned gentle stretches every day.

  • In a lying or sitting position, bring your toes towards the shin and then point them towards the ground. Repeat this for both feet.
  • Sitting on a stool, allow your back to drop and turn rounded. Then use the back muscles to straighten the back and arch it.
  • Sitting on a chair, lift your leg while keeping your knee bent. Return to the normal position and repeat with the other leg.


One of the best means of increasing flexibility, balance, and strength in older people could be yoga moves. Yoga is a more structured practice of regular stretching exercises, which aids in building muscle and also help in improving bone health, and also support your mental health as you age.

Safety Tips To Be Followed While Exercising:

While performing the exercises, you need to maintain some safety tips. Read below to know about them.

  • Dress appropriately. Make sure you are wearing comfortable and loose-fitting clothes.
  • Wear right-fitting sports shoes and reduce your chances of injury.
  • Start it slow. Do not be in a rush.

In case you notice any sign of pain or discomfort, stop exercising immediately and seek medical attention.

Final Words:

“Exercise can be done at any age. It is never too later to begin exercising.” So, if you are an elderly or frail person and willing to stay healthy with some sort of exercise then you should go for the above-mentioned gentle exercises for older and frail people and take the advantage of living a healthier and quality life. Also, make sure that you are taking a healthy and balanced diet. It is also recommended to consult with a trainer or expert who can provide the best advice related to the most effective exercises for you.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 13, 2022

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