14 Simple Chair Exercises For Seniors

Exercises are always good. It is in fact great for you to do regular exercises if you are an elderly person. However, there are some special exercises for seniors that must be done if you are a senior citizen. In this article we will take a look on some of the chair exercises for seniors.

14 Simple Chair Exercises For Seniors:

There are several forms and varieties of exercises; one of them includes the chair exercises. These chair exercises are very much beneficial for seniors to exercise and move without putting excess of pressure or strain on the elderly bodies. Movements used in these exercises work in lubricating their joints and keep them very much flexible, stabilizes and also strengthens their muscles and also increases the circulation of blood in their body.

By performing these chair exercises for seniors on a regular basis, you can reduce the number of falls and also increase your ability to better accomplish day-to-day normal physical activities.

#1. Ankle And Wrist Rolls:

Many seniors or elderly individuals find it difficult for having proper blood circulation through their extremities; and this can be challenging in case of their mobility and balance. Doing ankle and wrist roll chair exercises can be helpful here.

Ankle And Wrist Rolls Chair Exercises For Seniors

Follow the steps to perform this chair exercise for seniors.

  • Sit straight on a chair, in a way that your back is absolutely straight and not leaning against the back of the chair.
  • Flex your fingers, by closing and opening your fists multiple times before making the fists and by rolling your wrists at least 10 times in each direction.
  • Do the same moves using your feet. First, flex and independently point each of your foot as you simultaneously curl and straighten the toes.
  • At one time, roll each ankle 10 times towards, and then at once, roll each ankle 10 times towards the inside.

#2. Seated Hip Marches:

Seated hip marches are great chair exercises for seniors who are willing to improve their flexibility and their mobility through their hip, or individuals who require a modified option for performing cardiovascular exercises.

Seated Hip Marches Chair Exercises For Seniors

Below are the steps to follow to do this chair exercises for seniors:

  • Keeping both your feet flat on the floor, with hip-distance apart, sit straight on a sturdy chair.
  • Grasp tightly the armrests of the chair with your hands and engage the abdominal muscles so as to help keep the torso straight and tall.
  • Now, with your knee bent as high as possible, lift your right leg, as if doing a high-knee march.
  • Next, lower the right foot to the floor.
  • Repeat the same on the other leg.
  • Do at least 20 alternating marches at ones. Take a break and then repeat 3 more times.

#3. Seated Torso Twist:

This is another chair exercise for seniors and it engages your core, especially the obliques, and also encourages the spinal mobility.

Read the steps mentioned below to perform this chair exercise for seniors:

Seated Torso Twist Exercises For Seniors

  • Sit straight keeping your feet flat on the floor at about hip-distance apart.
  • Place your hands behind your head with your elbows bent and pointing towards the two sides of the room.
  • Exhale and twist your torso towards the right as much as you can do comfortably. Make sure to keep your pelvis steady.
  • Then, inhale and return to the center, by keeping your hips perfectly stable.
  • Exhale and twist the torso towards the left as much as you can do comfortably.
  • Inhale and then return to the center.
  • Do this until you have twisted to each side around 8 times. Then, perform another set.

#4. Sunshine Arm Circles:

In Sunshine arm circles, one has a ball and holds it above the head. However, this can also be done without a ball. Sunshine arm circles, strengthens the shoulders, which will be used for lifting and carrying heavy objects on day-to-day life.

Sunshine Arm Circles Exercises For Seniors

  • Always keep your elbows slightly bent and then circle the ball in four directions, i.e. towards left, down, right and then back up in a big circle.
  • Reverse the directions each time and repeat the same 10 times.
  • Note, that if you are unable to get the ball above your head, then you can even hold it straight out in front and move your arms all around in a circle.

#5. Seated Row:

This is one more effective chair exercise for seniors and it works your chest and the upper back muscles.

Follow the steps to perform this move.

Seated Row Exercises For Seniors

  • Sit on the chair’s edge for a greater range of motion.
  • Hold the arms out in front with your thumbs upwards and elbows bent, draw both your elbows back as much as possible, while simultaneously squeezing the shoulder blades together.
  • Release and repeat this 10 times.

#6. Hand Squeeze:

Hand Squeeze Exercises For Seniors

  • Hand squeeze is a chair exercise for seniors which contract the chest and arm muscles.
  • Hold a ball in your front, and squeeze your hands together as if you are trying to get the air out of it.
  • Release and repeat this 10 times.
  • In order to increase intensity, push the ball straight out in front of you and then pull it back to your chest, while slightly squeezing the ball.

#7. Seated Shoulder Press:

Seated shoulder press is a strength-training exercise. Apart from developing strength, seated shoulder press is also essential to maintain your shoulder’s flexibility.

For this, you use light dumbbells. If a resistance band is used, make sure to select a long and flat resistance band and also be sure to secure it in place by sitting on the top of the center of the band, before grasping each of the ends of the resistance band for performing the exercise.

Seated Shoulder Press Exercises For Seniors

Follow the steps.

  • Sit straight on a chair with feet touching the floor at about a shoulder-distance apart.
  • Hold a light weight dumbbell or the end of your resistance band in each of your hand at your shoulders, with the elbows bent and the palms facing outwards or away from you.
  • Now, extending your elbows, press the arms straight up over your head.
  • Then, lower the hands back to your normal position very carefully.
  • Complete 2 sets of at least 10 or 12 repetitions.

#8. Sit And Stands:

It is an excellent precursor to squats and it can help the elderly people gain or maintain the ability to get independently in and out of chairs, to improve leg strength, enhance functional balance and control.

Sit And Stands Exercises For Seniors

Below are the steps to be followed while performing this chair exercise.

  • Sit straight in a sturdy chair, with feet on the floor, at about a hip-distance apart.
  • Engage your core and tip forward from the hips by using a little help from your hands or arms.
  • By extending your knees and hips completely, press your weight through all four corners of the feet and try to stand by pushing yourself hard.
  • Now, reverse the movements. Carefully lower yourself to the seated position by pressing your hips back and bending the knees.

#9. Modified Planks:

Planks can be modified to a simple chair exercise for seniors so as to make the exercise more accessible by the elderly people. It develops the core strength and mobility. Place the chair in the front of a wall in a way that the chair is still and stable, and it doesn’t slide or move from its place while performing the modified plank move.

Modified Planks Exercises For Seniors

  • Place your hands on the chair’s back so that your hands are at a shoulder-distance apart.
  • Engage your core and take the feet backward until your body begins forming a straight and diagonal like from the heels to the head. Ensure that your arms must be absolutely straight, and your hips should be appropriately aligned between your shoulders and your knees. Here, you must feel that your abdominals are working fine to keep the body steady.
  • Hold this position for about 60 seconds and then return to the standing position.
  • Holding each plank as long as possible, while maintaining a good form, complete 3 such sets.

#10. Heel Slides:

Heel slides are known to be beneficial for strengthening the large muscles spanning your back of the thigh in between the glutes and your knees. This exercise can also be beneficial in developing abdominal strength as it engages the core.

Heel Slides Exercises For Seniors

  • With your knees bent and feet kept flat on the floor at about hip-distance apart, sit straight on a chair.
  • Extend your right leg and flex your right foot, so that the heel remains in touch with the ground; however your toes pointing upwards towards the ceiling.
  • Engage your hamstrings and glutes, to drag the right heel back towards the chair, but remaining in touch with the floor.
  • Reverse this movement and by extending your right knee, slide your heel away from you.
  • Perform 10 repetitions on one side before switching your legs.
  • Complete 2-3 sets on each leg.

#11. Glute Squeeze:

Glute Squeeze Exercises For Seniors

  • Glute squeeze strengthens your glutes which helps in a lot of everyday physical activities, including helping you to walk.
  • For doing this chair exercise, follow the steps.
  • While sitting on the chair, squeeze the muscles of your buttocks together.
  • Hold the squeeze for 2 seconds and then release.
  • Repeat this 10 times.

#12. Toe Taps:

Toe taps chair exercise is one more exercise for seniors and it strengthens the muscles in your lower front and the rear of the leg, which are used for several day-to-day activities like climbing or getting down the stairs.

Toe Taps Exercises For Seniors

Below are steps to be followed for performing this chair exercise.

  • Keep your heels on the floor and bend your toes up towards the ceiling and bring them back to the floor.
  • Sit towards the chair’s edge with legs straight and heel touching the floor, so as to increase the range of your motion. In this posture, point your toes down towards the floor and then raise them up towards the ceiling.
  • Repeat these exercises 10 times.

#13. Single-Leg Calf Raises:

This is another chair exercise for seniors that can be done for increasing the overall strength and mobility through their lower leg. Read below to know about the steps for performing this move.

Single-Leg Calf Raises Exercises For Seniors

  • Sit tall in a chair keeping your feet on the ground about and a hip-distance apart, engaging the core and looking straight ahead.
  • Begin with your right foot and lift the heel from the floor as high possible by you, trying to raise up as high as possible by you on your toes. Here the calf is engaged as you perform the move.
  • Then, lower your heel back to the ground and repeat the same for completing a set of 10 repetitions.
  • Repeat this movement with your left leg.
  • Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions with each leg.
  • Add 2 more sets of 10 reps each after performing the initial sets. However, this time simultaneously lift both your heels. At the end of the last set, hold your heels lifted up from the floor, for at least 20 seconds.

#14. Modified Leg Lifts:

By performing this type of chair exercise, the core strength of seniors can be improved. It is good to use a chair having armrests for this exercise. Below are the steps to perform modified leg lifts using a sturdy chair.

Modified Leg Lifts Exercises For Seniors

  • For doing this chair exercise, you need to sit straight in a chair, with your feet together and flat kept on the floor and your core being engaged.
  • In order to maintain perfect posture, you need to roll your shoulders back.
  • Hold the armrests of the chair and keeping your knees and feet together; lift both your legs as high as possible while you exhale. Hold this position for at least 5 seconds and then lower back your feet on to the floor.
  • Do at least 10 repetitions and complete a total of 3-5 sets.


So, above we read about some of the best chair exercises for seniors. If you are worried about losing strength, balance or fitness due to your old age, then start performing these convenient and effective chair exercises and experience your overall fitness by self. It is always advisable to perform the exercises under the supervision of a fitness trainer and only after consultation with your doctor.

14 Easy Chair Exercises For Seniors and Beginners

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 16, 2019

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