Five easy chair exercises for mobility-challenged seniors

Written By: by Hilary L

Exercise should be a priority for everyone over the age of 65. Not only does it promote the wellness of the physical body, but it also contributes significantly to a sound and balanced mind. Unfortunately, many seniors walk with a cane, otherwise have limited mobility or just don’t have the ability to get “out and about” as much as they would like.

For these folks, exercise can be somewhat problematic. So, with that thought in mind, we thought a short list of exercises that can be done from the comfort of a chair in the senior’s own home would be helpful. Here are five exercises that are easy to do, but also reap solid rewards if done regularly:

Ankle circles – Rotate the ankle by first moving the toes of the right foot in a circular manner. Start by moving them in a clockwise direction and then in a counter-clockwise one. Repeat the exercise in the same manner with the left foot. Overall, this exercise is great for total leg flexibility, not just the foot.

Leg pulsesWith your back firmly against the back of the chair, extend your lower leg forward. Now, tighten the kneecap as if you are punching on the accelerator of your car. Repeat four times and then repeat with the other leg. This exercise is surprisingly good at increasing the blood flow in the lower extremities.

Working the backsideSimply squeezing the muscle group in and around the gluteus maximus – that’s your butt – will strengthen anyone’s entire lower abdominal area. The exercise can be done while watching TV, in bed at night or even while sitting on the toilet. The strengthening that it engenders will, in turn, make everything – from getting up from a chair to walking – easier to do.

Strengthening the lower backPlace the elbows so that they are just touching the sides of the body and then extend your arms, keeping the hands palm side up as if your are holding a tray. Next, alternately pull each elbow back while squeezing your shoulder blades. Repeat the process four times in all. You will almost immediately feel the effect at the top of your back and improve your posture immeasurably.

Improving the upper bodyTo do this exercise properly, simply stare straight ahead, lift your arms from the side of your body up toward the ceiling in a smooth arc until the backs of your hands touch above your head. Keep your fingers stretched as you do so. Repeat the process eight times as slowly as possible for best effect. If you are doing it right, you will definitely feel the burn in the morning.

A final thought If you can only find time for one exercise every day, make it the last one – and do it twice. It improves your circulation, your overall mobility and the dexterity of your fingers in a 30 second process. Maybe you will even gain some motivation to try the other ones. They are definitely worth it and only take a few minutes every day.