Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chair Exercises for Seniors

The Importance of Exercise

Senior exercise is an important part of the health and wellness of seniors. It helps increase your metabolism, energy levels and alertness. Research shows that those suffering from chronic illnesses benefit from exercise, even if it is while sitting in a chair.

What are Chair Exercises for Seniors

Chair exercises can increase your strength, balance and vitality all while sitting down. They create movement, stretching, and help increase your heart rate. Each exercise involves a series of slow movements.

This form of exercising, also known as chair aerobics, is perfect for a senior who has trouble standing on his own or has difficulty balancing. Doctors recommend you exercise at least 30 minutes a day.

Benefits of Chair Exercises

There are numerous benefits of practicing chair exercises for seniors, including:

  • Improved vitality and range of motion
  • Pain relief
  • Cognitive improvement
  • Increased circulation
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Lead to healthy aging

Another benefit to exercise classes is the social interaction, which helps participants remain independent longer.

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What to Wear

There is no need to dress up or buy special clothing when getting ready to pull up a chair. Loose fitting clothing and comfortable shoes are all you need. If you plan to also exercise standing up, make sure your shoes have a good arch support, and a cushioned elevated heel to absorb shock.

Types of Chair Excercises for Seniors

Your chair exercise classes will provide a variety of stretching and toning. Begin slow. If you feel tired, stop and take a break. You will build stamina and strength the more you do it.


Many of your excercises will involve stretching your arms, fingers, legs and torso. They are as simple as lifting your arms about your head, pushing your legs out, and raising your arms and leaning backwards. Stretching is an important step to take before beginning any exercise.

Exercise Examples

You need to exercise your arms and legs to tone your muscles and keep them strong. Some easy chair excercises for seniors include:

  • Boxing or punching (without fully extending or snapping the elbow)
  • Arm circles
  • Foot bounces (put your feet flat on the floor and lift your heal in time to the music, do one foot at a time, both or alternate)
  • Leg kicks (extend your leg and kick out)
  • Leg crosses (scoot down on your chair so you can fully extend your legs, Cross them, and uncross them in the air)

You want to work your lower body as much as possible. Many chair excercises for seniors involve popular warm-ups sitting down.

  • Seated Jumping Jacks involves sitting up tall and placing your feet spread apart on the ground with all your weight. Then lift them up, cross them in the air, and place them on the floor crossed. Lift again, uncross and put down. Repeat this exercise 20 times.
  • Work your full body by pushing out your legs and arms at the same time and straigtening them.

Another variation of chair excercises involves standing up and using the chair for balance or as a tool. Leg squats or knee bands are a great example of standing up and using the chair for balance.

Chair Yoga

Chair excercises as a form of fitness is growing in popularity and branching out. Chair Yoga replaces a yoga mat with a chair. The workout involves modified yoga excercises and sometimes uses two chairs for stretching. The chair is used both as a tool and as a safety measure.

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