A recent study has shown that the majority of people sit for more than nine hours a day. This could be due to work or if you have standing or walking difficulty. If this sounds like you it doesn’t mean that exercise is out of the question.
We all know that being physically active is good for us, however, not everyone can take part in activities such as walking, cycling or running. Independent Living has put together some information about chair-based exercises that could be exactly what you are looking for.
The benefits of exercise in older adults are incredible as it can reduce the risk of chronic disease, increase life expectancy, preserve functional capacities and the ability to perform activities of daily living. Physical activities also improve mental health too.
The Basic Rules of Chair Based Exercise
- You should always use a strong and sturdy chair preferably with armrests. When you sit down your thighs should be parallel with the floor.
- Keep your arm and leg movements steady, as this will help with muscle and joint strain.
- Always remember to cool down and warm up.
- Don’t go too hard. Always adjust the intensity of the exercise to how you’re feeling.
- Don’t hold your breath, you would be surprised by how many of us forget to breathe when we exercise.
- Keep your arm exercise below head height, this will reduce breathlessness.
What Types of Exercises Are Possible With Limited Mobility?
Flexibility: These types of exercises will help your range of motion, prevent injury and even reduce pain.
Strength: Strength training will involve using weights to build muscle and bone mass to improve balance and prevent falls.
Cardiovascular: These types of exercises raise your heart rate and increase your endurance.
Ankle and Wrist Rolls
A lot of senior citizens have problems with poor circulations which can contribute to problems with balance and mobility. Ankle and wrist roll exercises are perfect for this.
- Sit tall on a sturdy chair, so your back is straight and not leaning against the chair.
- Flex your fingers, opening and closing your firsts several times before making fists and rolling your wrists 10 times in different directions.
- Do this exercise with your feet. Flex and point each foot independently as you simultaneously curl and straighten your toes.
- Roll each ankle 10 times to the outside and then to the inside 10 times.
Seated Torso Twist
The seated torso twists engage the core, particularly the obliques, whilst also encouraging spinal mobility.
- Sit tall with your feet flat on the ground and make sure you do not lean back in the chair.
- Place your hands lightly behind your head, your elbows bent and pointing towards the sides of the room.
- Keeping your pelvis steady, inhale and twist your torso to the right as far and as comfortably as you can.
- Inhale and return to the centre.
- Repeat this then to the left, inhale and then return to centre.
- Repeat these movements 8 times.
A lot of seniors have rounded backs which is why the band pull-apart exercise is so important and will be helpful in correcting posture.
- Hold a mini resistance band in front of you with both hands.
- Draw your elbows out wide and pull the band.
- When you pull the band, squeeze your shoulder blades together to engage your lats and rhomboids.
- You should then slowly return your arms to the starting position.
Modified Leg Lifts
This chair-based modified leg lift will help you improve your core strength.
- Sit tall and keep your core engaged, put your feet together and flat on the floor. Roll your shoulders back to maintain perfect posture.
- Hold the chair’s armrest or grip the chair’s seat. Keeping your feet and knees together, lift both legs as high as you can as you exhale.
- Hold for 5 seconds, then lower your feet back to the floor.
- Perform 10 – 20 repetitions 5 to 3 times.
How To Stay Safe When Exercising
You should always stop exercising if you feel any pain or discomfort, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, chest pain, have an irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath or clammy hands. Listening to your body is always key. You should also always avoid activity involving an injured body part as this could cause more problems in the future.
This one sounds obvious but ensure that you keep hydrated and finally wear appropriate clothing such as supportive footwear and comfortable clothes that won’t restrict your movement.
How Long Should I Exercise For?
Research has shown that adults with disabilities should aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes a week of high-intensity cardiovascular activity, with each workout lasting 10 minutes.
In summary, exercising even if you have limited movement is imperative and there are many exercises that can help! You can even look at the NHS website for more information.
Thank you for reading about chair exercises for seniors.