Senior Chair Exercise - ease into health and wellness

Senior chair exercise is the gentle way to stay flexible and build, or maintain, muscle strength. In addition helping to increase metabolism, circulation, balance, energy, and mental awareness. Making for an all round healthier retirement lifestyle.

However these exercises can also be used by anyone of any age who has limited mobility. As the result of an injury, illness or just ... plain old age wear and tear.

And don't be fooled by their ease and simplicity there are many able bodied people who would greatly benefit from a daily routine of these exercises!

The only equipment that is required is a sturdy chair without arms and you're ready to go. Most of the exercises are done sitting in the chair but depending on your strength and mobility the chair can also be used as support when standing and doing certain leg exercises.

To add variety to the exercises balls of different sizes and sticks may also be introduced. In addition the exercises can be done to music, in a planned sequence, creating flowing chair aerobic routines.

Senior chair exercise is easy and can be done whenever possible. 

Doctors recommended that you do at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Although they may be done on your own it is preferable to do them in a group as this acts both as a motivator and an opportunity for social interaction.

Important exercise points to remember

Stretching is a very important element of these exercises and should always be done in a slow and controlled way to prevent any injury.

Deep and correct breathing during exercise will also increase the benefits and enhance your overall health.

Many exercises involve stretching and contracting muscles. Generally these should be held for about 5 seconds and repeated about 5 to 10 times. The sitting posture should be as correct and balanced as possible ... or as you recall "sit up straight".

A few examples of chair exercises.

Warm up

  • Seated "jumping jacks - extending and crossing arms and legs, or legs only.
  • Arms and legs extended together.
  • Trunk rotation by swinging arms from side to side.
  • Neck rotation and extension.

Shoulders, arms and hands

  • Arms being stretched out and back and rotated or crossed.
  • Arms "punched" out.
  • Fist clenching and finger stretching.
  • Wrist extension and rotation (use opposite hand to assist).
  • Shoulders rotated and lifted.

Legs and feet

  • Leg extensions with feet extended and contracted and toes extended and contracted.
  • Feet on the floor and heel and toe raises.
  • Knee raised and pulled towards the body supported by hands under the knee.
  • Legs raised and crossed and uncrossed.
  • Ankles rotated and flexed.

Lower body exercises

  • Hands placed on knee as firmly as possible and legs "walked" forward and back.
  • Stand and hold on the back of the chair and squat down.
  • Waist and trunk stretching and extending.

As one ages the yoga mat converts to a yoga chair. Many yoga exercises can be modified and applied to senior chair exercises.

If you or a loved one has restricted movement, flexibility and cannot take on a vigorous exercise regime then seriously consider senior chair exercise ... it's excellent for general health and an invigorating feeling of wellness.

For more information and advice on these low stress but invigorating exercises visit Gentle Fitness.


Retirement Health: A critical element of your enjoyable and comfortable retirement

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