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Senior Chair Exercise – ease into health and wellness

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

​Anyone of any age ​with limited mobility​ as the result of an injury, illness or just plain old age wear and tear can use these exercises.

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!

Equipment required

​A sturdy chair without arms ​is the only equipment required 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 a support when standing and doing certain leg exercises.

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

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

Doctors recommend 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. As a general rule these should be held for ​at least 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 stretched out - back and forward, 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.
  • ​Heel and toe raises with feet on the floor and
  • 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 the knee as firmly as possible and legs "walked" forward and back.
  • ​Squat down while standing and holding on the back of the chair and .
  • Waist and trunk stretching and extending.

​The yoga mat converts to a yoga chair as one ages. Many yoga exercises can be modified and applied to senior chair exercises.

If you or a loved one has restricted movement and 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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