Chair Exercises for Seniors
Exercising is very important for every elderly person, as it improves muscle strength and flexibility, and provides relief from age-related joint pain and increases joint mobility. In short, exercises for senior citizens facilitate healthier aging. Chair exercises are the most suitable form of exercise for the elderly as they can be performed sitting on a straight back chair or a park bench. Therefore, those people who have difficulty in maintaining their body balance and coordination, can do these exercises. That does not mean, that those who are still active should not do chair exercises. There are many types of these exercises. Each of the exercises that we discuss here focuses on different parts of the body.
Sit straight on the edge of a sturdy, straight back chair keeping your feet flat on the ground. Do not lean back to support your body. Now, keep the heels firmly grounded on the floor and bend the toes of both the feet downwards. Then gradually, move the toes in upward direction towards the ceiling. Again, curl the toes inward and then point them upwards. These feet movements should be repeated 8 – 10 times.
Now, do some gentle leg exercises sitting on a chair. Sit comfortably on a chair without leaning backwards. Try to lift both the legs together off the ground as much as you can. Stop the movement when you feel a locking sensation in the knees. Then bring down the legs slowly, back to the ground. It should be repeated 6 – 8 times. However, do not perform this exercise if you feel that your knees are hurting.
Those older adults who suffer from arthritis, often have gripping problem due to inflexible finger joints. You can perform hand exercises for improving the hand grip. For doing this exercise, sit on a chair and open and close both your hands repeatedly. When you unfold the fingers, spread them as much as you can, so that you can get a stretching feel in them. While folding the fingers, make a tight fist. Continue it for 8 – 10 times. After this, you will get a sense of tightness in the hand muscles. To release this tension, shake the hands randomly. This will relax the muscles really well.
For arm exercises, you need a ball. Sit on a chair holding the ball in front of you. Then try to squeeze the ball with both your hands. While doing this, extend your hands in front and then pull it back towards the chest. This back and forth movement of the arms should be done in a slow and controlled manner. It should have 10 – 12 repetitions. These stretching exercises are not just good for arms muscles but, also for the chest muscles.
Rolling the shoulder is an excellent exercise for strengthening the shoulder muscles. Sit straight on the chair and raise both the shoulders up to the level of the ears. Then holding the raised position, move them slowly towards the back. Then bring the shoulders to the front and then to the top. Repeat this shoulder exercise for at least 10 times. Alternate the direction of rotation with every repetition of the exercise.
Stretching the lower portion of the body is also necessary. For this exercise, sit straight on a chair with both the feet resting on the ground. Put the hands on the thighs. Now, lean forward slowly keeping your back straight and then move backwards. Repeat this movement for 5 times. Another lower back exercise involves stretching of legs and arms forward. Hold this position and count till 5. Then slowly get back to the original position. Repeat it twice or thrice.
Doctors recommend that every elderly person should perform such senior exercises for half an hour daily for maintaining their health and fitness. While working out, wear loose and comfortable clothes. At any point of time, while doing any exercises, if you feel uncomfortable, stop the exercise immediately. Never try to stretch yourself beyond the capacity of your body, as overstretching may have an adverse effect on your health.
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