5 Chair Exercises for Seniors with Limited Mobility

All bodies are different and all of us have varying ranges of ability and mobility throughout the course of our lifetimes. Despite the changes in our bodies that occur as we age, some gradually and over time, and others much more abruptly, one thing remains constant: the need for exercise. 

You may be experiencing a number of challenges continuing an exercise routine as you live with limited mobility. Many in a similar position are finding relief through the participation in chair exercises for seniors with limited mobility. Physical therapy exercises for seniors should never be a one-size-fits-all model. For those with limited mobility the need for stability and safety should always be taken in account when developing exercises for strength and mobility. 

Chair Exercises for Seniors with Limited Mobility

Physical therapy exercises for seniors that incorporate the use of a chair for seated positions as well as for support in standing positions are excellent for anyone, especially seniors, who do not have full mobility. Chair exercises for seniors with limited mobility give you all the regular benefits of a good exercise regimen. Many people use chair exercises during the course of recovery from an injury, as well as in the event of a disability or illness. Chair exercises are great for people of all shapes, sizes and ages! Many whose mobility is impacted by obesity will also benefit greatly from chair exercises. 

Chair exercises for seniors with limited mobility are a way to make exercise accessible again. Exercise is so essential to our overall health and wellbeing. As much as exercise is good for our muscles and joints, it is good for our minds. Exercise can be used to improve moods, manage anxiety, cope with depression, relieve stress, retrain perspective and, of course, to improve our sense of self-esteem. 

Many seniors are living with disability, obesity, breathing trouble, poor circulation, diabetes, arthritis and depression or anxiety. All of these conditions impact our sense of what is possible in terms of following a regular exercise routine. Many may feel hopeless and discouraged due to the loss of mobility or to the weakening of the body through the aging process. That is why chair exercises are so great. They are designed for seniors and other people who experience limited mobility. Chair exercises can help you exercise in a safe and effective way! And hopefully you will have some fun while you’re at it. 

Chair exercises for seniors with limited mobility can help with balance, strength, flexibility, circulation, heart health and more! Here are some of the best physical therapy exercises for seniors that incorporate chair work:

  1. Neck StretchesWarming up with neck stretches in the seated position is a great way to start your routine. Sit up straight with your shoulders back and slowly move your left so that your right ear reaches down toward your right shoulder, move back to center and then the left ear toward the left shoulder. Move your head down towards your chest and then back so your gaze is toward the ceiling. Repeat these stretches and then 
  2. Neck RotationsSitting straight with your shoulders back, move your head so your gaze goes to the right, return to center and then move your head toward the left. Keep your neck straight and only rotate as far as is comfortable. You should feel a bit of a stretch here, but nothing painful. 
  3. Shoulder RotationsStay seated with a straight back and shoulders back and gently lift your shoulders up toward your ears and then using a circular motion, move them back to create circular motions. If you want to take this stretch to the next level, hold your arms out to either side and trace circles with your fingertips. These circles can be as big or as small as you like and you can circle slowly or with some speed. Do what feels right to you and be sure that this motion is not causing pain.
  4. Seated RowTo work your upper back and chest muscles, sit at the edge of your chair and hold your arms out in front of you. Bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle and make fists with your thumbs pointed up. Gently and slowly bring your arms out away from your body holding that shape with your elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades together. 
  5. Abdominal TwistFor this pose and any pose that works your core muscles, take a moment to check your posture. Make sure your back is straight and your shoulders are back. This exercise can be done holding a ball, but don’t worry if you don’t have one. Hold the ball close to your body with your elbows bent. If you are not using a ball, you can clasp your hands or hold an imaginary ball. Slowly rotate your torso to the right as far as you can without strain. Keep a straight posture and keep the rest of the body still during this exercise. Move back to center when you feel the stretch and switch sides.

If you need help starting a fitness routine, contact Cano Health today. We can introduce you to accessible (and fun!) chair exercises for seniors with limited mobility and other techniques to ensure you get the activity you need to thrive.