Exercises a Caregiver and Senior Can do Together

It’s common for caregivers to struggle to find time to exercise, but there may be a perfect period that they don’t even think of. Just as exercise is important to your overall health, your elderly loved one needs to exercise too. So, take advantage of that time—and encourage them to get moving—by practicing these exercises a caregiver and senior can do together.


No matter your age, stretching is a key part of the exercise process. Stretching increases blood flow, which helps the muscles perform better, increases flexibility, and increases range of motion. Those who don’t stretch put themselves at a higher risk of injury—especially those with already limited mobility such as older adults.

Exercises a Caregiver and Senior Can do Together

Before the two of you do any physical activity, take some time to stretch. Some great options include:

  • Seated knee to chest. Sit in a chair, grasp one knee, and pull it towards the chest. Your other foot should stay firmly planted on the ground. Repeat by switching the legs. If you or your loved one can’t bring your knee all the way to the chest, that is okay!
  • Hamstring stretch. Sit on the floor and extend one of your legs outwards. Pull the opposite leg inward, then slowly lean forward and reach as far as you can (ankle, knee, or thigh). Switch legs and repeat the stretch.
  • Soleus stretch. Press both your hands against a wall for support. Put one leg in front of the other and lean forward until there is a stretch in your lower leg. Switch sides, and repeat!
  • Overhead side stretch. Raise your arms over your head, then lean to one side. Return to center, then repeat on the other side. Seniors can practice this stretch seated.
  • Standing quadriceps stretch. Stand on one leg, bend the opposite knee, and then grab your leg by the ankle and pull it backward. Repeat by switching the legs. Those who struggle with balance should perform this stretch while holding onto a chair. If you or your loved one can’t take your ankle in your hand, you can experience similar benefits by just lifting your leg and bending the knee.

Once the two of you are properly stretched, you can move on to your actual exercise.

Go for walks together

Walking is a fantastic physical activity for seniors, as it gets them moving without being too strenuous. Taking a walk through a park is a great way to get some fresh air. However, if the weather isn’t ideal, you can take a walk in your local mall. Doing so in a location such as this is also great for passing the time, as the two of you can discuss anything that looks interesting in shop windows.


For seniors, getting up from a sitting position can be a challenge. This is especially a problem when it comes to getting out of bed or up from the toilet. The sit-to-stand exercise strengthens leg, core, and back muscles, making transitions such as those much easier. To practice, scoot to the edge of the chair and bring your toes under your knees. Lean forward to bring your nose over your toes, then push your legs into a standing position. To sit again, slowly lower your knees and push your hips towards the chair until you make contact.

While this may seem simple to you, it makes a world of difference to the wellness of seniors. They can practice this motion by using their hands to push off the sides of the chairs. However, not using their hands will help strengthen their muscles even more.

Try these exercises together

Balance exercises

As a whole, physical activity is shown to improve balance in seniors, but there are specific practices one can partake in to improve their stability as a whole. A few great exercises include:

  • Tandem stance. This exercise is a great way to assess your loved one’s balance. Perform it by placing your feet apart, then place one foot directly in front of the other (almost touching). Hold this pose for as long as possible, then switch feet. For security, have a chair nearby.
  • Single-leg stand. Stand with both feet together, then slowly lift one foot off the floor. Raise it as high as possible (some may be able to pull it into their chest, and some might have it raised above the floor) and hold it. Switch legs and repeat. Similarly, have a chair nearby for your loved one just in case.
  • Try yoga. If the above exercises are fairly easy for your loved one, the two of you should try yoga. This full-body workout is great for reducing stress, improving strength, and improving balance.

Start dancing

For something that works up a little more of a stretch, try dancing. The two of you could just put on your favorite music and follow the rhythm, or you could join a specific class. Zumba has become a very popular form of exercise for seniors, and you could just as easily find a class in-person as you could online!

Dancing is a fantastic way to improve strength, balance, and agility without it feeling like much exercise at all. Just make sure you find a class that fits your loved one’s needs best.

Be paid for the work you already do

Did you know you can receive compensation for the work you already do? Home Care Powered by AUAF trains family caregivers in all the essential standards of home care for seniors so they can offer their loved ones the support they need. Once training is complete, you can start receiving compensation.

For more information on our family caregiver program, give us a call at 773-274-9262. We would love to help.

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