Great Chair Exercises for Seniors

Staying physically active isn’t as easy for older adults as it once was. Chronic conditions such as arthritis, injuries, and other medical conditions can make it almost impossible to get to the gym. However, you don’t need fancy gym equipment to get your blood pumping. Even if mobility is an issue, there are plenty of great chair exercises for seniors that you can try.

Great Chair Exercises for Seniors

Are chair exercises actually beneficial?

In short: yes! Chair exercises, or seated exercises, can yield the same benefits you would expect from more traditional forms of exercise. If you struggle with balance or have limited mobility, seated exercises give you the freedom you need to move without the fear of a fall.

In addition, seated exercises help you live a healthier life. Increasing your heart rate and exercising different muscle groups will always be beneficial. Just like in standing exercises, chair workouts build lean muscle, increase blood circulation, improve joint health, and even prevent bone fractures by building strength in your muscles and bones. Even if you only exercise for fifteen minutes, that limited time will have an impact on your overall well-being.

Before you change your exercise regimen or start a new one, you should always consult with your doctor. Certain exercises for seniors may not be suited for certain conditions, and your doctor can tell you if they are safe. If you experience chest pain, nausea, or dizziness while exercising, speak to your doctor.

Great chair exercises for seniors

While you don’t need a special chair to perform any of these exercises, it’s important you choose the right chair. Don’t try these exercises on a folding chair or one with wheels. It is also better to select a chair without armrests, but that isn’t necessary. If your flooring is particularly smooth, push the chair up against a wall so you don’t have to worry about the chair slipping.

Once you’ve selected the right seat, you’re ready to start exploring a new exercise regimen.

Seated side-bends

Side-bends stretch your abdominal and arm muscles alike—and they translate wonderfully to seated exercise. To practice this move, start by sitting in a chair with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Sit up straight, lift your left hand, then bend at the waist so your hand is pointed towards the floor. Hold for as long as you’d like, then return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Seated calf-raises

Calf-raises provide the backs of your legs and your knees a wonderful stretch. Sit tall in your chair with your feet flat on the ground, then slowly lift your heels until you feel a squeeze in your calves. Lower then back to the ground, then repeat. You can practice this exercise with the intent of stretching out the muscles by holding the position, or you can treat it more like aerobic exercise by moving through the motions more quickly.

Seated jacks

You may be surprised to learn there is a seated alternative to jumping jacks, but there most certainly is. These make for fantastic aerobic exercise even in the seated position. Start by sitting forward slightly in the chair with your legs together and arms at your sides. Raise your arms above your head into a V, then bring them back to the starting position. You can either keep your legs still or extend them out on either side of you as you stretch your arms. Move as slowly or quickly as you’d like.

Chair exercises for seniors are great


You can even get a core workout when practicing chair exercises. The knee-to-elbow, sometimes known as bicycle kicks, is a great way to get your blood pumping. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground, then clasp your hands behind your head with your elbows wide. Twist your upper body to the right and lift your right knee to tap your left elbow. Return to the starting position and repeat the move on the opposite side. Similar to the calf raises, you can either hold the position or move more quickly for an aerobic exercise.

Dumbbell bicep curls

Just about any sort of arm workout involving weights can be easily translated to a seated position. For bicep curls, start by sitting tall in a chair with a dumbbell in either of your hands. Allow your arms to hang at your sides with your palms facing forward, then bend your elbows to curl the dumbbells to your shoulders. Return to your starting position, then repeat as many times as you’d like.


While this move is more of a functional practice than one for genuine exercise, it is still extremely useful. As the name implies, you practice rising from a chair and sitting down again in one fluid motion. You may use your hands to hold onto the sides of the chair as you lower back into a seat, or you may stand halfway before completely sitting. Once the process is easier, you can make it more difficult by keeping your arms crossed over your chest.

Online chair workouts

If you struggle with getting started, or perhaps are a visual learner, you have the internet at your hands. There are thousands of free videos you can follow along with for chair exercises alone! You may be surprised by the variety of content you can find. You can even build an entire workout around these videos– use one as a warmup, one as the actual exercise regimen, and another as a cool-down.

Consider your skill level, how long you’d like to exercise, and what kind of exercise you’d like to partake in, then select a video that fits your needs best. Many of these videos are designed to be repeated in cycles, so you would follow the relay, take a break, and then repeat. This would be a fantastic way to measure your change in physicality. As you get stronger, you can complete more relays.

Stay healthy and happy with the help of an at-home caregiver

As you journey towards a healthier and happier lifestyle, your at-home caregiver is there with you every step of the way. They can assist with the process by preparing healthy meals, keeping you clean and comfortable, and even going on walks with you.

Home Care Powered by AUAF has supported seniors for 30 years, and we would be happy to support you too. For more information on our services, give us a call at 773-274-9262.

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