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Chair exercises help seniors maintain health and independence by improving muscular strength. Seated exercises help prevent seniors from falling during exercise and limit energy expenditure to each specific exercise. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that seniors do two weekly strength training sessions. Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Lateral raises tone the shoulders, contributing to good posture and an increase in physical capability. Hold a light weight in each hand, sit on a chair and straighten your back. Hang your arms by your sides and turn your palms toward one another. Relax your shoulders and lift the weights out to your sides. Stop when your arms are parallel to the floor, then lower slowly to the start position. Complete eight to 12 repetitions, stopping when your shoulders fatigue. Increase the weight if 12 repetitions does not challenge you enough.
Biceps curls strengthen the front of the upper arms. Strong biceps make it easier to perform activities of daily living such as carrying groceries, showering and gardening. Hold a light weight in each hand and sit on a chair. Straighten your back and hang your arms by your sides. Turn your palms forward and slowly lift the weights toward your shoulders. Stop before they contact your shoulders and then lower the weights slowly to the start position. Complete eight to 12 repetitions, stopping when the front of your arms fatigue. Increase the weight if 12 repetitions does not challenge your biceps.
Tummy twists strengthen the stomach and arm muscles, contributing to good posture and core strength. Use a ball, dumbbell or weighted object during this exercise. Sit on a chair and hold the ball close to your stomach while pressing your elbows against your sides. Rotate your torso to your right, return to the center, then rotate to your left. Complete eight to 12 repetitions, stopping when your sides fatigue.
Leg extensions strengthen the quadriceps, located on the front of the thighs. The quadriceps assist in power walking, help maintain balance and make it easier to bend over and lift objects. Sit on a chair, straighten your back and rest your feet on the ground. Lift your right foot off the ground an inch or two, then straighten your leg out in front of you. Maintain a slight bend in your knee to prevent knee injury. Lower your foot to the ground and complete eight to 12 repetitions, stopping when your legs fatigue. Do the same with your left leg. Wear ankle weights to increase difficulty.
Thigh squeezes tone the inner thighs. Sit on the edge of a chair and place a medicine ball or a rolled towel in between your knees. Straighten your back and press both knees against the ball. Hold for 10 seconds, then release. Do this eight to 10 times. Increase holding time as you become stronger.
- MayoClinic.com: Healthy Aging