Chair Exercises for Seniors

In this article...
  • These chair exercises seniors are safe and easy to perform at home, and they can help older adults improve their balance. Learn more about how to stay active and healthy without having to leave the house.

Exercising can be an unsettling thought for older adults living with pain, hindered mobility or diminished balance. But what if you could exercise without ever leaving your chair?

Chair exercises present the perfect opportunity to keep your body moving while watching TV or reading. Here are five chair exercises for seniors that can benefit your health and improve your balance without straining your body.

Note: Be sure to speak with your doctor before performing any of these exercises. It may help to find videos online for each exercise so that you can see the proper form.

1. Seated Knee Extensions

Position yourself in a chair with your back straight and your arms at your sides. Extend and straighten one leg and hold for three seconds. You’ll know if you are doing it correctly if you feel your thigh muscle tighten. 

Alternate legs until you’ve done 15 extensions with each leg. Or, do both legs at the same time for 15 repetitions. 

2. Ankle Pumps

Sit with your back straight and arms by your side. Lift your feet and straighten your legs, and then pump your toes up and down as if you were pressing and releasing a gas pedal. Hold each position for three seconds and perform 10 repetitions. 

3. Marching

Remain seated with your arms at your side and your back straight. March with alternating legs, bringing up one thigh as high as possible before returning it to the starting position. Pump your arms if there is room to do so and continue for 30 seconds. 

4. Clamshells

With your back straight and your arms at your side, bend your knees and place your hands on the outside of your knees. Move your knees away from each other but use your hands to provide resistance by pushing your knees inward. Hold each contraction for three seconds before relaxing and repeat for 12 repetitions. 

5. Pillow Squeezes

Place a pillow between your thighs and knees while seated with your arms at your side and your back straight. Squeeze the pillow with your legs by contracting your inner thigh muscles, hold for three second and relax. Perform 12 repetitions. 

Additional Chair Exercises

There are a number of exercises that are typically done while standing or lying down that you can do while seated in a chair.

  • Use a set of light dumbbells to do arm curls, overhead arm presses, chest flys and triceps extensions.

  • Work your core by rotating at the waist from one side to another, all while maintaining healthy straight posture.

  • Perform abdominal contractions by sliding to the edge of your chair and placing your feet on the ground, lean back, lift your legs slightly off the floor and then raise your back off the backrest. 

  • Use the armrests of the chair to do some seated press-ups by pushing your body upward from a seated position.

  • Throw gentle punches and kicks, just as you might at a punching bag in the gym. 

Check Your Medicare Fitness Benefits

If you have a Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plan or a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan, you might have a SilverSneakers or Silver&Fit membership included with your benefits. These exercise programs are specially designed for seniors and offer home workout programs in addition to on-site workouts.

A licensed insurance agent can help you compare Medicare plans to find a plan option offered near you that covers fitness memberships and other healthy lifestyle benefits.

Read More
Smiling man and his adult daughter
Learn about some of the top choices when you're seeking the best life insurance for seniors over 60. ...
Happy woman smiles while using tablet at home
Learn how to create an online Medicare account, log in and pay your Medicare bills quickly and securely ...
Smiling couple at home reviewing insurance information
Learn about some of the discounts and savings opportunities for Aetna Medicare members through ...