Exercises for Seniors

Exercises for seniors are essential to prevent the unwanted effects fatigue and deconditioning. Exercise with improve your endurance and strength so you can go about your day comfortably performing any daily chore that may come your way.

Muscular endurance will allow you to sustain a movement for a long period of time. Something as simple as folding a basket full of laundry can be very fatiguing for a senior. With strength training, 20 minutes of folding clothes will be a breeze.

  1. Single Leg Balance
  2. Bird Dog
  3. Squats
  4. Step Jacks
Watch my instructional video

Beginning with the single leg balance exercise will serve to focus your mind and increase your awareness of your lower body and the sensation you feel from the ground. Your brain will also wake up in order to keep your torso from falling over. Then moving on to the bird dog exercise which is designed to improve your core strength and ability to maintain a still pelvis and back while your arms and legs are moving. Performing squats only makes sense as one of the best exercises for your legs. Seniors need strong legs for most things the will encounter during the day, from loading laundry to waling up stairs. Endurance is gained with the step jacks along with balance and leg and arm strength. One of the most all-around exercises a senior can perform to stay fit.

Exercise 1

Single Leg Balance. Begin by standing at the side of your chair with your feet close together. Holding on to the chair, lift one foot off the ground and balance on the other. Look straight ahead and focus on a spot on the wall. This will help balance. Try to hold for 20 seconds on each leg. For more of a challenge, hold on with only one finger or no fingers at all.

Exercise 2

Bird Dog Exercise. Begin by standing facing the seat of your chair. Reach down with both hands and hold the seat on either side. Stabilize your core muscles, tighten your abdominal muscles, bring your belly button to your spine. Slowly lift your opposite arm and leg toward the wall in front and behind you. Hold briefly and then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Try to maintain your hips and spine as still as possible without side to side movement. Keep your core tight and breath naturally in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Exercise 3

Squats. Begin by standing in front of your chair with feet hip width apart, hands together at your chest level. Begin the squat by bringing your tailbone down and back toward the chair behind you. Make sure to keep your knees behind your toes as you squat. The more you can bring your tailbone backwards, the better your squat will be and this will help you avoid any sore or painful knees. Repeat 10 times.

Exercise 4

Step Jacks. Begin standing with your feet together and arms at sides. Step to the side with one leg while raising both arms out to the side and overhead. Return to the starting position and then step to the other side while again bringing your arms out to the side and overhead. Repeat for 1 minute.

Before any of these exercises for seniors, it is important to limber and warm up your joints and muscles for 5 minutes. Warming up our muscles will improve the ability to stretch and move our arms and legs. A good warm up is simple marching around your room or home, lifting your knees as you go, and also swinging your arms. Remember to breathe deeply in through your nose to fill the bottom portion of your lungs. This will engage your core and diaphragm.

This exercise routing above has something for everyone. Balance training with the single leg stand is a fundamental exercise that will go a long way in improving your balance. The bird dog is great for your core and back strength. The squat is king of the leg exercises and the step jacks will work on not only your endurance but also your flexibility.

Seniors need to exercise several times a week to maintain the gains of using these exercises above. I like a schedule of monday, wednesday, and friday for my exercises sessions. This gives you the perfect balance of 3 days a week while also allowing you a day rest in between sessions.

Exercises for seniors, as we have seen, can positively affect your life and improve so many areas, including strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility. Working hard to maintain a consistent exercise schedule and develop the exercise habit are important steps in creating a life that performs all chores and tasks easily and without fatigue.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like to see other exercises or senior fitness content. You can leave your comments and suggestions on my About Page. Need personal help? Check out my new Academy. Exercise is really your magic pill to feel better and live longer. Remember to stay active, stay strong, and stay connected!

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Doug Schrift

Doug Schrift is a Physical Therapist, Certified Geriatric Specialist, and senior fitness coach. Doug helps seniors become strong and stable even if they have never exercised before.