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8 easy in-home exercises for seniors (no equipment needed!)

Discover simple yet effective in-home exercises to help you stay fit and healthy

As you age, it can become more challenging to get regular exercise. In fact, research has shown that only 35% to 44% of adults 75 years or older are physically active. [1]

To help you stay fit and healthy into your golden years, we’ve compiled a list of easy exercises for seniors to do from the comfort of their own home—no equipment needed!

Some of these exercises may seem simple, but they’re all extremely effective either in strengthening, stretching, or both. We’ve listed them in order from least strenuous to most strenuous.

Exercise #1: Single leg raises

Single leg raises are an extremely effective in-home exercise for seniors to improve leg strength and overall balance. This exercise can be performed either standing or sitting. 

How to: If you’re standing, hold on to the back of a stationary chair and lift one foot in front of you while balancing on the other. Hold that position for as long as you can (or up to 1 minute) and switch legs. 

If you’re sitting, extend one leg out in front of you to strengthen the thigh and hip muscles. Lift your leg up as high as you can without rounding your back and keep your foot flexed to engage your ankle and shin muscles. Hold for three counts and then lower. Repeat as many times as you can or up to ten repetitions. 

Exercise #2: Lateral arm raises

Lateral arm raises are a great in-home exercise for seniors if you’re looking to improve your arm and shoulder strength without overexerting your body. 

How to: Raise your arms up and out to the sides so that they’re at shoulder height. Lower them back down to your sides with a fluid and constant motion until you have completed as many as you can or for up to thirty seconds.

Exercise #3: Sit-to-stand

Standing up from a chair without using your hands is an especially productive practice for aging adults. This exercise helps you maintain good health, fitness, and mobility. Additionally, the ability to get up and down from a couch or the toilet is often a determining factor when deciding if a senior can live independently or is in need of additional care. 

How to: Stand in front of a stationary chair with your feet between hip and shoulder width apart. Your heels should be about six inches in front of the chair with your arms held out straight out in front of your shoulders. Be sure to brace your core as best as you can.

Next, slowly bend your knees and push your hips back to slowly sit in the chair. Take a brief pause, and then press through the back two-thirds of your feet to stand up again. Aim to work up to repeating this process for two or three sets of 10 reps total per day. 

Exercise #4: Tandem stance 

If you’re looking for an in-home exercise for seniors to help decrease the risk of falls, tandem stance is the one for you. This exercise can be performed every day to improve balance and stability which increases overall body function and decreases the risk of falls. 

How to: Stand up straight with your feet together, and brace your core as best as you can. Then step one foot in front of you so that your front foot’s heel is against your back foot’s toes. Be sure to hold onto a wall, counter, or sturdy chair for balance, if you need. Your feet should be in a completely straight line as if you’re walking on a balance beam. Hold this position for as long as you can or up to 30 seconds, then switch the position of your feet and repeat.

Exercise #5: Walking

Walking is a great exercise for seniors to incorporate into your everyday routine to improve cardiovascular health, decrease stress, and lower blood pressure. 

Taking a walk is a low impact exercise, so it poses few risks. However, if you’re unsteady when walking or have a high risk of falling, be sure to have someone else take a walk with you for support when needed. You can walk around your neighborhood, your garden, or the inside of your home, and go at whatever pace provides you a good workout without overexerting yourself.  

Exercise #6: Climbing steps

Climbing stairs has a multitude of benefits including strengthening your core muscles for increased balance, improving endurance, and strengthening your heart. 

Regularly climbing stairs can improve your overall stamina which will then allow you to perform other aerobic activities that improve your breathing and cardiovascular health.

Safety tips: Always hold the handrail, and be sure not to overexert yourself when climbing stairs. Start slowly and increase your repetitions over time. If you’re unsteady on your feet or feeling tired, be sure to have someone walk with you to be there for added support if needed.  

Exercise #7: Wall-push ups

Wall push-ups are a great in-home exercise for seniors to strengthen your upper body, especially your arms and chest. The stronger these muscles, the easier it is to do everyday activities like getting out of a chair or walking up the stairs. 

How to: Stand in front of a sturdy wall, as close as you need to or up to two feet away. Place your hands up against the wall directly in front of your shoulders, keeping your body straight and bending your elbows to lean in towards the wall. Stop with your face close to the wall and then straighten your arms to push your body away from the wall. Do as many as you can or up to two sets of ten. 

Exercise #8: Tai-chi 

Tai-chi has become a popular exercise for seniors over the years, and it’s no surprise why! The Chinese martial arts form has a multitude of health benefits while being relatively easy to learn and follow. 

Tai-chi for seniors traditionally includes slow movements that teach participants to focus on breathing correctly. The concentration on the movements helps you relax and relieve stress, while the deep breathing and learning to focus helps improve balance—which can help prevent injury and falls. 

Usually, you feel more calm and energetic after a tai-chi session. Tai-chi is usually learned in a class taught by an instructor, but there are also tutorials available online. 

In conclusion

Even though it can seem daunting, it’s important for seniors to engage in regular exercise. Working to improve your balance, strength, and flexibility is important for maintaining good overall health which in turn improves your chances of staying independent as you age.

We hope these in-home exercises for seniors provide a good place for you to start!

Looking for a caregiver to help you or a loved one? 

We’re dedicated to helping seniors and adults with disabilities to continue to experience the richness of life, retain their individuality, and enjoy the freedom to be themselves in the comfort of their own home.

Our trained, compassionate caregivers can assist with a variety of needs including personal care, cooking and serving nutritious meals, transportation, and companionship.

To learn more, please request your Free Consultation today.

Sources:

1: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 

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