As the body ages, strength and mobility can start to suffer. After a while, activities like climbing stairs, getting out of a chair, or even reaching for an item can become considerably more difficult. But, there’s good news: you can take charge and work to strengthen your body, which can prolong and improve your quality of life.
Physical activity – yes, exercise – is the number-one way to maintain strength and mobility. Even if you’re stuck at home, there’s no reason you can’t exercise in a gentle, controlled way that fits your abilities and circumstances. Of course, at-home exercises are designed to make you healthier, not hurt you, so be sure to talk to a healthcare professional before beginning any new exercise routines.
When you’re ready to start exercising, take a look at these seated, low-impact ways to improve strength and mobility at home, courtesy of ViveHealth.
Exercises for Strong Arms
Seated Rows strengthen your shoulders, chest, and upper back without putting stress on your joints.
- Sit on the edge of your seat with your feet flat on the floor.
- Hold your arms in front of you, with your thumbs pointed toward the ceiling and your elbows slightly bent.
- Draw your elbows back, squeezing your shoulder blades together, until your upper arms are in line with your body.
- Extend your arms again.
- Repeat 8-10 times.
Shoulder Rolls engage your shoulders and trapezius muscles, which are essential for lifting and carrying objects.
- Sit tall with your feet flat on the ground.
- Shrug your shoulders up toward your ears, and slowly rotate your shoulders in a circle — back, down, forward, and back to the top.
- When you reach the top, reverse the movement, rolling your shoulders forward, down, back, and to the top.
- Perform 10 repetitions in each direction, for a total of 20 reps.
Exercises for Strong Legs
Toe Taps strengthen your calves and the muscles around your shins, which you need to climb stairs and perform daily activities.
- Sit up straight with your feet flat on the ground.
- Bend your toes toward the ceiling and back to the floor.
- Perform 8-10 repetitions.
Advanced Tip: To increase the range of motion, sit on the edge of your seat with your legs straight and keep your heels on the ground as you bend your toes upward and then back down.
Knee Lifts strengthen your quads, the largest muscle group in your body. Stronger quads will make almost every day-to-day activity easier.
- Sit up straight with your feet flat.
- Slowly lift your right knee toward your chest, and then lower your foot back to the floor.
- Repeat with your left leg.
- Perform 10 repetitions per leg, for a total of 20 reps.
Exercises for Flexibility
Knee to Chest stretches work your hamstrings and glutes, which are big muscles that need to be flexible to prevent injuries.
- Sit up straight with your left foot firmly on the ground.
- Grasp the back of your right knee, and slowly pull it toward your chest until you feel a stretch.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds, and then repeat with your left leg.
- Perform three repetitions per side.
Seated Forward Bends stretch your lower and upper back to make activities like tying your shoe or reaching for the top shelf easier.
- Widen your legs, and place your feet flat on the floor.
- Slowly lean forward, dropping your torso toward your thighs.
- Relax your neck, and lower your hands toward your feet. When you feel a stretch, hold the position for 30 seconds, and then slowly return to the starting position.
- Repeat three times.
Maintaining or improving your physical health can seem like an impossible task, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve done lifts or stretches. But don’t worry: these at-home exercises are designed for everyone, regardless of current strength, mobility, or level of fitness. Even the most complicated exercise in this list is only five steps, while Toe Taps are the easiest to remember with only three simple movements.
For a complete list of seated exercises for older adults, read 18 Chair Exercises for Seniors & How to Get Started. Or, you can follow along with this video trainer!
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If you or a loved one are in need of help living a safe, active, and independent lifestyle, call the Davis Community today at 910-686-7195 or simply complete and submit our online information request form. We provide exceptional assisted living and skilled nursing services in Wilmington, NC. We offer a strong and supportive environment where your loved one will feel welcomed and part of an active community. Davis Community is pleased to offer customized concierge home care services, including meal preparation and nutritional guidance, to independent seniors living in Landfall, Cambridge Village, Wrightsville Beach, and Porter’s Neck, NC. Get to know the difference today!