Chair Exercises for Seniors

Along with improving strength, flexibility, & blood circulation, exercise also boosts mood, helping to keep seniors as healthy as possible.


Chair exercises, done while seated on a chair with back support, are an excellent option for seniors who are frail, at risk of falling, or have limited mobility.  The goal is to provide a steady base so your older adult stays safe while moving their arms and legs during their workout. Here’s why chair exercises are so helpful for seniors -6 effective chair exercises in an easy 10 minute routine.¹

Why chair exercises are helpful for seniors


A major benefit of chair exercises is the reduced risk of falling. It’s also a great way for seniors with limited mobility to get the health benefits of exercise. 

Chair exercises can be just as challenging as regular standing workouts, especially for upper body or core abdominal muscles. Another advantage is that exercising while sitting takes less effort than standing and puts less pressure on lower body joints like knees or ankles.  Exercise programs done in a group setting offers encouragement, social engagement and improves an overall sense of positivity!


6 chair exercises in an easy 10 minute routine

Dartmouth-Hitchcock, an East Coast health care organization, created a simple 10 minute chair exercise routine for older adults. The only equipment that’s needed is a sturdy chair with back support, an optional resistance band, and optional ankle weights.

Note: For safety, the chair shouldn’t have arms and shouldn’t easily fold, roll, slide, or be unsteady. The chair should be placed on a non-skid surface.

These 6 seated exercises help seniors:

  • Build or maintain muscle
  • Get heart rate up
  • Improve blood circulation
  • Increase flexibility
  • Increase range of motion

Start by doing the routine 2 to 3 times a week. As you build strength and endurance, add on more days or go through the routine more than once at a time.


Preventing injury is the top priority

It’s still possible to fall out of a chair and get injured so it’s important to make sure you are steady in your chair and able to handle these exercises.

The first few times you try new exercises, take it slow and do not overexert.  Have someone stand close by until you’re both confident exercises can be done safely and movements on your own.

Part of our regular fitness programming at McGregor includes walking, chair yoga, guided imagery while offering the perfect setting on our scenic 45-acre campus to get outdoors, enjoy the sunshine, experience some horticultural activities, get our fill of Vitamin D, and fresh air to clear our heads and reinvigorate us!



¹Daily Caring