Exercise is essential for all ages, especially for those whose daily lives don’t naturally involve as much movement – we work particularly with seniors and, for NDIS participants, people of all ages.
The well-recognised benefits and importance of exercise are widely known. Studies have shown that regular physical activity can increase life expectancy and reduce the chance of various diseases. However, for many seniors, regular exercise can be demanding due to physical health deterioration. In the current global pandemic, seniors have found it incredibly challenging to maintain a normal exercise routine.
It’s important in helping reduce the risk of developing certain health conditions, as well as boosting your mood, keeping you active, and managing current health challenges. When you prefer to exercise with ease in a supportive community, seated exercise with Easy Exercising can offer an incredible way to stay on top of your fitness.
It’s possible to exercise in a chair at home, and we’ll go through ways to do that in this article. But for the added benefit of a supportive community, nothing beats the power-assisted exercise chairs at an Easy Exercising clinic.
How effective is seated exercise?
Whether you believe it or not, you can get an effective workout in, all from the comfort of your chair. It offers all the benefits of standing exercise, but without the risk.
Chair exercises can help:
- Keep your joints flexible
- Decrease joint pain and stiffness
- Improve your range of motion and mobility
- Strengthen and stabilize your muscles
- Improve your balance
- Prevent falls and injuries
- Lower your stress levels
- Elevate mood and concentration
- Increase blood circulation
- Improves coordination
After just a few weeks of regular chair exercise, you’ll see an improvement in your overall health, fitness, and well-being.
And it’s not just rumour, a 2001 study shows that chair-based exercise programmes improve upper extremity and lower extremity function.
“The findings suggest that chair-based exercises are effective and should be promoted as simple and easily implemented activities to maintain and develop strength.”
How often should seniors and NDIS participants do seated exercises?
The Centers for Disease Control recommends seniors exercise around 150 minutes per week, whether that’s 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week or a more spread out approach. You can easily achieve 20 minutes a day from a chair if you simply do your exercises from the couch or even once you’ve finished eating at the dining table and are waiting for someone else to finish.
The CDC also noted that some physical activity is always better than none, meaning that, if you can’t bring yourself to do more vigorous exercise, 150 minutes a week of seated exercise is perfect for staying healthy.
Especially when our joints and bodies are saying “no more” to extreme gym workouts…
When to consider seated exercise for seniors?
If any of the criteria below apply to you, seated exercises may be the ideal solution.
- If you have poor balance and a greater risk of falling during physical activity
- Joint discomfort, which makes standing strenuous
- A limited range of movement or impaired mobility
- Those who are in the process of recovering from a medical procedure or injury
- Those wishing to embark on their fitness journey and require a careful start, or
- Those looking to try something new and revitalize their wellness routine
What are some of the beat seated exercises for seniors and NDIS participants?
There are a great range of seated exercises that can be done at home and work to improve your mobility and prevent falls. A quick Google search will pull up hundreds of results, with different guides and for different levels of difficulty.
We’ve found some of the best exercises for seniors and NDIS participants and combined them into this one list.
Safety note: For these exercises, choose a solid, stable chair that does not have wheels. You should be able to sit with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent at right angles. Avoid arms with chairs where possible, as they will restrict your movement. Remember to build up slowly and gradually increase the repetitions of each exercise over time.
The chest stretch is a great and easy exercise for posture.
Simply sit up right and away from the back of your chair (so you can achieve proper posture). Pull your shoulders back and down, extending your arms out to the side.Gently push your chest forward and up until you feel your chest gently stretching.
Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat 5 times if possible.
This stretch is great for developing and maintaining flexibility in the upper back.
Start by sitting upright with your feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms and reach for your shoulders, resting your hands gently on them. Without moving your hips (this part is important!) turn your upper body to the left as far as is comfortable. Hold for 5 seconds, or as long as possible.
Repeat on the other side. Do 5 times on each side, if possible.
Want to strengthen your hips and thighs? This exercise will help with that, and improve your mobility.
Sit upright and do not lean on the back of the chair (posture, remember!). Hold onto the sides of the chair. Then, lift your left leg with your knee bent as far as is comfortable. Place your foot down with control.
Repeat with the opposite leg, doing 5 lifts with each leg.
If you want to improve ankle flexibility and lower the risk of developing a blood clot, this ankle stretch is a great exercise for you.
Sit upright, hold onto the side of your chair and straighten your left leg with your foot up off the floor. With your leg straight and raised, point your toes away from you, and then back toward you again.
Try 2 sets of 5 stretches with each foot.
To build shoulder strength, sit upright with your arms by your sides.
With your palms forward, raise both arms out and to the side, and up as far as is comfortable for you. Then, return to the starting position and repeat 5 times.
Be sure to keep your shoulders down and arms straight throughout. Breathe out when you raise your arms and in as you lower them.
This stretch is a great way to improve your neck mobility and flexibility.
Start sitting upright with your shoulders down. Look straight ahead. Slowly turn your head toward your left shoulder, as far as is comfortable. Hold for 5 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat on the right side and do 3 rotations on each side.
Tight neck muscles? This stretch is great for that!
Sit upright, look straight ahead and hold your left shoulder down with your right hand. Slowly tilt your head to the right while holding your shoulder down and repeat on the other side. Hold each stretch for 5 seconds, if possible, and do 3 times on each.
The shoulder muscles are of paramount importance. They enable us to achieve a wide variety of motions. Maintaining the health of these muscles allows us to efficiently perform simple tasks such as brushing our hair or throwing a ball for recreational activities. Excessive use of arms may cause fatigue due to wear and tear of shoulder muscles as age advances. Shoulder circles performed in a seated position are an effective exercise for targeting this group of muscles; they promote mobility, provide a body warm-up, and enhance flexibility for an improved range of motion.
Seated Bicep Curls
The bicep is vital in helping us complete daily tasks and maintain independence. Performing seated bicep curls is a straightforward way to keep them in peak condition. All you need is a comfortable seat and a lightweight dumbbell or easy-to-grip object. Sit upright, and in one motion, curl the weight up towards your shoulder. Then, slowly, in a controlled manner, release it down towards your lap.
Seated Tummy Twist
This exercise is a great way to work the entire core and stretch the spine. Utilising a medicine ball or similar object will provide full tension in the abdominal area.
This stretch should provide relief if a senior is experiencing discomfort in the lower back, neck, or chest regions.
Easy Exercising’s seated, power-assisted exercise programs
Easy Exercising offers a safe and welcoming community at a number of locations, perfect for those looking to exercise with ease in a supportive community.
When you do a session at Easy Exercising you will be using unique, power assisted machines. They do the exercise for you so that your individual, gentle program safely gets you to your goals as quickly as a bench press – without the grunting, stress or sweat. No pain: just laughter and a friendly chat as you exercise.
It’s the perfect way to enjoy the best of seated exercise, while knowing you’re improving mobility, reducing joint pain, and so much more in an effective and easy way.
“I think this is the best form of exercise for people that have aches and pains or a disability. Very friendly people and a good relaxed atmosphere. I have been able to get my arm above my head now, that’s something I have not been able to do for years. Also building up core muscles ready for spine surgery. Someone’s always there to make sure you are using the equipment to get the most benefit from the workout.”
No matter who you are, we can all benefit from seated exercises. Seniors and NDIS participants, especially, can enjoy all the benefits of reducing health conditions, improved challenges, as well as boosted mood and a greater quality of life, without the stress or strain of a usual workout.
If you’re interested in making your seated workout all the more beneficial, explore our services here and come enjoy a free trial session.