It can be difficult to build an exercise plan, especially if you struggle with poor balance, fatigue, or lack of space. Going for a run or visiting a gym might not be an option, and equipment can be expensive and heavy. Many seniors struggle with staying fit because they don’t have the energy or resources to exercise.
However, you don’t need equipment, space, or lots of energy to maintain your balance and strength. Chair and wall exercises can be done in your own home, so you can set fitness goals and avoid overexerting yourself.
Benefits of Chair & Wall Exercises
Like any form of physical activity, chair and wall exercises are great for your health. It’s important for people to stay active, especially as they get older. Muscles and joints tend to degrade when they go unused, so you should do your best to keep your body fit and flexible.
Recreational activities like swimming, walks, and gentle sports boost your mental and cardiovascular health. Structured, repetitive exercises improve your fitness level and target certain muscles.
It’s important to strike a balance between these two forms of physical activity. Without recreational activities, exercise can begin feeling like a chore that you’d rather avoid. Without structured exercise, it can become difficult to keep up with your hobbies.
Most adults over the age of 65 perform activities like gardening or walking regularly, but many of them give up all physical activities by 75. Their stamina and strength can no longer keep up with the demands of their hobbies, so they stop. This is why structured workouts are important; keeping your body strong through exercise can help you maintain a happy, active lifestyle.
Chair and wall exercises are a great way to get a full workout at your own pace. Not only do they get your blood flowing, but they can:
- Strengthen your muscles
- Improve your balance
- Alleviate joint pain and stiffness (arthritis)
- Boost your stamina
- Reduce the risk of chronic disease
- Lower blood pressure
- Maintain your mobility and independence
- Improve your quality of life
Chair and wall exercises also come with the added benefit of being gentle, safe, and private. If you struggle with muscle weakness, poor balance, or anxiety, you might be hesitant to exercise at a gym or park. These exercises can be done in the safety and privacy of your own home, so you can do them whenever and wherever you’d like.
Chair Exercises for Seniors
Before beginning these chair exercises, make sure someone is nearby or a phone is within reach. Wear comfortable clothes, and make sure the chair you’re using is sturdy. Once you feel safe and ready to begin, you can get started.
Actual jumping jacks can be hard on your joints, but seated jacks are gentle and easy.
- While seated, place your knees together.
- Lift your arms above your head.
- Spread your legs into a ‘V’ shape while extending your arms to the sides.
- Bring your knees back together and your arms back above your head.
Gentler alternatives: If you’re struggling to do both at the same time, do your arms and legs separately in different sets. If you’re struggling with flexibility, try spreading your knees only, and drop your arms to your sides before lifting them midway.
Full Leg Routine
This actually involves multiple exercises, all wrapped up into one neat routine. Take a look.
- While seated, straighten your back and place your feet firmly on the floor.
- Raise your toes as high as you can before pressing back down.
- Repeat 10-20 times.
- Lift your heels as high as you can before pressing back down.
- Repeat 10-20 times.
- Lift your knee(s) as high as you can before lowering them. If you cannot do both knees at the same time, just do them separately.
- Repeat 10-15 times for each knee.
Gentler alternatives: If you’re struggling with the toe-taps, just focus on wriggling or lifting your toes. If knee-lifts are too difficult, try to raise your feet off the ground in gentle marching motions.
Chair squats are something that you do every day, but condensed into a proper exercise.
- Sit in the chair with your back straight and your feet apart.
- Lift yourself from the chair and stand upright.
- Put your arms in front of you and bend forward, like you’re about to sit down.
- Hold this squatting position.
- Lower yourself until your butt is in the chair.
Gentler alternatives: Many people struggle with this exercise at first. If you’re having trouble, have someone help you up and down, or place your walker in front of you for support.
If you’d like more exercises and a visual guide, here’s a tutorial to help you get a full, 15-minute chair workout.
Wall Exercises for Seniors
Much like their counterparts, wall exercises are designed to provide stability while working out. Pick a wall with nothing against it, and make sure to give yourself plenty of space while doing these exercises.
When you perform push-ups against the ground, gravity is against you. By doing them against the wall, you’re allowing gravity to work with you.
- Place your feet apart and your hands on the wall. The further you are from the wall, the more difficult your push-up will be. Start small and increase the distance slowly.
- While keeping your back straight, bend your arms and bring yourself towards the wall.
- Hold this position.
- Lift yourself back away from the wall until your arms are straight.
- Hold this position.
- Repeat 8-10 times.
Make sure your hands are spread far apart while doing this exercise. For a visual reference, you can use this tutorial:
Normal lunges can be difficult if you struggle with balance. Adding a wall can give you the support you need to do this exercise safely and effectively.
- Place both hands against the wall.
- One at a time, step backwards until you’re learning towards the wall.
- Bring one foot forward into the lunging position.
- Bend your knee. You should feel the stretch in your calves.
- Hold this position.
- Keep your hands above you on the wall and drop your head; this will stretch your shoulders and neck as well.
- Shift your foot back and bring the other one forward into the lunging position.
- Repeat 10-15 times on each side.
Gentler alternatives: If you’re struggling with either the wall lunge or wall push-up, you can simplify the exercises by doing less. You shouldn’t feel pain or strain while doing these exercises, just gentle stretching and exertion.
There are plenty of exercises you can do against the wall. If you’re looking for more inspiration, here is a full workout routine that you can follow along: