Safe exercise for frail or wheelchair-bound seniors
Exercise helps keep seniors as healthy and happy as possible. Along with improving strength, flexibility, and blood circulation, exercise also boosts mood!
Chair exercises are excellent for seniors who are frail, at risk of falling, have severe joint problems, or are wheelchair-bound.
What are chair exercises for seniors?
Chair exercises are workouts that are done while seated on a regular chair with back support. The chair shouldn’t have arms and shouldn’t fold, roll, slide, or be unsteady.
The goal is to provide a steady base so your older adult stays safe while moving their arms and legs during their workout.
Why chair exercises are good for seniors
A major benefit of chair exercises is the reduced risk of falling. It’s also a great way for wheelchair-bound seniors to get the health benefits of exercise.
Chair exercises can be just as challenging as regular standing workouts, especially for upper body or abdominal muscles. Another advantage is that exercising while sitting is less effort than standing and puts less pressure on lower body joints like knees or ankles.
6 chair exercises in a 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, a resistance band (some may not need this), and optional ankle weights.
These six seated exercises help seniors:
- Build or maintain muscle
- Get heart rate up
- Improve blood circulation
- Increase flexibility
- Increase range of motion
Use the video as an exercise instructor
This video is handy because it’s a full routine with clear directions that can be easily followed. After getting used to the routine, your senior can just follow the spoken instructions and get a great workout!
This is a great routine to do 2 to 3 times a week. As your older adult builds strength, they can add on more days or do the routine more than once.
Preventing injury is the top priority
It’s important to make sure your older adult is steady on their chair and able to handle these exercises. It’s still possible to fall out of a chair and break something!
The first few times they try new exercises, ask them to take it slowly and not overexert themselves. Stand close by until they’ve proven that they can safely do the movements on their own.
By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: Reliant Home Health