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Six Exercises to Help Seniors Build Strength

six exercises to help seniors build strength

With age comes wisdom—and also a decline in physical strength. As we age, we may experience overall atrophy of muscle mass, making daily tasks seem more difficult and tiring. It can also increase risk of injury by leading to incidents such as falls.

Fortunately, regular exercise can help you stay healthy in various ways, including building strength. Today, we’ll cover six exercises to help you do just that! Three can be done standing up, and three can be done sitting down.

Standing Exercise #1: Wall Push-Ups

This exercise is excellent for seniors who may be recovering from a fall or other injuries. It will help build strength in your arms and upper body, which will help prevent falls as you age.

Place your palms against the wall, standing away from it so that your arms are fully extended while your palms remain flat. Push toward the wall as if doing a standard push-up on the floor. Remember to keep your feet planted firmly and legs straight. Repeat motion 10-20 times, depending on your ability.

Standing Exercise #2: Chair Squats

Squats can help build strength in the lower back, core, and upper legs while also helping with balance.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold onto a sturdy chair, railing, or other support. Slowly squat down toward the floor until you feel comfortable with how low you are going. You do not have to squat far down to the floor—do so as low as you can while standing up comfortably. You can also incorporate light weights into the routine as you build strength.

Standing Exercise #3: Rock the Boat

This exercise is great for seniors to help them learn how to maintain balance and build up their core strengths. 

Standing straight with feet at shoulder-width, press your feet firmly to the ground. Look straight ahead. Shift your weight on one foot and bring the heel on the opposite foot off the floor—alternate feet for 30 seconds at a time. You can increase your speed as you become more comfortable with this exercise. 

Sitting Exercise #1: Lifting Weights While Seated

It’s important to build upper body strength, but it can be challenging when seated for long periods. The best way to do this exercise is with a free weight and high repetitions. 

You’ll want to start with a lighter weight, and then as you build up your strength, you can increase the weight you’re lifting. You can perform bicep curls, shoulder presses, and chest presses, all while sitting in a chair. 

Sitting Exercise #2: Sit to Stand

This exercise is great for seniors because it helps them build strength and improves their balance. 

Sitting on the edge of your seat, tighten your abdominal and lumbar muscles. Stick your chest out and slowly rise until fully standing, ensuring your knees are straight. Repeat this process ten times.

Sitting Exercise #3: Chair Yoga

Chair yoga is a fantastic way to build strength without standing or lying on the floor. You can perform a multitude of seated positions to help maintain balance and flexibility and build muscle so you can stay strong and healthy as you age.

Consider attending classes in person or online with a professional yoga instructor. The instructor will teach you how to do each exercise correctly and safely so that you do not injure yourself. 

You can also find pre-recorded chair yoga instructional videos so you can do them on your own time. Continue to perform them under the supervision of someone else until you are more confident in your ability to perform them on your own.

Build Strength at Shaker Place

The health benefits of exercise extend beyond strength management. Exercise is a great way to have more energy, feel better, and lower your heart disease, diabetes, and cancer risk. Several studies have also suggested that exercise has also been linked to brain health, improved mental capabilities, longevity, and many other things.

At Shaker Place, we know that staying healthy and fit can be difficult when you’re living in an assisted-living or long-term care facility. That’s why we offer a wide variety of physical fitness activities to help residents stay fit and active.  

Our short-term and long-term care options, with skilled nursing and rehabilitation services, are available to help seniors who’ve had injuries or surgeries rebuild their strength. If you or a loved one is interested in learning more about our physical fitness opportunities or other aspects of life at Shaker Place, please schedule a tour today!