Try These 6 Chair Exercises for a Full-Body Workout

Chair Exercises

Exercise is important during all phases of life—whether you’re a child, a senior, or anywhere in-between. But, not everyone is able to perform vigorous activities, and that’s where chair exercises come into play. Chair exercises for seniors can be used by almost anyone who is injured, unable to walk, unsteady on their feet, dealing with diminished physical capacity, or simply wants to switch up their fitness routine.

Exercise Recommendations for Seniors

Again, exercise is for everyone, no matter their age, but this is especially true for seniors. Just because you might be “over the hill” doesn’t mean you can stop climbing that hill. Exercise for seniors is more important than ever since you’ll want to maintain your muscle mass, build stronger bones, and stay as flexible and mobile as possible. If you’ve been healthy and active your whole life, you’ll want to continue the trend, but if you want to turn over a new leaf, getting started is easy, too.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that those aged 65 and older engage in some form of moderate aerobic type activity for a minimum of 150 minutes per week combined with 2 resistance training sessions also within that week.

But, for some folks, going to a fitness center or gym can be downright intimidating, especially if you’ve never really worked out before. That’s where chair exercises can really come in handy. Not only are they a great place to start if you’re just breaking into the world of exercise, but you can try your new moves in the privacy of your home.

Try These Chair Exercises for All Ages

Whether or not you love exercise, it’s important to get it done. And now you don’t even have to leave the house… or your chair. You can work virtually your entire body with just a chair (and a few accessories, such as dumbbells and a resistance band, if you’re up for it).

Always make sure you’re warmed up well before starting with your chair exercises. Take a 5-minute walk, go up and down the stairs a few times, or throw in a couple of jumping jacks… Whatever it takes to get the blood moving and your muscles warmed up before starting your chair exercises.

Note: Also make sure you use a chair that is heavy enough to be stable and supportive. In addition, avoid using any chair that has wheels or rollers or easily slides around.

1. Seated Leg Extensions

Best Chair Exercises

Start by sitting in a chair and grip the sides of the chair next to each thigh. Next, raise your right foot in the air, straightening your leg, and squeezing your thigh muscles as you do so. Hold the squeeze for three seconds and then bend your knee, returning your foot to the ground. Repeat for the left leg. Do 15 repetitions on each leg. As you get stronger, you can add a resistance band or an ankle weight.

Collagen and Turmeric

2. Triceps Extensions

Chair Exercises

This requires you to scoot your hips off the front edge of the chair while gripping that edge of the chair with your palms, with the arms straight and your feet either flat on the floor or, if you want the exercise to be a bit harder, with your legs straight out in front of you. (The further your feet are from the chair, the harder the exercise is.) Next, slowly bend at the elbows to allow your hips to lower toward the floor. Continue bending until your upper arms are parallel with the floor. Pause and then push back up through your hands and, using your triceps, straighten your arms to bring your hips back up to seat height. Repeat 10 times.

3. Shoulder Six-Way Raises

Chair Exercises for Seniors

Start by sitting in the chair with your feet flat on the ground and your arms by your sides. While keeping a slight bend in your elbows, lift your arms straight out to your sides until they are parallel with the floor. Next, bring them together in front of you until the sides of your thumbs can touch. Then, with arms together and staying straight, bring them all the way above your head. From the overhead position, bring your arms back down in front of you and then out to your sides and parallel with the ground again. Finally, bring your arms back down next to your hips. This is one rotation. Do five rotations.

RELATED: How to Get Keto Results WITHOUT the Keto Diet

4. Biceps Curls

These are best done with a set of dumbbells (if you have access to them) or a resistance band. If using a resistance band, loop one end around your feet and grab the other end with your hands, ensuring there is sufficient resistance in the starting position (feet flat on the floor and arms straight next to your legs). Next, bend at the elbows and bring your wrists/hands up toward your head, squeezing your biceps muscles as you do so. Then, as you unbend your arms to return to the starting position, focus on prolonging this negative portion of the movement to get a good pump in your biceps. Do 15 repetitions.

Note: You can do these with both arms at the same time or one arm at a time. Use no weight (focus on the squeeze) or try with dumbbells as well.

5. Chair Pushups with Plank

Chair Exercises

Start by facing the chair. Place your hands, palms down, on the front edge of the chair, keeping your arms vertical, hands aligned under your shoulders. Scoot your feet out behind you, keeping legs straight, until your body forms a straight line. Next, bend at the elbows and bring your chest to the edge of the chair (the pushup part of the exercise). Then, straighten your arms to push your torso back up until you’re in plank position. Hold this position for 15 seconds and then repeat the process. Do up to 15 repetitions.

6. Rowing

Sit in the chair with your feet flat on the ground, bring your arms straight out in front of you at chest height. Next, bend at the elbows and bring your elbows as far back as you can (figuratively trying to “touch your elbows behind your back). Squeeze your back muscles as you do this. If you have a resistance band, try wrapping it around a stable surface, grasping one end of the band in each hand, and then pulling your arms back (as described above) but with the added tension. Repeat this movement ten times.

There are many other exercises you can do with a chair. Try using the chair to stabilize yourself as you do squats, lunges of all varieties, calf raises, leg swings, numerous stretches, and more. And if you want to add a bit of cardio to the mix, try standing or walking in-between each repetition to up your calorie burn. Use your imagination and have some fun!