10 Senior Chair Exercises for Everyone

senior chair exercises

Regular exercising provides our bodies with numerous health benefits, including heart health, improved mobility, enhanced blood circulation, etc.

Thus, older adults need to make exercising a part of their daily routine to help them lead healthy, fun, and active lifestyles.

At Seasons Retirement, we encourage and create avenues for older adults to remain healthy and independent by engaging them in various activities, including hip exercises, yoga, pilates, and so on.

Here, we will focus on senior chair exercises to help older adults remain fit and in great shape. Check with your healthcare provider before starting any new fitness routine.

10 Senior Chair Exercises for Older Adults

Chair exercises benefit the body by providing more flexibility and improving the immune system when done correctly and frequently.

Older adults can easily practice these chair exercises for seniors with music playing in the background. This way, they can perform the movements following the rhythm of the songs, making the entire activity more enjoyable.

Now, let’s discuss 10 of the best senior chair exercises for seniors.

1.    Bicep curls.

Biceps curls focus on the shoulders, upper arms, and forearms. To practice biceps curls:

  • Sit upright in a chair;
  • Curl your right arm, starting with your elbows to the top, and gently lower it back down;
  • Repeat the process for your left hand.

You can choose to exercise both arms at once.

2.    Shoulder rolls.

This exercise works on your shoulders and trapezius muscles, which are crucial for lifting and carrying objects. Here are the steps to perform this activity:

  • Put your feet firmly on the floor while sitting tall — gently raise your shoulders toward your ears;
  • Slowly move them in a circle, going back, down, forward, and up;
  • Reverse the motion when you get to the top;
  • Take a forward, downward, backward, and top-up shoulder roll;
  • Twenty reps total — ten in each direction — should be executed.

3.    Neck extension stretch.

This is one of the most beneficial chair yoga exercises for seniors because it helps circulate blood in the neck and improves flexibility.

  • Sit upright without your back touching the chair’s backrest;
  • Slowly push your neck forward until you can feel the top of your head moving upward;
  • Reach gently up with your right hand to hold your right temple while holding the base of your chair with your left hand;
  • Deeply inhale, and without bending your spine or lifting your left shoulder, softly dip your right ear toward your left shoulder;
  • Take a few deep breaths in this posture before switching to the other side.

4.    Knee lifts.

Knee lifts help activate your hip flexors and calves and improve muscle endurance.

To practice knee lifts:

  • Sit on the edge of a chair and keep your toes touching the floor and your knees bent;
  • With your hands behind your hips, hold the sides of your chair;
  • Lean back slightly, but push your chest up and keep your back straight;
  • Remain in this position and exhale while you bring your knees upwards;
  • Hold knees at a suitable height;
  • Inhale while you lower your knees till your feet touch the floor.

5.    Captain’s chair.

This exercise positively affects your abdominal muscles, and here’s how to perform the Captain’s chair:

  • Sit upright in a chair and place both hands on the seat’s front edge;
  • Lift your feet off the ground with your knees bent toward your chest;
  • Raise as high as you can as long and stop if you feel any discomfort;
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles at the peak of the action before lowering both feet to the floor.

6.    Side bend stretch.

Here’s another one of the most effective seated stretches for seniors. Like many other chair exercises, it strengthens the abdominal muscles. Here’s how to carry out the activity:

  • Sit tall, with your abs tightened and your hips pointing straight forward;
  • The inside of your upper left arm should remain close to your ear as you extend it toward the ceiling;
  • Holding your left arm in that posture, slowly make a “C” shape with your spine by bending your entire upper body to the right;
  • Reach your right arm toward the floor to increase the tempo;
  • Hold the stretch for 5 to 15 seconds;
  • Repeat on the opposite side, then gradually return to the middle.

7.    Skater switch.

To do the skater switch, you need to:

  • Bend your right knee while perched on the edge of your chair, and plant your right toe on the ground;
  • Put your left leg straight out to the side, toes pointing;
  • Lean forward and reach your arms out in front of you;
  • While lifting your right arm behind your body and bending at the waist, reach your left arm to the bottom of your right foot;
  • Straighten your back and bring your arms forward;
  • After ten reps, switch to the other leg and do the motion backward for an additional ten reps;
  • Alternate between left and right for greater difficulty, swiftly switching your leg position between reps.

8.    Leg raises.

Leg raises help increase blood flow, reduce stiffness, and strengthen leg muscles. The exercise is so convenient that you can perform it even when seated at a desk and working. Here’s how leg raises work:

  • First, ensure your back is straight and your chest is out while you’re seated upright;
  • Extend your left leg while keeping the right leg firmly planted on the floor;
  • Lift your left leg off the floor till it’s parallel with the floor and hold for up to 5 seconds;
  • Lower your left leg and switch to your right leg;
  • Repeat 15 to 20 times on both legs;
  • Ensure your hips are level throughout the workout.

9.    Toe lifts.

While toe lifts and calf raises seem very similar, they are actually different. With calf lifts, you continuously raise and lower your heels. Here’s how to do toe lifts:

  • Sit upright in a chair with both your feet apart and flat on the floor;
  • Rest both hands on the sides of your chair or your lap;
  • Start with your right foot by lifting your toes while your left foot remains firm on the ground;
  • Hold the position for a few seconds;
  • Lower your toes;
  • Do the same on your left leg, and repeat the process 10 to 15 times.

10.   Tummy twist.

Tummy twists help reduce fat by tightening up the muscles. To practice this exercise:

  • Sit upright and plant your feet on the floor;
  • With the elbows at your sides and the forearms outstretched in front of you, sustain your arms at a 90-degree angle;
  • Twist your upper body to the right and stop before you start feeling discomfort;
  • Twist again to the left, then return to the middle;
  • Repeat continuously.

For better results, older adults should adopt a workout routine consisting of a variety of these exercises. Also, they can create a daily workout plan consisting of 30-minute chair exercises for seniors and reap the amazing benefits it’ll bring.


Older adults need to exercise to promote mobility, boost self-esteem, and improve their overall health. These senior chair exercises are safe, effective, and easy for older adults to practice and reap the full benefits of exercising. However, not all exercises are suitable for older persons, so it’s best to consult your doctor before putting into practice any of the exercises listed here.

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