Five at-home workouts for seniors

Physical activity is important at any age. However, seniors face many challenges when it comes to staying active. Getting to the gym may be difficult, gym memberships can be expensive, and most drop-in classes aren’t designed for older adults.

Haidong Liang has degrees in physical education, recreation, and gerontology from the University of Alberta. He is now the Project and Facility Manager at the Westend Seniors Activity Centre.

Here, he describes some at-home workouts for seniors. Eighty-year-old Bill Bush is demonstrating that no matter what, anyone can be active. There are variations for people with different fitness levels. No equipment is needed, other than a chair!

1. Dynamic Stretching: Kicks

Do this dynamic stretching exercise before your workout.

Hold on to a sturdy chair or the wall. Slowly move your legs forward and backward. Try to do 20 kicks with each leg. This move will improve your balance.

Dynamic stretching: Kicks

2. Dynamic Stretching: Core

Do this dynamic stretching exercise before your workout.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Put your hands above your head. Lean to one side, then the other. Your lower hand can rest on your thigh. This move will improve your flexibility.  

Dynamic stretching: core

3. Wall Push-Up

Standing at arm’s length from a wall, extend your arms so your hands are flat on the wall. Ensure your feet are shoulder-width apart. In one movement, exhale and press your body toward the wall. Inhale and return to your original position.  

To make this move easier, stand closer to the wall. To make it more difficult, hold the position for more than one second or stand farther away from the wall.

4. Seated Leg Raises

Sit on the front of a chair with your legs together. Raise one leg in a bent position, then fully extend it out to the front. Slowly lower your leg. Next, do the same move with your other leg. 

To make this exercise easier, do fewer repetitions. To make it more difficult, slow your movement or hold your raised-leg position for more than two seconds.

5. Chair Stand

Sit in a chair with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Slowly stand up and sit back down. Be sure to keep your back and shoulders straight throughout the exercise. 

For an easier exercise, use a taller chair. For a more difficult exercise, use a chair with shorter legs or do more repetitions.

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