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Four (Super) Seated Exercise Ideas for Seniors

Struggling as an older adult to hit the fitness train and find something active to do every day? Limited mobility, a loss of independence, or lack of motivation might be keeping you from empowering your own health through daily exercise.

What if you could work out from the comfort of your own home, even while sitting down? Well you can! Don’t miss these 4 effective seated exercise ideas to help you get the ball rolling:

Chair Yoga

The practice of yoga is on the rise with older adults, with more than 14 million Americans over 50 enjoying yoga regularly. Adaptive chair yoga simply involves practicing yoga poses seated in a chair or using a chair as a prop. Deep breathing techniques and gentle flowing movements stretch muscles, boost blood circulation, and induce calmness.

In addition to helping build confidence, coordination and flexibility, yoga for seniors boasts health benefits like fighting hypertension, alleviating back pain and muscle inflammation, and improving sleep. Chair yoga can be conveniently practiced at home or in the workplace by watching free instructional videos online on Youtube or DoYogaWithMe. Seniors can also find yoga classes specifically of the seated variety by calling their local YMCA or senior center, or by searching with online tools like YogaFinder.com.

Pedal Exercising

Essentially akin to riding a bike in place, pedal exercising is the latest trend in seated exercises.  With portable pedal exercisers (small basic devices which mimic a stationary bike), seniors can work their foot and leg muscles while watching TV, reading a magazine, or surfing the web. Pedal exercising engages muscles in a beneficial, low-impact setting and is easy on the joints.

How do you choose the best pedal exerciser for you? Look for key features that work with your mobility, environment, and exercise needs - features might include:

  • Multi-functional pedals for feet or hands

  • Lightweight or heavier duty frame

  • Included carrier handle

  • Rubber feet for no-slip grip

  • Adjustable pedal straps

  • Small or large digital LCD display for statistics

  • Quiet functionality

  • Collapsibility for easy storage

Great for seniors with or without mobility issues, pedal exercising strengthens legs when used with the feet and the upper body when used with the hands.

Seated Cardio

Pump up the heart rate while sitting in your chair? You heard that right. Cardio exercises in your chair are a great way to boost blood circulation and break a sweat. Motivating instructional videos for senior chair exercises can be found online like this one on Youtube, or you can use simple written guides and chair exercise instructions like these.

Engaging the arm, leg and abdominal muscles, seated cardio exercises might include leg lifts, light weight lifting, arm movements, stretching, and abdominal contractions. Effective cardio workouts are crucial to senior health because they can address hypertension and prevent heart disease, protect against loss in bone mass, boost metabolism, and lower risk for cognitive decline and chronic diseases.

Sitting on an Exercise Ball

Did you know sitting on an exercise ball instead of chair (when working, watching TV, or just talking on the phone) helps strengthen core muscles, burn more calories, and promote balance and coordination? Exercise balls, or stability balls, might sound dangerous for seniors, but they provide a strength-training workout and can be used freestanding or placed against a wall.

Yoga practice, cardio exercises and simple stretching on a stability ball can also empower years of mobility as you get older, and fight the risk of falls and injury. Specific exercise ball activities like hip circles and leg lifts target hip flexors that tighten with age, as well as builds up the quadricep muscles.

Whether experiencing age-related mobility issues, recovering from an injury, or simply looking to work in more routine exercise, seniors have the ability and opportunity to make an impact on their health - even when sitting down. From yoga to pedal exercising and chair cardio, seated exercises are trending in a big way, so sit down and try it out!

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