Chair exercises are beneficial for older adults | Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma State University

Chair exercises are beneficial for older adults | Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma State University

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Media Contact:
Trisha Gedon | Communications Specialist | 405-744-3625 | [email protected]

For older adults, regular exercise is one of the most important things a person can
do for their health, said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Extension housing and consumer specialist and interim associate dean.

“Exercise helps your muscles stay strong so you can keep doing your day-to-day activities.
You don’t even need to have a gym membership or have expensive equipment to stay active,”
Peek said. “OSU Extension offers organized classes such as Walk with Ease and Tai
Chi: Moving for Better Balance, but some older adults may have mobility issues that
make it difficult to get out of the house.”

If that’s case, all they need is a sturdy chair and a couple of full water bottles
or cans of vegetables to get started.

Chair exercises are a great alternative for older adults who have difficulty moving
around. Leg, arm and core muscles can get a workout from a seated position, which
can help reduce the risk of injury from a fall. Easy stretching exercises are also
beneficial for mobility.

Peek provided several example activities to start off the new year:  

Arm exercises

  • Seated shoulder press: Work on arm muscles by sitting in a comfortable chair and raising
    your arms above your head. To kick it up a notch, hold a water or can of vegetables
    in each hand for weight resistance.
  • Seated chest press: Start with arms at a 90-degree angle and bring them out in front
    of the body, then relax and pull them back in. Again, adding weight is an option.
  • Bicep curls: With arms at a 90-degree angle, raise and lower the forearm.

Leg exercises

  • Sitting to standing: Just like it sounds, sit and stand to build leg muscles by using
    your own body weight.
  • Seated calf raises: With feet flat on the floor, lift heels off the ground and repeat.

Core exercises

  • Leg kicks: Extend both legs away from your body. Lift one leg higher, return to starting
    position, then repeat with the other leg.
  • Tummy twists: With both hands, hold a small object in your lap, keeping your elbows
    bent. Twist from side to side while keeping the object in front of your body.


  • Neck turns: Sit comfortably in a chair and rotate your head from left to right until
    a gentle stretch is felt. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
  • Seated backbend: While seated, place hands on your hips. Slowly arch your back inward
    while keeping spine straight, then lean backward using only the upper body.
  • Seated side stretch: With one hand, grip the side of the chair when seated. Extend
    your opposite arm over your head, making a shape similar to an elongated letter C.
    Shift your upper torso in the direction of the hand holding the chair, and hold for
    10-20 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

Peek said anyone starting a new exercise program, whether at home or …….


Exercise at home