Exercises to Keep Older People Physically Active

Seven Exercises to Keep Older People Physically Active

Staying active can be difficult for elderly people, particularly if they have been ill or are less mobile than they used to be. However, exercising has large benefits for older people, helping to improve overall health, mobility, balance, mood and brain function. Regularly exercising can also help older people retain their independence for longer.

Here, we have some gentle, simple-to-follow exercises that are recommended for elderly people by the NHS. These are easy to do at home, requiring only a chair, and should be tried at least twice a week for the best results. Remember to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and drink lots of water.

Sitting Exercise: Chest Stretch

This stretch is good for stretching your core and improving posture.
  1. Sit upright and keep your back away from the back of the chair. Push your shoulders back and down whilst extending your arms out to either side.
  2. Gently pull your chest forward and upwards – when far enough, you should feel the stretch across your chest.
Hold this stretch for five to ten seconds and repeat five times.

Sitting Exercise: Upper Body Twist

The upper body twist helps to build flexibility in your upper back.
  1. Sit upright and place your feet flat on the floor with your arms crossed. Reach across your body to the opposite shoulder.
  2. Keep your hips still and twist your upper body to the left as far as possible and hold this pose for five seconds.
  3. Repeat this stretch for the right side.
Complete this stretch ten times, five times for each side.

Sitting Exercise: Hip Marching

Hip marching builds strength in your hips and thighs to improve flexibility.
  1. Sit upright, holding onto the sides of the chair, and keep your back away from the back of the chair.
  2. Lift up your left leg with your knee bent as far as possible. Then slowly return your foot to the floor.
  3. Repeat this exercise with your right leg.
Repeat the stretch ten times, doing five lifts with each leg.

Sitting Exercise: Arm Raises

Arm raises help to strengthen your shoulders.
  1. Sit upright on a chair, keeping your arms down by your sides.
  2. Raise your arms out to either side with your palms facing forward, holding them up as far as possible.
  3. Slowly return your arms back to your sides.
Make sure you keep your shoulders down and your arms straight during the stretch. Repeat this exercise five times.

Sit to Stand Exercise

This stretch helps to strengthen your legs for better mobility.
  1. Sit on the edge of the chair with your feet apart in-line with your hips.
  2. Slowly stand up using your legs, ensuring you keep looking forwards.
  3. Once you are stood up, slowly sit down again. You can use your arms to guide you if you need.
Do this five times and remember that the slower you stand and sit, the more effective the stretch is.

Wall Press-Up

This stretch helps to build upper body and arm strength.
  1. Place your hands flat against a wall in line with your chest, ensuring that your fingers are pointing towards the ceiling.
  2. Slowly bend your arms, keeping your elbows by your side and your back straight. Lean as close to the wall as you can.
  3. Slowly push back to your starting position.
Do three in a row and repeat five times for optimum results.

Wall Calf Stretch

This stretch is good for loosening tight lower leg muscles.
  1. Holding the wall to keep your balance, bend your left leg and move your right leg a foot backwards, keeping both feet on the floor.
  2. You should feel a stretch in your right calf muscle when your left leg is kept as straight as possible.
  3. Repeat this with the other leg.
Do this stretch three times for each leg.

If you’d like to discuss the needs of an elderly loved one and are considering hiring professional care, get in touch with the Wessex Care team today.

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