4 Easy Muscle Strengthening Exercises for the Older Body

Haven’t exercised in a while? Afraid of getting back on the horse? With several easy-to-do exercises geared toward seniors, you can maintain mobility, strengthen your muscles, improve your blood pressure, and help your overall health. All you need is a sturdy chair.

Remember to consult your physician before starting any new exercise programs, especially if you haven’t exercised in a while. If it starts to hurt, stop! Don’t overdo it. If you have been inactive for a while, start with five to 10 minutes of activity, slowly increasing your workout time as your body adjusts.

Upper Body Exercises

  1. Wrist Curls: Rest your forearm on the arm of your chair, hanging your hand over the edge. Hold a weight with your palm facing up, and slowly bend your wrist up and down 10 to 15 times. Repeat with your other hand and then do another set.
  2. Chair Dips: Find a sturdy chair with armrests where your feet can reach the floor and lay flat, shoulder-width apart. Lean forward slightly while keeping your back and shoulders straight and grasp the arms of your chair. Take a slow breath in, then breathe out as you use your arms to push yourself out of the chair. Hold for one second and breathe in while lowering yourself back down. Repeat 10 to 15 times, rest, and repeat.

    Lower Body Exercises

  3. Leg Straightening Exercises: Sit in a sturdy chair with your back supported and only the balls of your feet and toes resting on the ground. Roll up a towel and place it at the edge of the chair under your thighs. Slowly breathe in, then breathe out as you extend one leg in front of you as straight as you can. Don’t lock your knee! Flex your extended foot, stretching your toes toward the ceiling. Hold for one second, then breathe in as you lower your leg. Repeat 10 to 15 times with each leg, then do another set.
  4. Toe Stands: Stand behind your chair and hold on for balance. With your feet shoulder-width apart, breathe in slowly and then out slowly as you stand on your tiptoes as high as you can. Hold that position for one second and breathe in while you lower your heels back down to the ground. Repeat 10 to 15 times, rest, and do another set. For more instructions, watch a video on how toe stands are done.

Ready for More?

After completing and mastering these exercises, you may be inspired to do more. The more you do, the more you can do. Strengthening exercises help maintain muscle, strengthen bones, and protect your knees and joints. Try water exercises if you need to go easy on your joints. Increasing flexibility by stretching can work wonders, too.

For more exercises that will help increase your mobility as you age, visit the instructional website Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging.