5 Exercises for Seniors


Whether you’re looking for yourself or an aging parent, try to maintain health fitness habits no matter your age. Exercise is an important part of maintaining your physical health, and the need to do it doesn’t change as you get older. In fact, it may be even more important as you do. Continuing or starting an exercise routine can help prevent falls, maintain healthy bones and muscles, control joint pain associated with arthritis, reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, and more!1

High impact exercises may not be suitable for your body the same way they were when you were younger, and your body may not recover as fast as it once did. Ask your doctor before making big changes and see if he/she has some recommendations to fit your specific needs.

You can also try these safe and low impact exercises for seniors! These won’t require a lot of space, special equipment or effort to set up, so you can do them anywhere.

Toe raises with a chair
Simply stand behind a chair, hold on, and lift your heels off the ground. Support as little of your weight on the chair as possible. Try to perform 10 toe raises before resting. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Make this exercise more challenging by letting go of the chair.

Chair stands
Start by sitting in a chair. Then, just stand up! Try to stand without using your arms to help you. Sit down and stand up 10 times. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Make this exercise more challenging by holding something while you do it, like a heavy book.

Arm circles
Seated or standing, raise your arms out straight. Alternate between performing small and large circles with your arms. Perform 10 small arm circles followed by 10 large arm circles before resting. Repeat 3-5 times.

Make this exercise more challenging by increasing the number of arm circles performed. Try it with your arms straight in front of you and with your arms outstretched to work different muscle groups.

Wall push-ups
Stand arms-length distance away from a wall. Place the palms of your hands on the wall in front of you and slowly bend your arms. Then, extend your arms to bring you back to starting position. Perform 5-10 wall push-ups before resting. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Make this exercise more challenging by moving your feet further from the wall.

Leg extensions
While seated with your back straight in a chair, raise one leg off the ground. Hold your leg straight out for 3-5 seconds, then return your foot back to the floor. Perform this exercise 5 times per leg. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Make this exercise more challenging by increasing the number of leg extensions performed.

Before trying any of these exercises, consult with your physician to make sure they are safe for you. If your doctor advises against any of them, ask for ideas to fit your lifestyle. Want more ideas now? Read about additional activities for seniors to stay healthy!


1 CDC. Web page: Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General – Older Adults. Retrieved February 20, 2018, https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/sgr/olderad.htm.

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