elderly couple gardening

On average, many adults aged 65+, spend 10+ hours daily sitting or laying down. This makes them the most sedentary age group. Seniors may struggle to pursue simple pleasures such as playing with grandchildren walking to the shops, socialising, going away & so forth. Things you’ve always enjoyed doing & taken for granted may start to become a little more difficult, so these chair exercises will really help you.

However, is age just a number? For instance, if you’re experiencing pain & weakness in one of your knees after a walk, you may often use the excuse ‘I’m getting old’. But why isn’t the other knee showing signs of age when it’s the same age as the other knee? The majority of time this pain & deterioration can be prevented & helped by YOU!

‘As people get older & their bodies decline in function, physical activity helps to slow that decline’

senior man reading newspaper inactive lifestyle by sitting

Strong evidence show that people who are inactive are at lower risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Some cancers
  • Depression
  • Dementia

Older adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity weekly, although any activity is better than none.

However, what can you do if you have mobility issues disabling you from engaging in certain activities? Also, due to the Coronavirus, we have been advised to stay indoors, reducing our levels of daily activity, so now what?

Top 10 Chair Exercises for You

Getting up to make tea, cleaning/tidying, vacuuming, gardening etc. all count as light activity… you may not have even realise you’re being active! But I highly suggest you engage in as much light activity as possible. However, here are 10 chair exercises, particularly for those experiencing mobility issues/self-isolating. It may be helpful to have some dumbbells/resistant bands/ball handy, however, even a book or any light weight of some sort will do. (Please refrain from doing these if you experience any pain, discomfort or sickness. Consult your GP).


1. Seated Bicep Curls

seated bicep curls exercises

Sit in a chair & tighten your hips, back & core. Now place your back against the back of the chair. While using a set of light dumbbells or a resistance band, place your hands down with your elbows tucked in. Now curl your arms up towards your shoulders, then lower them to the original position. Do these at a slow pace & start with 15 reps.

2. Isolated Tricep Extensions

isolated tricep extensions

Sit with your back against the back of the chair. Begin by raising one elbow up into the air with a light dumbbell in your hand. Let the dumbbell drop back slowly raising it over your head whilst supporting your elbow with the other hand. Return to the starting position. Start with 15 reps.

3. Seated Shoulder Press

seated shoulder press exercises

Place your back against the back of the chair. With a tightened core & straight back, hold a dumbbell in each hand & raise your arms, whilst bending them at a 90-degree angle. Make sure your elbows are out towards the side of the body. With your palms facing up, extend your arms straight up, keeping them parallel until fully extended. Now slowly lower your arms to the starting position. Start with 15 reps.


4. Extended Leg Raises

extended leg raises

Sit near the front edge of your chair & grip the sides of the seat with your hands for support. Extend both legs out in front of you with your toes pointing upwards. With a straight back & a tightened core, slowly lift, alternating one leg at a time, as high as you can, before returning to the starting position.

5. Tummy Twists

tummy twists exercises

Sit on the edge of your seat. With a tightened core & straight back, hold a medicine ball or other weighted object in front of you. Bend your elbows & rotate the upper part of your body (torso) to the left. Then rotate back towards the centre, then rotate towards the right & back to the centre.

6. Seated Knee-to-Chest

seated knee to chest

Sit forward on the edge of the chair & grip the sides with both hands. Keeping your back straight, lean back so your back is against the back of the chair & extend your legs out in front you. Slowly raise your legs & pull them towards your chest while bending your knees. Then slowly lower your legs back into the starting position. Start with 15 reps.


7. Knee extensions

knee extensions exercises

Sit in your chair with your back against the back of the chair. Grab the seat of the chair with both hands for stability. Tighten your core & straighten your back, then lift one leg in front of you until it’s fully extended. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg. Start with 15 reps.

8. Seated Calf Raises

seated calf raise

Sit in your chair with your back against the back of the chair. Hold the seat. With your legs at a 90-degree angle with the chair & feet flat on the floor, tighten your core & push the balls of your feet down towards the floor. Lift your heels up. Return to starting position. Start with 15 reps.

9. Seated Side Stretch

seated side stretch exercises

Sit towards the edge of the chair with your back straight & feet flat on the floor. With one hand, grab the seat for support, whilst raising the other hand towards the ceiling in a curved position. Slowly bend in the direction of the extended arm, hold for 10-20 secs, then return to a straight position. Repeat with the other arm.

10. Seated Hip Stretch

Seated hip stretch

Sit in the chair with feet flat on the floor. Tighten your core. Cross one leg on top of the other leg, so the ankle of crossed leg extends past the leg underneath it. With a straight back, slowly bend forward as far as you can. Hold for 10-20 seconds & repeat before alternating to the opposite leg.

Click here for more exercises…

Give these chair exercises a go…

So please give these chair exercises a go & go through these sets a couple of times a day. It’s in your best interest to remain active whenever & however you can…we may be going on lock-down, but your health isn’t!

For more info/advice & physical activity guidelines from the NHS – Click here