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Marjorie P. Lee Senior Living Blog

6 Strengthening Exercises for More Independent Senior Living

Jul 15, 2013 9:15:00 AM


In honor of the 2013 National Senior Games—hosted in Cleveland, OH!—we’re challenging ourselves to start living well and get fit this summer.

You can ease into senior fitness, and better health, with a program of modified exercises suggested by the National Institutes of Health.

Healthy bones and strong muscles are the building blocks of senior fitness, and these six strengthening exercises help increase your mobility and keep you active, independent, and living well.

Strength training makes the everyday tasks of senior living easier.

A strong upper body can help you perform the everyday activities of senior living with ease.

Wrist Curls

Strengthens: wrists

  1. Hold a small weight in one hand as you rest your forearm on the arm of a sturdy chair so that the hand with the weight lies over the edge.
  2. Slowly curl your wrist in toward your body then back out.
  3. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
  4. Switch hands and repeat.

Arm Curls

Strengthens: upper arms

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or sit in a sturdy, armless chair, holding a pair of light hand weights straight down at your sides. Breathe in slowly.
  2. Breathe out as you slowly curl the weights in toward chest, making sure to keep your elbows at your sides.
  3. Hold the position for a moment before breathing and slowly lower your arms.
  4. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Seated Row with Resistance Band

Strengthens: upper back, shoulders, and neck

  1. Sit in a sturdy, armless chair with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart and the center of your resistance band under both feet. Grasp each end of the band so that your palms face inward.
  2. Breathe in slowly as you relax your shoulders and extend your arms out beside your legs.
  3. Breathe out slowly and pull both elbows back until your hands are at your hips.
  4. Hold position for a moment before breathing in as you slowly return your hands to the starting position.
  5. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Mobility is key to independent senior living; strengthen your lower body and keep on living well with these exercises.

Back Leg Raises

Strengthens: buttocks and lower back

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, holding on to the back of a chair for balance, and breathe in slowly.
  2. Breathe out and keep one leg planted firmly on the ground with your knee slightly bent. Slowly lift the opposite leg straight out behind you without bending your knee or pointing your toes as you try to keep your back straight.
  3. Hold position for a moment before breathing in as you slowly lower your leg.
  4. Repeat 10 to 15 times with each leg.

Seated Leg Raises

Strengthens: thighs

  1. Sit in a sturdy chair with a rolled towel under your thighs for support. Sit all the way against the back of the chair so that only your toes and the balls of your feet rest on the floor. Breathe in slowly.
  2. Breathe out and slowly straighten one leg in front of you without locking your knee.
  3. Flex your foot so that your toes point toward the ceiling.
  4. Hold position for a moment then breathe in as you slowly lower leg back down.
  5. Repeat 10 to 15 times with both legs.

Toe Stands

Strengthens: calves and ankles

  1. Stand behind a sturdy chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the back of the chair for balance and breathe in slowly.
  2. Breathe out and slowly rise onto your toes.
  3. Hold position for a moment then breathe in as you slowly lower heels to the floor.
  4. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

While these senior fitness exercises can be done at home, you should always talk to your healthcare provider before beginning an exercise regimen to make sure a routine is safe for you and that you are taking the proper safety precautions. 

Bryan Reynolds

Written by: Bryan Reynolds

Bryan Reynolds is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Bryan is responsible for developing and implementing ERS' digital marketing strategy, and overseeing the website, social media outlets, audio and video content and online advertising. After originally attending The Ohio State University, he graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor of fine arts focused on electronic media. Bryan loves to share his passion for technology by assisting older adults with their computer and mobile devices. He has taught several classes within ERS communities as well as at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute run by the University of Cincinnati. He also participates on the Technology Team at ERS to help provide direction. Bryan and his wife Krista currently reside in Lebanon, Ohio with their 5 children.

Topics: living well, senior fitness, exercise and activity

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