Chair Exercises for Elderly Adults with Limited Mobility

These exercises are geared towards adults with limited mobility. However if you have an injury, please consult your doctor before performing these exercises. If these exercises cause any pain in the body, please stop and give your physical therapist a call for alternative exercises. These chair exercises are not individualized and therefore, they are not suitable for every elderly adult.

A group of people sitting in chairs holding exercise equipment.

Seated Row– Sit on the edge of a chair. Hold your arms out to the front with elbows bent and thumbs pointing towards the ceiling. Draw the elbows back, squeezing the shoulder blades together. Return to start and repeat about 10 times.

Tummy Twist- This exercise works the core muscles. On a chair, sitting up straight, hold a ball in front of your chest. Slowly rotate the torso to the left, trying to keep the rest of the body still. Moving your torso back through the middle, turn your torso to the right. Try doing about 8 sets.

A man sitting in a chair holding an orange ball.

Overhead Arm Lifts– This move should be done in a chair that is armless but very sturdy. Putting both feet flat on the ground and standing up straight, bend your arms to the sides of your shoulders, with your palms facing forward. Raise your arms slowly above your head and then lowering them to the starting position. If you feel like you can handle it, you may hold 1-pound weights in both hands. Repeat 8-10 times.

A man is doing shoulder press exercise with dumbbells.

Hand Squeezes– Sitting on a chair with good posture, grab a ball and hold it out in front of you. Squeeze the ball as if trying to push the air out of the ball, releasing and repeating. Do this move about 10 times.

Inner Thigh Squeezes- Sit on the edge of the chair with good posture and place a ball between your knees. Press your knees together, squeezing the ball. Squeeze the ball for 1-2 seconds and then release the tension but do not let the ball fall. Do two sets of 8-10 reps.

A woman sitting on top of a wooden chair.

Knee-to-Chests- Sitting in a chair, lift one knee at a time slowly towards the chest. Slowly lower the knee back down. Alternative legs and repeat the exercise 10 times on both sides.

A woman sitting on top of a wooden chair.