Senior Fitness Exercises

∼ Before you get started, to be sure these exercises are right for you, print them out and ask your physician…

Note: Tap the name of an exercise to see the description and an option to print. We made the type slightly larger (so we don’t have to wear glasses while exercising), but please leave a comment to let us know if you’d like to see larger fonts… (hint: reload the page if the font looks smaller after printing)

Watch this video, then print the exercise below so you can refer to them during your workout. And Have Fun! Be sure to read Senior Fitness – Getting Started for exercise tips.

Senior Fitness Exercises

Warm Up

 

Strength    
Wrist Curl Knee Curl
Hand Grip Wall Push-Up
Overhead Arm Raise Back Leg Raise
Side Leg Raise Toe Stand
Seated Row with Resistance Band Arm Curl with Resistance Band
Balance       
Stand on One Foot Heel-to-Toe Walk
Balance Walk Challenge
Flexibility
Ankles  Back
Thigh  Shoulder & Upper Arm
Cool Down


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Warm Up

  • Difficulty: Beginner
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Instructions

It’s important to spend about 5 minutes at the beginning of your routine on warming up.

Warming up gives your muscles a chance to get ready to work.

Warm-up activities can help you prevent injury and reduce muscle soreness later.

Suggestions

■  Take a walk.
■  Ride a bike.
■  Dance around your living room or kitchen.
■  Walk up and down the stairs a few times.


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Cool Down

  • Difficulty: Beginner
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Instructions

Cooling down at the end of your workout gives your muscles a chance to gradually return to rest.

This is important to prevent injury.

To cool down, take about 5 minutes to do the 4 flexibility exercises.



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Strength Exercise - 1. Hand Grip

  • Difficulty: Beginner
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Hand Grip

WHAT YOU NEED: Tennis ball or other small rubber or foam ball.

Instructions:

  1. Hold a tennis ball in each hand.
  2. Slowly squeeze the ball as hard as you can and hold it for 3-5 seconds.
  3. Relax the squeeze slowly.
  4. Repeat 10-15 times.
  5. Repeat 10-15 times.
  6. Repeat 10-15 times with other hand.
  7. Repeat 10-15 times more with each hand.


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Strength Exercise - 2. Wall Push-Up

  • Difficulty: Beginner
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Instructions

  1. Face a wall, standing a little farther than arm’s length away, feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lean forward and put your palms flat against the wall
    at shoulder height and shoulder-width apart.
  3. Slowly bend your elbows and lower your upper body
    toward the wall. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  4. Hold the position for 1 second.
  5. Slowly push yourself back until your arms are straight.
  6. Repeat 10-15 times.


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Strength Exercise - 3. Overhead Arm Raise

  • Difficulty: Beginner
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Instructions

  1.  Hold weights at your sides at shoulder height with palms facing forward.
  2.  Slowly raise both arms up over your head keeping your elbows slightly bent.
  3.  Hold the position for 1 second.
  4.  Slowly lower your arms.
  5.  Repeat 10-15 times.

TIP: As you progress, use a heavier weight and alternate arms until you can lift the weight comfortably with both arms.

 Notes: You can do this exercise while standing or sitting with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.



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Strength Exercise - 4. Back Leg Raise

  • Difficulty: Beginner
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Instructions

  1.  Stand behind a sturdy chair, holding on for balance.
  2.  Slowly lift one leg straight back without bending your knee or pointing your toes. Try not to lean forward.
    The leg you’re standing on should be slightly bent.
  3.  Hold the position for 1 second.
  4.  Slowly lower your leg.
  5.  Repeat 10-15 times.
  6.  Repeat 10-15 times with the other leg.

TIP: As you progress, you may want to add ankle weights. You also can challenge yourself to improve your balance (see Balance Exercise).



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Strength Exercise - 5. Side Leg Raise

  • Difficulty: Beginner
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Side Leg Raise


Instructions

  1.  Stand behind a sturdy chair, holding on for balance.
  2.  Slowly lift one leg out to the side. Keep your back straight and your toes facing forward. The leg you’re standing on should be slightly bent.
  3. 3 Hold the position for 1 second.
  4.  Slowly lower your leg.
  5.  Repeat 10-15 times.
  6.  Repeat 10-15 times with the other leg.

TIP: As you progress, you may want to add ankle weights. You also can challenge yourself to improve your balance (see the Balance Challenge).



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Strength Exercise - 6. Toe Stand

  • Difficulty: Beginner
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Instructions

  1.  Stand behind a sturdy chair, feet shoulder-width apart,
    holding on for balance.
  2.  Slowly stand on tiptoes as high as possible.
  3.  Hold the position for 1 second.
  4.  Slowly lower heels to the floor.
  5.  Repeat 10-15 times.

TIP: As you progress, try doing the exercise standing on one leg at a time for a total of 10-15 times on each leg.

You also can challenge yourself to improve your balance (see Balance Challenge).



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Strength Exercise - 7. Wrist Curl

  • Difficulty: Beginner
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SF wrist_curl


WHAT YOU NEED: Hand-held weight

Instructions

  1. Rest your forearm on the arm of a sturdy chair with your hand over the edge.
  2. Hold weight with palm facing upward.
  3. Slowly bend your wrist up and down.
  4. Repeat 10-15 times.
  5. Repeat with other hand 10-15 times.
  6. Repeat 10-15 more times with each hand.

What it Does: This exercise will strengthen your wrists. It also will help ensure good form and prevent injury when you do upper body strength exercises.


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Strength Exercise - 8. Seated Row with Resistance Band

  • Difficulty: Beginner
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Seated Row


TARGETED MUSCLES: Upper back, shoulder, and neck
WHAT YOU NEED: Resistance band and sturdy, armless chair

Instructions

  1. Sit in a sturdy, armless chair with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Place the center of the resistance band under both feet. Hold each end of the band with palms facing inward.
  3. Relax your shoulders and extend your arms beside your legs. Breathe in slowly.
  4. Breathe out slowly and pull both elbows back until your hands are at your hips.
  5. Hold position for 1 second.
  6. Breathe in as you slowly return your hands to the starting position.
  7. Repeat 10-15 times.
  8. Rest; then repeat 10-15 more times.

TIP: As you progress, use a heavier strength band.

What it Does: This exercise to strengthen upper back, shoulder, and neck muscles should make everyday activities such as raking and vacuuming easier.


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Strength Exercise - 9. Arm Curl with Resistance Band

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Print


Arm Curl with Bands


This variation of the Arm Curl uses a resistance band instead of weights.
WHAT YOU NEED: Resistance band and sturdy, armless chair

Instructions

  1. Sit in a sturdy, armless chair with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Place the center of the resistance band under both feet. Hold each end of the band with palms facing inward. Keep elbows at your sides. Breathe in slowly.
  3. Keep wrists straight and slowly breathe out as you bend your elbows and bring your hands toward your shoulders.
  4. Hold the position for 1 second.
  5. Breathe in as you slowly lower your arms.
  6. Repeat 10-15 times.
  7. Rest; then repeat 10-15 more times.

TIP: As you progress, use a heavier strength band.

What it Does: This exercise to strengthen upper back, shoulder, and neck muscles should make everyday activities such as raking and vacuuming easier.


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Strength Exercise - 10. Knee Curl

  • Difficulty: Beginner
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Knee Curl


WHAT YOU NEED: Sturdy chair

Instructions

  1. Stand behind a sturdy chair, holding on for balance. Lift one leg straight back without bending your knee or pointing your toes. Breathe in slowly.
  2. Breathe out as you slowly bring your heel up toward your buttocks as far as possible. Bend only from your knee, and keep your hips still. The leg you are standing on should be slightly bent.
  3. Hold position for 1 second.
  4. Breathe in as you slowly lower your foot to the floor.
  5. Repeat 10-15 times.
  6. Repeat 10-15 times with other leg.
  7. Repeat 10-15 more times with each leg.

TIP: As you progress, you may want to add ankle weights.

What it Does: Walking and climbing stairs are easier when you do both the Knee Curl and Leg Straightening exercises. For an added challenge, you can modify the exercise to improve your balance.



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Balance Exercise - 1. Stand on One Foot

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Print


Instructions

  1.  Stand on one foot behind a sturdy chair, holding on for balance.
  2.  Hold the position for 10 seconds.
  3.  Repeat 10-15 times.
  4.  Repeat 10-15 times with the other leg.

TIP: As you progress, you can also challenge yourself to improve your balance (see Balance Challenge).


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Balance Exercise - 2. Heel-to-Toe Walk

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Print


If you are unsteady on your feet, try doing this exercise near a wall so you can steady yourself if you need to.

Instructions

  1. Place the heel of one foot just in front of the toes of the other foot so that they touch or almost touch.
  2. Raise arms to your sides, shoulder height.
  3. Choose a spot ahead of you and focus on it to keep you steady as you walk.
  4. Take a step. Put your heel just in front of your other foot.
  5. Repeat for 20 steps.

TIP: As you progress, try looking from side to side as you walk, but skip this step if you have inner ear problems.


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Balance Exercise - 3. Balance Walk

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Print

Instructions

  1.  Raise arms to your sides, shoulder height.
  2.  Choose a spot ahead of you and focus on it to keep you steady as you walk.
  3.  Walk in a straight line with one foot in front of the other.
  4.  As you walk, lift your back leg. Pause for 1 second before stepping forward.
  5.  Repeat for 20 steps.


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Balance Exercise - 4. Balance Challenge

  • Difficulty: Beginner
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Challenge Yourself to Improve Your Balance

Instructions

Exercises to strengthen your legs and ankles can help improve your balance. As you progress, try adding these challenges to help even more.

■  Start by holding on to a sturdy chair with both hands for support.
■  To challenge yourself further, try holding on with only one hand.
■  As you feel steady, use just one finger for balance, or try the exercises without holding on.
■  When you are steady on your feet, try doing the exercises with your eyes closed.



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Flexibility Exercise - 1. Ankles

  • Difficulty: Beginner
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Instructions

  1.  Sit securely toward the edge of a sturdy chair.
  2.  Stretch your legs out in front of you.
  3.  With your heels on the floor, bend your ankles to point toes toward you.
  4.  Hold the position for 10-30 seconds.
  5.  Bend ankles to point toes away from you and hold for 10-30 seconds.
  6.  Repeat 3-5 times.

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Flexibility Exercise - 2. Back

  • Difficulty: Beginner
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Instructions

Note: If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before trying this stretch.

  1.  Sit toward the front of a sturdy chair with armrests, with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
    Stay as straight as possible.
  2.  Slowly twist to the left from your waist without moving your hips. Turn your head to the left. Lift your left hand and hold onto the left arm of the chair. Place your right hand on the outside of your left thigh.
  3.  Hold the position for 10-30 seconds. Slowly return to face forward.
  4.  Repeat 3-5 times. Reverse positions and repeat 3-5 times on the right side.

 TIP: As you progress, try lifting your left arm and resting it comfortably on the back of the chair. Hold on to the left armrest with your right arm. Repeat on your right side.


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Flexibility Exercise - 3. Thigh

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Print


Note: If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before doing this stretch.

  1.  Stand behind a sturdy chair with your feet shoulder width apart and knees straight, but not locked.
  2.  Hold on to the chair for balance with your right hand.
  3.  Bend your left leg back and grab your foot with your left hand. Keep your knee pointed to the floor. If you can’t grab your ankle, loop a resistance band, belt, or towel around your foot and hold both ends.
  4.  Gently pull your leg until you feel a stretch in your thigh.
  5.  Hold the position for 10-30 seconds.
  6.  Repeat 3-5 times.
  7.  Repeat 3-5 times with your right leg.

 TIP: As you progress, try pulling the towel down farther, but not so far that it hurts.


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Flexibility Exercise - 4. Shoulder and Upper Arm

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Print


Instructions

Note: If you have shoulder problems, talk with your doctor before trying this stretch.

  1.  Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2.  Hold one end of a towel in your right hand.
  3.  Raise and bend your right arm to drape the towel down your back.
  4.  Reach behind your lower back and grasp the towel with your left hand.
  5.  Pull the towel down with your left hand. Stop when you feel a stretch in your right shoulder.
  6.  Repeat 3-5 times.
  7.  Reverse positions and repeat 3-5 times to stretch your left shoulder.

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6 thoughts

    1. Thank you so much Christy! I hope you share with those you know that can benefit by being more active – especially those that are sedentary. Thank you again for your support😶

      Like

    1. Thank you Anne – I hope you visit often. If you have a topic you’d like to see or exercises you’d like to have in printable format, please don’t hesitate to ask – we’re here for you. :) Thank you again Anne, you made my day!

      Liked by 1 person

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