Elderly women doing exercises with resistance bands

8 Chair Exercises for Nursing Home Residents

As we age, it’s essential to keep moving to maintain good health and well-being. However, for elderly people living in nursing homes, mobility can be a challenge. Chair exercises for nursing home residents are a great way to stay active safely and can be done in any chair at home including a riser recliner chair.

In this article, we’ll share eight chair exercises for nursing home residents, designed to improve strength, flexibility, and balance. Whether you are a caregiver, nursing home resident, or family member, these exercises are a great way to stay active and healthy.

At Opera Beds, we help people in their own homes to retain their independence and make life easier by guiding them to the perfect chair. Get in touch with our team today to start your journey.

The Importance of Exercises for Nursing Home Residents

Exercise is important for anybody, including people with mobility problems and elderly individuals. The right exercises can help warm up the body and gradually build up strength at the same time. The good news is that chair exercises really do work! They are simple, accessible, and effective, making them an ideal option for seniors who may be facing mobility challenges.

Moither and daughter sat at the kitchen table with a cup of tea

Frequency of chair exercises 

As for how often a senior should do chair exercises, it depends on their physical abilities. It is recommended to start slow and gradually increase the frequency and duration of chair exercises. A good routine can be to do chair exercises three to four times a week for 20 to 30 minutes per session. Before undertaking any exercise, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional. 

The best types of chair exercises

When it comes to choosing the best type of chair exercise, there are many options to choose from. Some common chair exercises include seated leg raises, arm curls, and seated marches. The key is to find exercises that target the specific needs and abilities of the individual. It's also important to have a comfortable and sturdy chair with armrests and a stable base.

At Opera Beds, our riser recliner chairs are built with durable steel frames and solid motors for durability. Meanwhile, every Opera riser recliner comes with a 10-day trial for added peace of mind.  

The best time to do chair exercises

As for the best time of day for seniors to exercise, it's recommended to choose a time when they are alert and have the most energy. This can vary depending on the individual, but generally, mornings can be a good time for chair exercises.

However, it’s important to consider the person’s preferences and schedule when establishing a chair exercise routine. 

8 Examples of Chair Exercises for Seniors

Chair exercise is an effective way to help improve mobility and prevent falls. Before getting into the exercises, they are designed to be gentle and simple to follow. Most people can undertake these exercises. However, if you are unsure if they are suitable for you, you may wish to speak with a GP or healthcare professional. 

Tips before doing chair exercises 

Before starting any chair exercises, it's important to keep in mind the following tips to ensure safety and comfort:

  • Make sure the chair you use is sturdy and doesn't wobble
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothing that doesn't restrict your movements
  • Keep a bottle of water nearby to stay hydrated
  • When seated, make sure your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are bent at the right angle for your body.
  • Go at your own pace, chair exercises are designed to be built up slowly where repetitions are gradually increased.
  • To maintain a natural breathing pattern, it can be helpful to count out loud during each repetition. If required, take breaks between exercises but make sure to keep your feet moving to promote circulation and reduce oedema.

1-    Ankle Stretch

This stretch helps to improve ankle flexibility and reduce the risk of developing a blood clot. Follow these four simple steps to improve your leg muscle strength and flexibility:

Step 1: Sit upright on a chair and hold onto the sides of the chair. Straighten your left leg with your foot off the floor.

Step 2: Once your leg is straight and raised, point your toes away from you. This will stretch your calf muscles.

Step 3: Next, point your toes back towards you. This will stretch the muscles at the front of your shin.

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 five times on each foot, alternating between your left and right leg. This exercise will help to improve your leg muscle strength and flexibility over time.

Ankle Stretch
Image Source: NHS 

2-  Chest Stretch 

If you're looking to improve your posture and alleviate tension in your chest, try this simple exercise:

Step 1: Sit upright and away from the back of the chair. Pull your shoulders back and down. Extend your arms out to the side.

Step 2: Gently push your chest forward and up until you feel a stretch across your chest.

Step 3: Repeat this movement 5 times, making sure to hold the stretched position for 5 to 10 seconds each time.

Image Source: NHS 

3 -  Seated Row

Helping to improve your posture and strengthen your upper back muscles, another exercise you can try is the seated row:

Step 1: Stand up straight and hold your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder level, with your thumbs pointed towards the ceiling.

Step 2: Draw your elbows back, squeezing the shoulder blades together, until your upper arms align with the sides of your torso.

Step 3: Extend your arms back to the start position.

Step 4: Repeat this movement 2-4 times.

Seated Row
Image Source: BHF

4-   Seated March/ Hip Marching

This exercise helps to strengthen the hips and thighs which in turn improves flexibility. Here’s how:

Step 1: Lift your left leg, bending the knee to a comfortable height.

Step 2: Place your foot down with control.

Step 3: Repeat on the right leg.

Step 4: Repeat the exercise 2-4 times on each leg.

Image Source: NHS 

5- Sit-to-Stand/ Chair Squats

To perform the chair stand exercise, follow these steps:

Step 1: Sit at the edge of a chair, keeping your core tight and chest out.

Step 2: Keep your toes pointed forward or slightly outward and your hands in a comfortable position for balance.

Step 3: Slowly stand up from the chair, making sure your knees are projecting outward from the middle of the body.

Step 4: Sit back down, while maintaining the correct knee placement.

Tips for this exercise:

  • Use your hips rather than the knees, to thrust the body to a standing position.
  • Squeezing your glutes (buttocks) together when moving to the standing position helps to tone the muscles.
Image Source: NHS 

6- Seated Side Stretch

If you are a senior looking to improve your flexibility and mobility, the seated side stretch exercise is a fantastic option. To perform this exercise, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Sit comfortably at the edge of your chair, keeping your back upright and your spine straight. Make sure both feet are flat on the floor, and keep your hips and lower body stable.

Step 2: Use your right hand to grip the right side of your chair to stabilise yourself.

Step 3: With your left hand, extend your arm above your head, forming a shape similar to that of a spoon or a lengthened "C".

Image Source: Performance Health

7- Ankle and Wrist Rolls

The ankle and wrist roll exercise is a great way to improve flexibility and mobility in these areas. Here are the steps to perform this exercise:

Step 1: Sit upright in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting on your lap.

Step 1: Lift one foot off the ground and rotate your ankle in a circular motion, making sure to move it in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions.

Step 3: Continue to roll your ankle for 10-15 seconds, then switch to the other foot and repeat the same motion.

Step 4: Next, extend your arms out in front of you and rotate your wrists in a circular motion, again moving in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions.

Step 5: Continue to roll your wrists for 10-15 seconds, then relax your arms and rest them on your lap.

Step 6: Repeat the ankle and wrist roll 10 times.

Image Source: NHS

8- Seated Shoulder Press

Maintaining flexibility and strength is crucial for our overall health and well-being. Here's an exercise that can help you achieve both:

Step 1: Begin by sitting up straight in a sturdy chair, with your feet flat on the ground and your shoulder-width apart.

Step 2: Hold a light dumbbell or the end of a resistance band in each hand at your shoulders. Keep your elbows bent and your palms facing away from you.

Step 3: Press your arms straight up overhead, extending your elbows.

Step 4: Slowly and carefully lower your hands back to the starting position.

Step 5: Complete two to three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions to see the best results.

Image Source: NHS

How Riser Recliner Chairs Can Help with Chair Workouts for Seniors 

Riser recliner chairs are a great option for seniors who want to do chair workouts. These chairs have a variety of features that make them ideal for exercise, including adjustable backrests, footrests, and armrests. They are also designed to provide support and comfort, which is essential when doing chair workouts.

Step 4: Slowly shift your upper torso to the right side, keeping your abdomen tight and preventing collapse.

Step 5: Hold this position for 10-20 seconds, then switch sides.

Step 6: Repeat this exercise 3-5 times per side, or as many times as you feel comfortable.

Remember to take your time with this exercise, and don't push yourself too hard. Over time, you should start to notice improved flexibility and mobility.

Riser Recliner Chairs Provide Stability for Exercise 

One of the main benefits of using a riser recliner chair for chair workouts is that it provides a stable base for exercise. This means users can focus on the movements without worrying about losing their balance or falling.

Additionally, the chairs are designed to be sturdy and durable, which means that they can withstand the movements and weight of seniors during their workouts. At Opera Beds, our riser recliner chairs are built to last and have a higher maximum user weight of 160 kg/25 stone. 

Riser Recliner Chairs Provide Stability for Exercise

Riser Recliner Offer a Range of Movement

Another benefit of a riser recliner chair for the elderly is that it allows seniors to adjust the chair to their desired position. This means that they can find the perfect angle for their workouts, whether they want to sit up straight or lean back. The adjustable footrests and armrests also provide added support and comfort during the exercises.

Riser Recliner Chairs Encourage Independence and Reassurance

A riser recliner chair has the added benefit of being able to lift seniors up and out of the chair, which is especially helpful for those who have difficulty standing up. The gentle lift-then-tilt motion can be used to assist elderly users in their chair workouts by easily transitioning them from one exercise to another.

Overall, riser recliner chairs provide a great option for seniors who want to do chair workouts. They offer stability, comfort, adjustability, and assistance, making them an ideal choice for seniors who want to stay active and healthy.

If you or a loved one are considering the purchase of a riser recliner, our dedicated team is here to help. Start your journey to making life easier with a free consultation.

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