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Chair based exercises for the older person

By Harold Rubin.

These are based on the NHS ones that can be found online. Not too strenuous, nor requiring anything that you will not have in your home. Comfortable and loose clothing and a sturdy chair with or without arms. If you are not used to exercise, start gradually and if you like the result, increase the time devoted to it. All movement is exercise and walking is the easiest and best.

If you have garden space both walk and sit in it when the weather is nice or explore your neighbourhood. Presently you can appreciate the quiet, the bird song and the clear sky and air. Sitting and watching television or at a computer? Use a timing device or clock and every half hour get up and walk around the room for a few minutes and you will not feel stiff or aches and pains.

  1. Chest stretch, sit upright, pull shoulders back and down, extend arms out to the side. Push your chest forward until you feel the stretch. Hold for 5-10 seconds, repeat 5 times.
  2. Upper body twist, sit upright with feet flat on floor, cross arms and reach for shoulders, turn upper body to left as far as comfortable and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat on the right side. 5 times each side.
  3. Hip marching, sit upright, do not lean to chair back, hold onto sides of chair, lift left leg with knee bent as far as comfortable, place foot back on floor, repeat with right leg. 5 lifts each leg.
  4. Ankle stretch, sit upright, hold sides of chair, raise left leg, point toes away from you, then point toes towards you. Do 2 sets of 5 stretches each leg.
  5. Neck stretch, sit upright, look ahead, hold left shoulder with right hand, slowly tilt head to right while holding shoulder down. Repeat on opposite side. Hold each stretch 5 seconds, and repeat 3 times each side.
  6. Arm raises, sit upright with arms at sides, palms forward raise both arms to the side and up as far as is comfortable, return to starting position. Breathe out as you raise arms and breathe in as you lower them. Repeat 5 times.
  7. Neck rotation Sit upright, shoulders down, look ahead, slowly turn head to left as far as comfortable and hold for 5 seconds, return to looking forward and repeat to the right. Do 5 repeats each side. Find a convenient time to do each set of exercises 2 to 3 times a week, more frequently if you like doing them and increase the number of each cycle as you become used to doing them. Try to maintain your posture with your walking and doing housework and cooking. If you are a bread baker, keep that posture and do the kneading sitting down. A weekly bake adds another session to your exercises.

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