Best Exercises for Seniors at Home

Seniors can benefit from regular exercise at home, even at such an age. It all depends on the exercises you choose, how you do them, and when, and how often you exercise.

Luckily, these are some of the questions we’ll answer in this article. Here, you’ll find the best exercises for yourself, learn how to set up your exercise plan, and get answers to even the tiniest details you might encounter. By the end of the post, you will have the motivation to exercise and know exactly what you should do, so let’s get started!

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31 Best Exercises for Seniors at Home

With so many exercises out there, you can easily find them on the internet. However, you must choose exercises that will fit your age and lifestyle and even your preference. Therefore, we came up with a list that will fit almost any senior out there, so don’t hesitate to give these a try.

Common Exercises for Seniors

1. Chair Squats

Chair squats are one of the best exercises for mobile seniors who want to stay fit. All you need is a chair from the kitchen, which you can use as a safety measure, but also as a way of knowing how deep you have to squat.

Stand in front of the chair, and then do the action as if you’re going to sit in the chair, but don’t take a seat. Instead, push back up to the standing position.

2. Walking

Walking is one of the best exercises that will fit the majority of seniors. Depending on your living situation, you’ll most likely get a chance to walk throughout the rooms, around the living room, or even in the yard or around your house. If you’re in an apartment, walking through the rooms and using the balcony for a small break is still a great way to achieve your daily steps.

3. Seated March

Seated march is a very simple exercise where you need a chair in which you can comfortably sit. It’s important to choose a chair like a kitchen type where you can sit with your back straight. When seated, start marching with your legs, as you would do standing up.

While you perform this exercise, you’ll be activating your leg muscles. While it might seem very simple initially, you’ll notice how hard it gets after a while.

4. Arm Raises

Arm raises are a great workout for seniors who want to activate the upper body, shoulders, and work the arms. You don’t need any equipment for this, and you only need a little bit of space where you can stand.

When standing, put your arms up and then put them down. While the exercises seem simple, you’ll work muscles like the deltoids, and upper, middle, and lower trapezius muscles, meaning you’ll feel the effectiveness of this exercise pretty quick.

5. Shoulder Rolls

When you’re comfortably standing, put your arms beside you and push your shoulders up. After that, pull your shoulders down in the starting position. Repeat this for several reps and you can even add the rolling motion.

This will help improve shoulder mobility and activate surrounding muscles.

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6. Lunges

When standing, ensure your feet are hip-width apart, and the whole goal of this exercise is to step forward with one leg, bend both knees and then get back up. Change the leg that makes the step, and you’ll quickly find out how hard this exercise can get as you work your leg muscles, but also your core, which will help you lose belly fat.

7. Deadbug

Deadbug is an easy variation of lunges where you can lay on your back, flat on the floor, with the goal of this exercise being lifting your legs and arms. As you lay down, lift one leg by bending it in the knee, and lift the opposite arm in the air.

After that, lower your leg and arm in the starting position, and repeat with another leg and arm. This will work your knees, hips, arms, and shoulders, as well as core, ensuring you lose a great number of calories that can lead to belly fat loss.

8. High Knees

If you’re mobile enough, high knees can take exercise to another level. When standing, ensure your feet are hip-width apart, and start jogging in place. Bring your knees high, as high as possible towards your chest, and keep on doing so for up to 2 minutes at a time.

This exercise will boost your heart rate, work your core muscles, and help burn fat by burning calories right on the spot.

9. Plank

Plank is a simple but hard exercise that’s ideal for seniors who are physically capable of doing harder exercises. This exercise is all about strengthening your core and abdomen, but also helping you burn calories that will lead you to belly fat loss.

Get in a plank position by positioning yourself on your elbows and tiptoes, keep your back straight, head down, and try to hold a plank for as long as you possibly can.

10. Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks is also known as a star jump, where you have to stand with feet close together and arms beside your body. To do a jumping jack, put your arms above your head, and as you do so, put your feet wide apart.

Do this together in a jumping motion to perform a jumping jack, and then return to a position. This is a great exercise for cardio that will make you sweat and burn calories.

11. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are a cardio exercise where you keep your body weight on your hands, in a position where you can lift your legs closer to your chest, one by one. As you do so, keep your upper body stable, your core activated, and your legs working simultaneously to help you work on losing belly fat.

12. Russian Twists

Russian twists are a great exercise that works the abs and core at the same time. To perform the exercise, sit on the floor, grab something heavy like a heavy book (or you can start without any weight), and move your upper body from side to side while keeping your core stable as you’re seated. At the same time, lift your legs off the ground for an even more effective workout.

13. Pushups

Pushup is one of the exercises many people know and it’s most likely you did it several times throughout your life. If a regular pushup seems to be too hard on your body, doing a variation where you keep your body weight on your knees, as well as your arms can help you keep pumping the push ups while still working out the upper body muscles.

Exercise for Seniors at Home to Improve Balance

14. Flamingo Stand

Flamingo stand is one of the main exercises that can help seniors improve balance at home, with no equipment needed. Standing straight, lift one leg in the air (like a flamingo), and lift one hand high in the air. Now put your foot down and repeat using the other leg and arm.

There are different variations of this exercise so you can progress and do harder variations when you feel your balance is decent.

15. Back Leg Raises

Get on your knees and hands, and push one leg straight back while pushing one hand straight forward. It’s best to do this on the carpet or a yoga mat if you have one. For best balance, if you’re pushing and raising the left leg, use the right arm and vice versa. This will help you work your core and practice balance.

16. Heel Lifts

To perform heel lifts, stand near a wall or a chair that you can hold for balance if needed. Stand with your feet slightly apart, and slowly raise your heels off the ground. Ensure your knees are straight, hold for a second or two at the top of the motion, and then lower your heels back down. Do this for about 8 to 12 repetitions in a few sets and your balance will improve sooner than you can expect.

17. Body Circles

Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, rest your hands on the waist, slightly bend forward, and start making a circling motion with your body. After you make a few circles in one direction, do the same in the other direction. Make sure that you make circles from the hips, as this will help ensure you work your core, which will result in a better balance.

18. Single Leg Clock Taps

Stand with legs slightly apart, then rely on one leg, while you use the other leg to tap at different positions around you. To know which positions to tap on, imagine your standing leg in the middle of the clock. Use your other leg to tap clock numbers in the circle from there. When you do, swap legs and then repeat the process using the other leg. This will help you work your balance but also focus on the tapping while using different muscle groups.

19. Foot Taps

To do foot taps, lay on your back on the floor, lift your knees, and with both legs in the air, tap the floor with one foot and then bring it up again. Repeat this with the other leg by tapping the floor with your other foot. Do this and vice versa and you will be able to work on your balance, even though this exercise might feel easy at first.

20. Sideways Walking

To perform sideways walking, stand on the floor with your feet width apart, get in the half-squat position by bending your knees and hips, and then shift your weight from one leg to another, as you make the side step. Move your leg in and out while walking sideways for up to 10 repetitions. This will help improve balance, improve agility, and improve muscle strength.

21. Balancing Wand

For this exercise, you’ll need a stick and a chair. While seated, hold the bottom of the stick flat on the palm of your hand, where you want to balance the stick and keep it upright for as long as possible. Change hands after a while to work both sides of your body, and even though you might not even notice it, this exercise will work your balance while you’re trying to balance the stick on the palm of your hand.

22. Marching

Marching is a great exercise to improve balance, and while we’ve mentioned a seated variation, you want to do the standing marches to improve balance. When standing, lift one of your legs by lifting the knee in the air, to about 90 degree angle. Hold for a second, lower the leg, and repeat with the other leg. This exercise isn’t too hard on the joints but it’s very effective in improving balance.

Exercises for Seniors at Home to Strengthen Legs

23. Calf Raises

While standing near a wall, put your both hands on the wall and lift yourself on your toes. Hold for a second before lowering your feet flat on the ground. Repeat this for about 10 repetitions in a few sets. This exercise is great for working your calves, which you should feel after only a few sets.

24. Seated Knee to Chest

For this exercise, you will need a chair. After getting comfortably seated, lift one of the legs by ensuring your knees get close to your chest. Hold for a few seconds and then lower the leg, and then repeat the exercise with the other leg. Do this for up to 10 repetitions in a few sets and you will slowly feel how your legs become heavier to lift, ensuring your muscles in the legs are strengthening.

25. Standing From Chairs

This is one of the exercises we do daily without even knowing it. However, standing up from a chair is a workout, which serves as half a squat. The great thing is you only need a chair, and you can start strengthening your legs by sitting in the chair and standing up from the chair. Repeat this for about 8 repetitions, in a few sets or more, depending on your strength levels.

26. Seated Toe Taps

Being seated in the chair, sit closer to the edge of the chair and fully straighten your legs out, supporting yourself with your heels. When you’re in the position, pull your toes upwards as if you’re stretching your legs and then release. Do this for up to 12 repetitions in a few sets and you’ll feel it throughout your legs.

27. Chair Running

Chair running is a great way to work your quads and other muscles in your legs while being supported and without putting any weight on your joints. When seated, lift your legs one by one as if you would run. You can slow down the speed when performing this exercise and you’ll notice how the slower motion will make you use your leg muscles a lot more.

28. Bridges

If you’re flexible enough, bridges are a great exercise where you lay on your back flat on the floor. From there, support yourself with your upper back and your feet as you push yourself upwards. This way, you’ll make a “bridge” position where your legs will be holding most of the weight. When you’re in the bridge position, hold for as long as you can before lowering yourself down and taking a rest. Repeat this in a few sets and you’ll feel your legs getting heavier after each set.

29. Side Leg Raises

While standing in front of the chair, you can put your hands on the chair for better balance. Keep your feet at a shoulder-width distance and raise one leg to the side, as high as you can. Try and hold the position at the highest for 2 seconds before lowering the leg. Repeat this with the other leg, until you complete about 10 reps.

30. Leg Curls

To perform leg curls, stand in front of a chair you can use to keep balance. When you’re in a position, push one of your legs behind your back, all the way to your lower back. Hold for a few seconds before lowering your leg, and then repeat it with the other leg. This exercise should help you work your muscles, leading to better leg strength, but also better mobility and balance.

31. Squats

Squats are one of the best exercises to improve your leg strength if you have the strength and are mobile enough to perform them. You can help yourself with the chair behind your back, just to ensure you avoid any accidents. By squatting down and pushing back up, you’ll work many leg muscle groups that will lead to better strength, better balance, improved mobility, and it can even eliminate lower back pain.

How to Encourage Seniors to Get Physically Active

Getting physically active at the golden time of your life can be painful at first and difficult, but that’s not the reason not to do it. Getting physically active and exercising can lead to many more benefits and it can even help you be more physically ready to enjoy your life.

The biggest encouragement for seniors is to take things slow and start at a slow pace. Getting to know the exercise is getting half of the workout done when a senior is just getting started. Having hydrating beverages of their liking is also a great way to ensure the exercise feels much easier to do.

Keeping things fun and adding fun aspects to workouts (whenever possible) is a great way to keep seniors entertained and focused on the workouts. Days off (rest days) are much needed so it incorporates them into the routine, as well as encouraging seniors with words, and supporting their lifestyle choices.

Changing things up and relying on a variety of exercises can make every next exercise feel different and more interesting to seniors, and adding a bit of exercise to each part of their life is a great way to help them get physically active.


This article is great proof that no matter the age, there are tons of great exercises that seniors can do to get in better shape, which can help them enjoy their golden years much better.

With so many different exercises, it’s important to keep things interesting, unique, and fun. Starting at a slow pace is highly recommended and then getting consistent with the exercise routine will lead to a much better senior life.

What’s also great about these exercises is that they can be done at home, with no equipment, and yet incorporated into every part of the senior’s lifestyle.

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What is the most appropriate exercise for older adults?

A brisk walk is the most appropriate exercise for adults of any age, shape, and lifestyle choice.

Should seniors exercise every day?

Having a rest day between exercising days is important, so it’s not recommended for seniors to exercise every single day.

What time of day is best for seniors to exercise?

Morning, sometime after breakfast is the best time for seniors to exercise as they’ll have the most energy at that time of the day.

What are examples of simple exercises to improve balance in the elderly?

Flamingo stands, body circles and foot taps are just some of the best exercises to improve balance in the elderly. They’re fairly easy to do and yet they can help improve the balance without being too hard on the seniors.

What exercises should older adults not do?

Heavy weight lifting that puts strain and weight on the joints and muscles is something older adults shouldn’t do as this could lead to injury and joint issues.

Should seniors exercise before or after breakfast?

It’s best to exercise after breakfast, a few hours after is just fine. This will help them digest the breakfast and have plenty of energy for exercise.

Which is the most common barrier to exercise in seniors?

Discomfort and pain are the most common barrier that prevents seniors from exercising.

What happens if seniors don’t exercise?

Their physical shape weakens and they slowly lose the ability to perform things the way they used to.

Is cardio good for seniors?

Yes, as long as seniors pay attention to their heart rate and ensure their heart rate fits the estimated average zone for seniors.

What’s the best exercise for a 70-year-old?

Walking, seated squats, and even arm circles make the best exercises for a 70-year-old senior.

What exercises should be avoided after 60?

Deadlifts, leg presses, chest presses, overhead presses, long runs, and weighted squats are just some of the exercises that are best to avoid after 60.

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