10 Easy and Effective Exercises for Senior Citizens


Ozzias T. Villaver, Jr., Ed. D. | VigorBuddy

Old age is inevitable. Whether we like it or not, there is a certain point of significant stage in our later life that we have to feel preserving our youthful appearance, physically fit and new “psyche.”  Physiologically, the elderly people cannot have the same high heart rates that the younger ones attain. An older person can make his own routine of exercises, perhaps, thrice weekly or more frequently.  Linda Webb, in her Good Housekeeping Institute and Diet Program, shared these following simple exercises or bodily movements that older people, whether in standing position or in a wheelchair like the no.1, 2, 3, 6 and 10.  Here are ten simple exercises for later life or senior citizen.

  1. Arm swing: One of the simplest of all exercises, the arm swing involves rotating the right arm forward five times, then reversing the motion and rotating backward an equal number of times.  Repeat with the left arm.  Place both arms together, windmill fashion, and swing five times.
  2. Finger squeeze:  Extending your arms forward at shoulder height, with right knees in succession.  Repeat the knee lifts ten times.
  3. Arm turn: Extend your arms straight out to the sides.  With palms up, cup your hands and rotate your arms so the palms face down.  Return to the starting position.  Repeat five times.  Starting with your palms down, cup hands, and move your 5 arms in the opposite direction.  Repeat five more times.
  4. Shoulder roll:  Beginning with your arms at your sides, roll your shoulders forward slowly.  Your shoulder should describe a full circle.  After five repetitions, reverse the direction of the roll and repeat five more times.  End with a shrug.
  5. Body stretch:  Keeping your left foot firmly planted, extend your foot forward as far as possible.  Bend your body forward at the same time, arms extended out in front, in a kind of lunge.  Count to five, stretching a little more on each count.  Switch, extending the left foot and keeping the right planted.  With each stretch, while holding for the five-count, lift up on the toes of your back foot.  Repeat five times with each foot.
  6. Head and neck exercise:  Hands on hips, bring your head down and forward so that your chin touches you chest.  Then bend your head backward as far as you comfortably can.  Bring your head back to the starting position, erect, then turn it slowly to the left, then to the right.  Repeat the entire cycle five times.
  7. Body bend and turn:  Again with your hands on your hips, bend slowly forward from the waist until you can bend no farther.  Stand straight and lean back from the hips.  Return to the starting position, bend slowly to the left, then to right, and come back to the erect position.
  8. Body bender:  Place your left hand on your left hip.   Raise your hand straight overhead.  To a count of bend toward the left.  Returning to the starting position, change hands, raising the left and putting the right on your right hip.  Bend toward the right.  Each bend should be done to a count of two..  Repeat five times on both sides.
  9. Wing stretcher:  Standing with your feet about six inches apart, tighten your leg muscles and draw in your stomach while extending your chest.  Bring your arms up, while extending your chest. Bring your arms up, fists clenched, so that both elbows and fists are at shoulder level and your fists are in front of your chest.  In this position, with muscles taut, take a deep breath and release it slowly.  Vibrate your arms toward the back for a count of three.  Repeat three times and work up to five.
  10. Arm thrust:  From the same starting position, clenched fists again in front of your chest, thrust your arms forward at shoulder height.   Bring your fist back toward your chest and swing your arms out of the sides.  Bring your arms back to the chest and thrust them vigorously up and down.  Repeat three times.

Remember:  The senior citizen should observe the given instructions in each exercise. If three repetitions are called for, he/she should repeat only thrice.  Because every exercise has its set so that the optimal results could be achieved. Take a rest for awhile when he/she feels too tired and the pacing is too strenuous. He/she may eliminate some exercises. When he/she feels ready to proceed with other exercises, take them gradually then increase the number of times after a week, depending upon the progression of the program.

(Reference: Wagman, Richard J.  M.D., F.A.C.P. (The New Complete Medical and Health Encyclopedia. Vol. IV.  Chicago: J.G. Ferguson Publishing Company, @ 1996).