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Seated Balance Exercises for Seniors: 5 Moves to Try

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Having some physical exercise program is essential at all times of life, especially as you age. With age comes the necessity to maintain a certain level of fitness. Research suggests that exercising improves range of motion and posture and relieves stress. Moreover, it can reduce pain by up to 72%. Often, inactivity leads to decreased balance and instability. Mobility exercises that do not strain the body can help attain the required level of fitness. 

Poor balance is another problem related to advancing age. Decreased balance can make navigation difficult, leading to an increase in falls. Fractures, reduced health, and head injuries are the direct consequences of falling. Indirectly, it can lead to loss of confidence, fear of falling, and undermined independence. A structured exercise routine supports improved balance and strength and can prevent falls.  

Chair exercises are a good option for seniors with mobility and balance issues. Seated balance exercises for seniors reduce the risk of falls, increase blood flow, and keep the joints active and lubricated. In addition to firming the muscles, these exercises build strength and endurance in the upper body.

Table Of Content

Here are 5 seated balance exercises for seniors that are safe and easily done without leaving your favorite chair.

1. Sit to Stand Squats:

You will need: A sturdy chair

Get set

  • Sit on the chair, straight, feet firmly on the ground and knees hip-width apart.

  • Cross your arms in front of your chest and raise your elbows in front of you.


  • Stand with or without the support of your hands.

  • All your weight should be on your heels. 

  • Stand straight with your chest upright.

  • Lower yourself into a squat position.

  • Sit down again.

  • Repeat 8-10 times.


  • Improves leg strength.

  • Helps maintain balance.

  • Helps in getting in and out of chairs independently.


2.Bicep Curls

You will need: A sturdy chair (optional) and light weights (if weights aren’t available, you can use bottles filled with water, or even canned goods will do).  
Get set
  • Sit or stand by the chair. 
  • (If sitting) Feet firmly on the ground and hip-width apart.
  • (If standing) Stand straight with feet hip-width apart.
  • Shoulders straight.
  • Arms by your sides.
  • Hold the weights in both hands.
  • Raise your hands in a vertical motion, up to your shoulders, keeping the wrists straight, and inhale.
  • Bring your hands down and exhale. (You can do this one hand at a time too). 
  • Repeat 8-10 times.
  • Strengthens the upper part of the arm.
  • Improves gripping capacity.
  • Strengthens bicep muscles, which makes lifting activities easier.


3. Chest Fly:

You will need: Chair (optional) and dumbbells (if weights aren’t available, then bottles filled with water/rocks or even canned goods will do).
Get set
  • Sit or stand.
  • Feet flat on the floor. Hip-width apart.
  • Keep elbows bent and at chest level. 
  • Hands by your forehead, with palms facing each other.
  • Take your elbows to your sides as though opening them up.
  • Bring them back to the start position.
  • Repeat 8-10 times.
  • Strengthens chest and shoulders.
  • Reduces upper back pain.
  • Increases range of motion.
  • Reduces tightness in the upper body.


4. Seated Leg Lift:

You will need: A comfortable chair
Get set
  • Sit, keeping your spine straight.
  • Keep your hands by your sides. 
  • Grip the seat to keep yourself stable.
  • Feet on the floor.
  • Lift one leg while bending the knee.
  • Hold for a count to 5.
  • Gently bring the leg to the start position.
  • Repeat with the other leg.
  • Repeat 8-10 sets.
  • Strengthens muscles of the lower legs.
  • Increases mobility and range of motion around the hips.


5. Shift Weight Side to Side

You will need: A comfortable chair.
Get set
  • Sit keeping your spine straight.
  • Feet firmly on the ground, hip-width apart.
  • Lean the upper body gently to the right, lift your left hip, keeping feet firmly on the ground. Hold for a count of 5-10. 
  • Come back to the starting position.
  • Repeat leaning to the left side, lifting your right hip.
  • Repeat 8-10 sets. 
  • Improves trunk control.
  • Helps with coordination. 
  • Provides a better understanding of the center of gravity.
  • Presents opportunities for strength and endurance gains.

Often, injury, illness, or strokes can result in poor balance in seniors. Seated balance exercise for seniors improves balance and muscle strength. In addition to lending better flexibility, these light exercises increase the overall fitness of seniors, improve body composition, support joint flexibility, and aid mobility. Moreover, these activities make it easier for seniors to perform everyday tasks and maintain a better quality of life. 

But before you start, here’s a checklist that you might want to consider first:

  • Check with your medical caretaker if these exercises are safe and appropriate for you.
  • Check that the chair you will be using is sturdy and does not have handles.
  • Check that the chair is on an even, flat surface.
  • Check that you are wearing comfortable clothes.
  • Breathe easy.
  • While exercising, avoid quick, jerky movements.
  • If any exercise causes discomfort, then stop immediately.




How Can I Regain My Upper Body Strength? 

Strength training and mobility exercises help regain upper body strength. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. These exercises are regenerative, can help you stay fit, maintain independence, and reduce pain. 


What Type of Exercise Benefits the Upper Body Area? 

Upper body strength can keep individuals independent for longer and is important for the body’s overall functioning. Arm raises, bicep curls, triceps extensions, wall push-ups, shoulder and upper back stretches, overhead press, and overhead elbow extensions are a few exercises that can benefit the upper body.


How Do I Build Upper Body Strength After 60?

 Research proves that exercise is the best way to gain strength across all ages. Upper body strength allows us to perform everyday tasks comfortably and keeps us feeling fit and strong. Lifting weights and strength training help develop individual muscles and add tone to the arms and shoulders. These exercises can greatly improve the upper body strength, including the back, shoulders, and arms.

Vince Baiera


Vince Baiera is the founder of step2health, a mobility aids and wellness company for older adults. He is a former ICU Nurse of the Cleveland Clinic and Duke University Hospital in the Cardiac ICU. With years of working on the frontlines, Vince noticed the struggles of older adults and people with mobility issues that became an impediment for both patients and their caretakers. He then designed and created the patented product, Step2Bed (and its variants) that helps seniors and those with mobility issues safely get in and out of bed. His philosophy concerning aging is to plan ahead and start with simple home and life modifications to avoid being overwhelmed at retirement.

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