5 Exercises to Improve Mobility for Seniors
By Jillesa Anderson
Mar 17, 2017
Updated Nov 17, 2023
5 min read
Mobility is key to maintaining independence, especially as people age — and for seniors, the loss of mobility has profound social, psychological, and physical consequences. If joints and muscles aren’t properly maintained, basic movements may cause pain or even injury. But the cascade of negative effects that comes with immobility can often be prevented or limited by physical activity and exercise.
Here are five exercises to help prevent immobility - especially in seniors - and help maintain proper muscle and joint function in the body:
This exercise promotes scapular retraction and will help increase shoulder flexibility and stability, as well as give your back, chest, and arms a small workout.
To make this exercise slightly more challenging, you can hold weights or small items in your hands.
Also known as chair squats, semi-sits are a safe way to build strength. The bending and stretching of your knees will strengthen your knee muscles and allow more oxygen and blood to flow around the joints, helping to keep them supple and strong.
Make sure to keep your chest and head up and don’t let your knees go past your toes. Push up through your heels.
Seated abdominal exercises allow you to strengthen your core. Maintaining your core strength is key to maintaining stability, and thus, your overall mobility.
This is another great core exercise you can do anywhere.
Don’t allow your chest to fall forward and try to keep both feet flat on the floor.
Your spine is your control center and a source of strength for many activities, and the lower lumbar region of the spine is the powerhouse of all movement. The benefits of stretching your lower back on a regular basis include improving your range of motion, reducing back pain, and increasing the flexibility of tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Stretching exercises that focus on the lower back help to relieve tension and morning stiffness.
Loss of mobility is a real problem, but it’s often preventable and treatable. There are many opportunities to move throughout the day and you can even practice many upper- and lower-body mobility exercises from a chair.
Join a local exercise class, take daily walks, or find something that works for you and make it a habit. I want you to live your healthiest life possible. Take steps now to make sure you can take the steps you need in the years ahead.