As we age, some daily activities become more challenging. Walking up the stairs can feel more like a climb, and getting up from the floor can make you suddenly very aware of gravity. This is because aging impacts mobility, which is your body’s ability to move around easily. Difficulty with mobility can cause aches and pains in joints, trouble with getting in and out of chairs, and instability when walking. Mobility issues affect many seniors and people with certain physical disabilities, including multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. Luckily, regular movement and exercise can help maintain and improve mobility.
Below, you will find a set of simple exercises and stretches that you can use to help improve your mobility. Some of these exercises can even be done from the comfort of a chair!
**As always, you should consult a medical professional to make sure you are able to undertake physical exercise. Remember not to overstretch to avoid injury, and if you ever feel any physical pain either before or during your exercise, please stop and consult a doctor before continuing.
Mobility exercises will help you build muscles and increase your stability. These four exercises aim to increase your leg and core strength in addition to your cardio stamina.
Walking is a simple yet effective way to exercise that can greatly help to improve your health. You can grab a friend to join you for a walk in your neighborhood or exercise in the comfort of your home with the guided video workout below!
Squats can help strengthen your entire lower body, making many daily activities, like walking, easier. Strengthening your lower body can also help reduce your chances of falling, which becomes more serious as we age.
For this exercise, stand in front of a chair with your feet apart. Bend your knees, keeping them facing forward, and slowly lower yourself down, as if you’re going to sit in the chair. You may sit down in the chair, or hover over the seat for an extra challenge. From here, use your leg and core strength to lift yourself back up.
Seated leg raises
Leg raises are a great way to build core strength. A strong core is key to maintaining mobility, as well as balance and coordination, as you get older.
To perform seated leg raises, start by sitting all the way back in your chair. Slowly straighten and raise both of your legs as high as you can. Feel free to hold onto the side of the chair for support. For an additional challenge, you can take turns elevating one of your legs higher than the other.
Seated torso twist
This is another core workout that you can do from anywhere! Sit all the way back in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Raise your arms and bend your elbows at 90 degrees, with your palms facing inward, so they’re in front of you on either side of your head. The next part is important: engage your core, or in other words, tighten your stomach muscles. Slowly rotate your torso to the right, then slowly back to the middleRepeat on the left side to complete one rep. If you’re not sure you’re doing this move right, watch the detailed video below!
At the end of each workout, make sure that you stretch to help alleviate any soreness you might feel from your workout, loosen up your muscles, and relax your joints. Stretching is also helpful for improving your flexibility and mobility over time. If you’re not sure where to start, try out the stretches explained below.
Overhead side stretch
This stretch helps you both stretch your torso and work on your balance. For this stretch, stand with your feet hip width apart. Raise your arms straight above your head. As you slowly breathe in and out, bend your torso and reach your arms to the left. Come back to the center, then bend your torso and reach your arms to the right. Repeat 3 times on each side. Watch the video below if you want to check your form.
This stretch can help strengthen your posture and alleviate that pesky pain in your neck. Slowly bring your chin down to your chest and begin moving your head from side to side. Make sure to breathe slowly as you move!
This stretch is great for stretching your shoulder joints. Maintaining your shoulder mobility can help with tasks such as getting items off of shelves and painlessly putting on clothes.
Stand or sit with your feet neutral. Move your arms into two 90-degree angles on either side of your head, with your palms facing front (like a cactus). Gently bend forward, curving and stretching your back and triceps. Hold this position for a breath or two, then return to a neutral standing or sitting position.
Combine these exercises and stretches and throw in any other exercises you like to create a daily routine that helps maintain your mobility. If you feel bored during your routine or start to dread doing it, consider listening to a podcast or exercising with a friend—whatever it takes to get moving! If you ever need additional exercises to lengthen your routine, explore these stretching exercises, perfect for seniors!