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10 Sitting Back Exercises for Seniors

10 Sitting Back Exercises for Seniors

Back exercises can play a great role in our general health and wellbeing. Our backbone is very important in the skeletal structure, it supports us so that we can walk, run, jump, bend and do many other things. However, we only pay attention to it when we are in pain and can no longer move as we used to. Back problems also increase with old age.

Basically, movement and strengthening of the muscles are important for a healthy back. Strong back muscles relieve the intervertebral discs, and exercised abdominal muscles relieve the back.

Elder couple has a training for back in the gym

If you want to advise the elderly on how to deal with their back pain in a healthy way, this article offers great back pain exercises you can show them. We have put together these ten sitting back exercises for the back for you, in which, among other things, the back and abdominal muscles are exercised. The back is stretched and relieved and, in particular, the perception is directed to the various functions and body movements.

General Requirements for the exercises

These gymnastic exercises were specially selected for sitting down with seniors. They can easily be done without equipment.

The starting position for the back exercises is an upright sitting position.

The back should be as straight as possible. The feet are about shoulder-width apart and the arms either lie loosely on the back of the chair or on the thighs.

It is important to ensure that the seniors breathe evenly, or to point out that they breathe deeply in and out more often during the exercises.

If you can, sit on the chair without leaning back.

In seated gymnastics with seniors, the perfect execution of the individual exercises is not important. Rather, it is important that seniors exercise regularly and enjoy the activities. Regular exercise units can train the muscles, keep joints flexible, and, above all, improve the quality of life of the trainees.

Elder woman has a training for back

As a fitness trainer who is leading the exercise program for seniors, it is important to keep in mind that many older people have rheumatism or some other bone problems. They must avoid certain exercises and not strain themselves. For example, hip rotations after hip surgery, for example, must be avoided at all costs.

If you are not sure which participant is allowed to do which exercises, ask their doctor, or request for medical record.

It’s also important to know that you’re not building up their muscles, you only want to strengthen them, so you don’t have to place them on exercises that cause pain to the muscles.

We often hear that in physical exercise, when there’s no pain, there’s no gain, but as true as that fitness motivational quote may be, pain should be limited for the seniors.

So, we wish you and the seniors a lot of fun and success!

1. Tortoise

Example for tortoise exercise

Both shoulders are pulled up slowly at the same time so that the head is hidden between the shoulders. This exercise is repeated three times.

Then, the left and the right shoulder are slowly lifted and then lowered again alternately. This exercise is also repeated three times.

2. Free Swimmer

Example for a free swimmer exercise

The shoulders are moved forward in parallel in circular movements, then the seniors let their shoulders circle backward.

If some of the seniors can perform it, they could also circle their shoulders in opposite directions after these exercises, that is, one shoulder is moved forward and the other backward at the same time.

Pay attention to a straight back here.

3. Humpback and Horseback

Example for stretching and relaxation back

This is one of the most effective stretching or relaxation back exercises. The seniors round their back, with the nose moving as close to the knee as possible. The participants rise up slowly and straighten their back. Then they arch their back as much as they can, and slightly tilt their heads back. Then they slowly go back to the initial position.

When doing this exercise, there must be a gap between the back and the back of the chair.

The movements are slowly repeated three times.

4. Giraffe Neck

Example for Giraffe Neck exercise

In this exercise, everyone makes themselves as tall as possible, the head should be kept straight. The stretched back is held for a few seconds, then the seniors go back to the initial position and relax as much as possible.

This stretching is repeated three times by all participants.

5. Left – Right – Left

Example for neck exercise

Like when you’re looking for cars in traffic jam, during this series of back exercises, the seniors slowly turn their heads first to the left, then over the middle to the right and again to the left.

If they look to the left, their right leg is raised slightly in parallel. Both legs are back on the floor above the middle. If the head moves to the right, the elderly lift their left leg slightly.

6. Big Ball Hug

Example for shoulders and back exercise

The arms are held as if one were holding a large exercise ball. The hands are clasped together. Now the participants slowly turn their upper body alternately to the left and back over the middle to the right.

During this exercise one should make sure that the movements really come from the upper body and not just the head is turned.

7. Stretching

Example for stretching

Now it’s time for one of the back exercises where everyone really makes themselves tall. When sitting, one can still stand on tiptoe even in old age. Seniors sit close to the edge of the chair so that they can get their feet on the floor. Now they stretch their arms up as high as possible. Those who can put their feet on tiptoe, the position is held for a few seconds and then released again.

Repeat the exercise three times.

8. Slow Jumping Jack

Example for arms exercise

In this exercise, the arms are first extended upwards and then to the sides. It is reminiscent of the movements of a jumping jack (without the legs).

The seniors should sit far enough apart that they do not interfere with one another.

9. Cut Cucumbers

An example for hand and shoulder exercise

We stretch forward shoulder width, and we slightly bent the elbows. The hands are held to the side with the thumbs pointing straight up. Now, everyone imagines that a long cucumber is lying in front of them. With the hands moving up and down, the cucumber should now be cut into thin slices. 🙂

10.  Foot Lifter

An example for legs and back exercise

And now one more exercise to strengthen the abdominal muscles. The seniors sit so far forward in the chair that their feet are straight on the floor. The hands lie loosely on the thighs if possible. Now, we lift one foot (not stretched out) and held, but we don’t lift the other foot. This will hold the position for a few seconds if possible.

As support for balance, the foot can be put down briefly in between, then the legs are changed.

In conclusion…

We’re sure that these back exercises will provide a great pain relief and improve the quality of life of all the seniors practicing them. As their trainer you have to be mindful of their health conditions in a far greater extent than when working with younger people. However you’ll find that enabling them to improve their quality of life can be just as rewarding as helping a young person on their weight loss and/or muscle gain journey.

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