6 simple exercises for seniors to do at home

Seniors above the age of 50 can take part in strength and balance exercise at least twice a week.
Seniors above the age of 50 can take part in strength and balance exercise at least twice a week.PHOTOS: FITNESS FIRST

SINGAPORE - Regular exercise can help seniors control their body weight, lower their blood pressure, reduce their risk of heart disease and strengthen their muscles.

It also helps to lower their chances of suffering an injury from a fall.

The Health Promotion Board recommends that seniors above the age of 50 take part in strength and balance exercise at least twice a week, in addition to 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each week.

House-bound seniors can become idle and isolated during this period with reduced outdoor activities and social interaction.

Fitness First training manager Christine Chiam shares six easy exercises that seniors can do at home.

VERTICAL SIT-TO-STAND WOOD CHOP

The muscles in the legs, glutes, core and shoulders will be mainly utilised in this exercise, which helps in improving the senior's full-body movement and controlled movements throughout the torso.

1. Take a seat on the tip of the chair and with your fingers interlaced, position your feet wider than your hips.

2. Apply pressure on your feet as you stand up and raise your arms over your head.

3. Keep your torso stable without arching your lower back and ensure that you are not shrugging your shoulders.

CHAIR-SUPPORTED SIDE LUNGE

This exercise works the muscles which are mainly in the legs and glutes, which are important in maintaining sideways movements for deceleration and fall prevention.

1. Place your hands on the chair at the height of your hip, and position your feet wider than your hips.

2. Push your bottom backwards and shift your weight towards the right hip while keeping your right foot grounded.

3. Keep your left leg straight with your left foot grounded.

4. Go back to your position in step one and repeat step two and three for the other leg.

STANDING HIP EXTENSION

This exercise mainly uses the muscles in the glutes and hamstrings to help build a stronger posterior chain - a group of muscles on the posterior of the body.

1. Place your hands on the chair at the height of your hip, and position your feet wider than your hips.

2. Lift one leg and extend it backwards leading from the heel.

3. Keep your hips squared and levelled.

4. Return to your position in step one and repeat the exercise by extending the other leg.



The standing hip extension (left) and standing cat-cow exercises. PHOTOS: FITNESS FIRST

STANDING CAT-COW

This stretching exercise which increases the flexibility of the neck, shoulders and backs involves the muscles mainly in the neck, back and chest.

1. Place your hands on the chair at the height of your hip, and position your feet wider than the width of your hips.

2. Inhale while you tilt your pelvis backwards as your tailbone reaches up.

3. Open your chest, with your eyes looking forward.

4. Exhale as you tilt your pelvis forward, tucking the tailbone under.

5. Chin in with your eyes looking down.

STANDING HIP FLEXOR STRETCH

This exercise stretches out the sitting muscles and mainly uses the muscles in the hip flexor - a group of muscles near the top of your thighs which is important for lower body movements.

1. Make sure that the chair is not slippery before placing one foot on it.

2. Position the other leg on the ground, slightly farther away from the chair.

3. Place both of your hands on the thigh of your elevated leg.

4. Lift the heel of the leg on the ground slightly and push your hips towards the chair.

5. (Optional) You may also try raising one arm.


The standing hip flexor stretch (left) and seated figure-4 stretch.  PHOTOS: FITNESS FIRST

SEATED FIGURE-4 STRETCH

This exercise, which uses mainly the muscles in the glutes, helps the elderly in stretching the glutes and reduces stiffness in the lower back.

1. Sit on a chair and cross one of your legs over the other, ensuring that your ankle is on top of the knee.

2. Use your hands to push the knee on top, towards the floor.