Physical activity is an important part of living a healthy life. While there are many different types of exercise plans, chair yoga for seniors is a gentle form of yoga that can be done while seated in a chair or using a chair for support.
Chair yoga is a great option for older adults who may have mobility issues, difficulty with traditional yoga poses, or just want to try a new and fun exercise routine. You can also click here to discover more activities that you can potentially implement into your workout routine, even with limited mobility.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, adults require at least two and a half hours of moderate to vigorous exercise weekly, as well as a minimum of 10 minutes of exercise per session. Here are some chair yoga routines that you can use to maximize your physical activity.
Seated Sun Salutation
Any list of the best types of chair yoga for seniors isn’t complete without the seated sun salutation. It’s one of the easiest poses to start with and can be very effective to promote mobility.
Start by reaching up to the sky and interlocking your fingers. Lean to the left and take three deep breaths, then inhale to straighten up to the center. After this, exhale and release your left arm. Repeat on your right side to complete the pose.
Sit down and place your hands on your knees. Inhale and arch your back, tipping your hips forward. You will start to feel your chest open up as you bring your chin up in the air with your head back.
Once you feel a good stretch, exhale and start rounding your back, while tucking your chin into your chest. Repeat three to five times, and make sure to breathe deeply throughout the exercise. This exercise will help to improve flexibility and mobility in the spine.
This seated yoga for seniors can also be done standing and is great for relieving tension in the shoulders. Start by engaging your core and sitting tall. Then, place your hands on your shoulders and slowly begin to circle your arms and elbows forward as you inhale. Reverse the circles as you exhale. Repeat for three times, before switching directions.
First, sit down and stretch out one leg. Lean forward, reaching for the ankle of your stretched leg. Hold for up to 30 seconds and then repeat on the other leg.
Sit in a chair with your feet on the ground. Sit up straight as you inhale, and twist your body to the right, as you exhale. Place your right hand on the back of the chair (or arm rest) and your left hand on your right knee. Take three breaths in the position and then repeat on the left side.
Start this position by inhaling and reaching your arms over your head. Try to touch your palms together. As you exhale, bring your arms back in a neutral position. Repeat five to 10 times.
Seated Forward Bend
Begin the pose by placing your hands on your knees and sitting tall, as you inhale. Next, bend forward at the hips slowly and exhale. It is important to keep your back straight and only bend as far as you can feel a stretch. At the lowest point of your stretch, take five to 10 deep breaths. Return to a neutral and straight seated position while inhaling.
Seated Forward Bend With Shoulder Twist
Like the seated forward bend, begin the pose by placing your hands on your knees and sitting tall as you inhale. Next, bend forward at the hips slowly and exhale while interlacing your fingers behind you – your arms will naturally rise to the ceiling. Take five to 10 deep breaths. Return to a neutral and straight seated position while inhaling.
Seated Pigeon Pose
Sit on the edge of your chair and engage your core. Place one foot on the ground in a 90-degree angle while lifting the other foot to rest on the opposite thigh with your foot flexed. Place your hands on your knees and slowly bend forward at the hips. Take three deep breaths and then exhale as you slowly bend forward.
Seated Pigeon Pose
Sit on the edge of your chair and engage your core. Stretch your left foot out straight while lifting the other foot to rest on the opposite thigh with your foot flexed. Place your hands on your outstretched and slowly bend forward at the hips. Take three deep breaths and then exhale as you slowly bend back to a straight position.
Chair yoga exercises for seniors routines should always end with light breath work and relaxation. Start by bringing your hands to your heart, with your palms touching. Inhale, and then exhale deeply through the nose. Repeat for as many times as you need to feel relaxed.
Chair yoga for seniors helps to improve flexibility, strength, and balance. When completing chair yoga poses, it’s important to note that everyone has different mobility and flexibility ranges of motion. Therefore, what may work for one person won’t always work for another. Before starting any exercise routine, it’s best to consult with your physician to see what works best for you.
In addition to exercise, older adults should practice good sleep hygiene by resting for seven to eight hours each night.
With a little effort and consistency, following these chair yoga exercises for seniors can become a regular part of your weekly routine, helping you to feel your best each and every day.