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Exercise

Seated Exercises that Can Help You Get Stronger

Editor’s note: Even if you’re not active, there are still exercises you can do to help strengthen your muscles. Here, from the SeniorHealth division of the National Institutes of Health, are some exercises that can be done while seated. As always, ask your doctor what’s right for you before you begin any exercise program.

Wrist Curls

This exercise will strengthen your wrists. Here’s how to do it:

Rest your forearm on the arm of a sturdy chair with your hand over the edge.

Hold weight with palm facing upward.

Slowly bend your wrist up and down.

Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Repeat with other hand 10 to 15 times.

Repeat 10 to 15 more times with each hand.

(Editor’s note: Don’t overdo it with weights. Start with a weight – one pound or two, for example) that you can easily lift. When you find that it’s too easy, you can move on to somewhat heavier weights, such as three pounds.)

Side Arm Raise

This exercise will strengthen your shoulders. You can do this exercise while standing or sitting in a sturdy, armless chair.

Keep feet flat on the floor, even, shoulder-width apart.

Hold hand weights straight down at your sides with palms facing inward.

Slowly breathe out as you raise both arms to the side, shoulder height.

Hold the position for 1 second.

Breathe in as you slowly lower arms to the sides.

Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Rest; then repeat 10 to 15 more times.

Seated Row with Resistance Band

This exercise will strengthen your upper back, shoulder, and neck muscles.

Sit in a sturdy, armless chair with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.

Place the center of the resistance band under both feet. Hold each end of the band with palms facing inward.

Relax your shoulders and extend your arms beside your legs. Breathe in slowly.

Breathe out slowly and pull both elbows back until your hands are at your hips.

Hold position for 1 second.

Breathe in as you slowly return your hands to the starting position.

Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Rest; then repeat 10 to 15 more times.

(Editor’s note: Because there are differing strengths of resistance bands, ask your doctor which one you should use.)

Leg Straightening Exercises

Sit in a sturdy chair with your back supported by the chair. Only the balls of your feet and your toes should rest on the floor. Put a rolled bath towel at the edge of the chair under thighs for support. Breathe in slowly.

Breathe out and slowly extend one leg in front of you as straight as possible, but don’t lock your knee.

Flex foot to point toes toward the ceiling. Hold position for 1 second.

Breathe in as you slowly lower leg back down.

Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Repeat 10 to 15 times with other leg.

Repeat 10 to 15 more times with each leg.

Adapted from NIH SeniorHealth. For more information about exercises for seniors, click here and here

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