Activities for older adults

This simple home exercise is the best for mobility and independence

The ability to stand up from a chair makes a huge difference in everyday life for seniors. It helps with essential activities like getting up from the toilet, out of bed, and out of a chair.

That’s why the sit to stand exercise is probably the best of the mobility exercises for seniors. It’s a functional exercise for that exact movement and strengthens leg, core, and back muscles – all needed to increase mobility and independence as well as improve balance.

Plus, it’s an exercise that needs no equipment and can be done anywhere you can put a chair. We found a straightforward video from Eldergym that shows how to do the basic sit to stand exercise as well as how to make it more challenging as seniors gain strength. We give an overview of the exercise instructions, recommendations for how many repetitions to do, and tips on how to keep your older adult safe while exercising. How to do the sit to stand exercise The video demonstrates how to do the basic exercise, then adds various elements to increase the difficulty as your older adult gains strength. Equipment needed A sturdy chair that won’t slide on the floor Optional for more advanced levels: a flat pillow, foam balance pad, ball/similar object

  1. Basic sit to stand exercise (1 min 5 sec in video)

Scoot/walk hips up to the edge of the chair Bring toes back underneath knees Optional: Use arms to push off the chair or off of knees Lean forward a little to bring nose over toes and push up with legs to a standing position To sit, bend a little at the knees to push hips toward chair and lower the body to a seated position Pause before doing the next repetition Safety tip: In step 3, he mentions holding onto a walker or chair to help with standing. We don’t recommend this because pulling or pushing on a walker or cane can cause the legs to slip, which then causes older adults to fall. In the video, he’s doing it more safely with one hand on the chair and one hand on the walker/cane, but doing this tends to lead to unsafe habits, like using two hands on a walker or cane.