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10 seated exercises for those with limited mobility

Exercise might seem off-limits for those with reduced mobility, however, moving our body is good for our health. Even if you are restricted to limited movements, it’s important to keep your bodies in the best shape possible based on your individual needs. Whether you find yourself with limited mobility due to ageing joints or through injury, there are options to keep you as healthy and fit as possible.

As we age, our joints and muscles naturally weaken and our mobility may become limited due to ailments such arthritis which affects the joints. If you find yourself among the many that have limited mobility you might be wondering what exercises you can do if you can’t walk or find a lot of exercises difficult or painful. Don’t let that limit you, there are plenty of exercises that can be completed from a chair. We’ve pulled together a list of the 10 best seated exercises for people with limited mobility.

Upper body seated exercises

  1. Seated Row

The seated row is a great exercise for strengthening the upper body, with a focus on the upper back and chest muscle groups. To complete this exercise, sit on the edge of a chair and hold your arms out in front of you. Make sure to bend your elbows slightly with thumbs pointing up at the ceiling. From there, pull your elbows back making sure to squeeze the shoulder blades together with each ‘pulling’ motion. This can be repeated 8-12 times before resting.

  1. Overhead Arm Raises

This exercise focuses on strengthening the arms and shoulders. Ensure you are using an armless chair to complete this exercise. Sit with your feet flat against the floor and back straight against the chair, your arms should be bent, palms forward-facing.

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Slowly raise your arms above your head, pause when you reach the top and lower them to return to the starting position. You can also do this with a light 1kg weight, but if that’s too difficult, start without and work your way up to it. This can be repeated 8-10 times before resting.

  1. Pillow Squeezes

A gentle seated exercise that anyone can complete, this is a great way to start. Hold onto a thick pillow while seated and place the pillow against your chest. Wrap your arms around and squeeze tight, like giving a hug, then release and return to the starting position. This can be repeated 10-12 times.

  1. Air Punching

A great strengthening exercise that can also assist with cardiovascular health as well. Clench your fists tightly, extending your arms out in front of you. Alternate as you push or punch your arms forward in front of you. Complete 15 punches on each side and then take a 30-second break before repeating. For additional benefits, you can add light weights.

  1. Hand Squeezes

Despite the name, this seated exercise also works on the muscles in the arms and chest. Hold out a ball in front of you and push or squeeze the ball together like you are trying to push the air out of it. To increase intensity push the ball out in front while you’re squeezing and then return back to the chest. You can repeat this 10-12 times.

  1. Seated Russian Twist

Moving from the arms to the core, this exercise works your tummy muscles. Hold a ball with both hands in front of you close to your body with your elbows bent tucked into your waist. Gently rotate your torso to the right as far as is comfortable before returning to the centre and rotating then, to the left. It’s important to keep the rest of your body still and maintain good posture. One set is rotating to both sides and you can do 8-10 of these before rest.

Lower body seated exercises

  1. Knee Extensions

Strengthening the lower body with these exercises is beneficial for maintaining mobility in the knee joints too. Sit on the edge of a chair with your knees bent and your posture straight. Holding onto the side of the chair extend your left leg outward from the knee, pointing your toes toward the ceiling without locking your knee. Return the leg to the starting position and complete on the right side. Complete 10-12 repetitions on each side.

  1. Thigh Squeeze

Working on the inner thigh muscles, sit on the edge of a chair and keep your back straight with your knees bent. Place a ball between your knees and gently press them together, hold for 2 seconds and release while maintaining enough tension to keep the ball between your knees. Repeat 10-12 times before rest.

  1. Knee Lifts

This exercise works both the legs and abdominal muscles as well as the hip flexors. This is a key exercise for working multiple muscle groups with a single exercise. While you are sitting bring one knee slowly towards your chest and lower again to the starting position. Repeat this 10-12 times on the same leg before switching to the other and completing 10-12 repetitions on that side.

  1. Chair Squats

If you have a full range of motion you can complete this exercise. Start in a standing position and carefully and slowly bend at the knees until you are touching the seat. Without letting your full weight rest on the chair return to a standing position. This exercise is ideal for those who have a full range of motion but cannot complete more demanding standing exercises.

Exercising with limited mobility may seem difficult initially, however with the right seated exercises you can continue to maintain your health and fitness to the best of your ability. Exercise has been linked to improved cognitive and mental health as well as reducing the impact of chronic diseases. Continuing to exercise as you age is important for maintaining mobility, flexibility and balance as much as possible. We hope you find these seated exercises useful if you are experiencing reduced mobility.

We understand that limited mobility can also cause concerns for other areas of everyday life. To help around the home Premier Care in Bathing offer a range of walk-in showers and walk-in baths for convenience. If you’re looking to find easier ways to adapt your home to suit your mobility needs, explore our range today.