Getting in exercise and staying active can often times feel tedious and is easily left on the back burner. It can be especially difficult if you are unsteady on your feet and struggle with balance. However, having balance difficulty does not need to be a barrier between you and your fitness goals! Through working to stay active and improve your fitness, it will even help improve your balance and stability, creating a positive feedback loop. In addition to this, studies have found that remaining active not only greatly helps reduce your mortality risk but also suggests it has an associated increase in your life expectancy by 0.4-6.9 years.
Safe Exercises to Get Started
So what are ways to stay active while not worrying about a tumble? Chair Exercises! They are as glamorous as they sound and can be done right in front of your TV, every day. All you need is some light weights (some cans from your pantry work great), a seat that you can stand up and plop down on and a little determination.
A great place to start is an exercise for your arms, core, legs and stretch. For arms start with 2-3 sets, 8-12 reps of seated shoulder presses. Move your arms from a 90 degree angle and extend fully upwards (see example above).
For your core, start with 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps of leg extensions. For these scoot towards the edge of your seat, grip the sides of the chair for support, try to get your legs parallel to the floor and slowly bend your knees in towards your chest and then extend again.
For your legs, start with a sit to stand. Move from sitting to standing position for 2-3 sets, 8-12 reps.
Lastly, for stretching, try neck stretches. With your hips towards the back of your seat and sitting upright, rotate your head from left to right slowly until you feel a stretch.
A note: these exercises are not one size fits all so if you need to modify them or if you are unsure if you should be doing them in the first place, ask your provider!
Sources: 21 Chair Exercises For Seniors: A Comprehensive Visual Guide
Does Physical Activity Increase Life Expectancy? A Review of the Literature