5 Simple Exercises to Help Seniors Start the Year Right

As January kicks in, we’re all about fresh starts and new habits. After the holiday season, many of us look forward to hitting the reset button in the new year. Plus, did you know that January is Family Fit Lifestyle month? It’s not just about the gym; it’s about keeping our families healthy, including our seniors. So, let’s make sure our older loved ones have some easy exercises to kick off 2024 on a fit note!

Doing exercises tailored for seniors isn’t just about staying active; it’s like giving them a super healthy pill. Dr. Robert Butler, who knows a thing or two about aging from his time at the National Institute on Aging, once said that if exercise could be packed into a pill, it would be the most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.

The key is to move, even if it’s just a little. These exercises below  aren’t just about breaking a sweat; they can help reduce pain, lower the risk of diseases, beat the blues, sharpen focus, boost strength and flexibility, and amp up your loved ones energy levels.

Now, before your loved one jumps into any exercise routine, please have a chat with their medical provider. They’ll guide you on what works best for your loved one’s unique health needs. Safety first, right? So, let’s get moving and kick off 2024 on a healthy note!

1. Arm Raises
Arm Raises are a simple way to build some strength and increase flexibility. For this simple exercise, seniors can slowly raise their arms and hold in place for up to 10 second intervals and back down. They may repeat this for a desired number of reps. Arm strength and flexibility is crucial in improving a senior’s independence in daily abilities.

2. Shoulder Shrugs and Rolls
These simple exercises and stretches may help release tension in the back, neck, and shoulders. Working with the senior to shrug their shoulders up, bringing them close to their ears, and release. The senior may also incorporate slowly rolling their shoulders backwards and forwards. These exercises help ease pain in everyday movements of the head and neck.

3. Leg Lifts

Leg lifts can improve flexibility, strengthen legs, and even work some core muscles. When in a seated position, seniors may gently raise the leg to extension and can hold for up to 10 seconds. When laying down, the senior may gently bend at the knee, then slowly raise to extension while once again holding for up to 10 seconds.

Whether standing or in a seated position, marching in place is a great and easy way to incorporate light aerobic activity into a routine. A goal to aim for would be 10 knee raises on each leg. When standing, this exercise may improve balance. However, some seniors may need to hold onto the back of a chair for balance. Seated marches are good for engaging core and leg muscles. Whether standing or in a seated position, these movements should be done in a slow and intentional manner to reap the benefits and reduce risk of falling or injury.

5. Dance
Lastly, dancing is a very fun and creative way to get aerobic exercise and move the body. Throw on some favorite music and make your own moves. Whether you incorporate your hands, arms, legs, or shoulders, any movement can be good movement. This can also help improve mood and increase energy.


For more information on exercises and other topics related to Aging and Older Adults, please visit this resource for free printable guides.