Chair yoga safely improves senior health
Chair yoga is a great way for older adults to get the wonderful health benefits of yoga. Staying seated means that even frail seniors or those who aren’t flexible can safely do the exercises.
Yoga is an excellent way for older adults to loosen and stretch painful muscles, reduce stress, and improve circulation.
It also reduces anxiety, helps lower blood pressure, protects joints, and builds strength and balance.
We found a fantastic 30 minute routine of gentle chair yoga for seniors that’s free to watch on YouTube. Instructor Sherry Zak Morris makes the class fun and lively and explains the benefits of the movements.
We share customization and safety tips and give an overview of the movements included in this 30 minute at-home chair yoga routine.
At-home workouts are customizable
The best part of an at-home yoga routine is that it’s easy to adapt to your older adult’s abilities.
They should skip any movements that cause pain or are too difficult. And if your older adult tires easily, do easier parts of the routine rather than the full half hour.
Safety and comfort is the top priority
The number one priority is to keep your older adult safe and comfortable.
None of these movements should hurt.
Make sure your older adult moves slowly and gently and pays attention to their body. It’s better to do a little less rather than risk injury.
Older adults should follow the instructor’s movements only as far as is comfortable.
Even if they only do a fraction of the range of motion or have to skip some movements, they’ll still benefit from the exercises.
Over time, their flexibility and strength will improve and they’ll be able to do more and more.
Chair yoga for seniors: a 30 minute routine
You might want to do this chair yoga routine along with your older adult so they can watch your movements. It’s a fun activity to do together and you’ll get the health benefits too!
The only equipment that’s needed is a sturdy chair that allows your older adult’s feet to touch the floor. An optional accessory is a belt or strap to aid in stretching.
In case you want to skip around, we’ve noted the time markers for each section of the routine.
Warm up poses for heat and circulation (30 seconds in video)
This is a great way to warm up the body, improve flexibility, and reduce pain. This section lasts 10 minutes and could be a nice short routine in itself.
Standing poses for balance and strength (9:50 minutes in video)
These yoga poses are done while holding on to the back of the chair. If your older adult isn’t strong or balanced enough to do this section safely, it might be best to skip it.
Lower body poses for flexibility (14:45 minutes in video)
In this section, a belt or strap helps with stretching – any long belt, strap, or sturdy rope will do. Even if your older adult doesn’t use a belt, they can still benefit from the movements.
Shavasana (29:25 minutes in video)
Shavasana is a restful pose usually done at the end of a yoga class. Just relax and focus on breathing slowly and deeply.
Closing (31:25 minutes in video)
Instructor Sherry wraps up the class.