Exercises for the Elderly
Browse articles:
Auto Beauty Business Culture Dieting DIY Events Fashion Finance Food Freelancing Gardening Health Hobbies Home Internet Jobs Law Local Media Men's Health Mobile Nutrition Parenting Pets Pregnancy Products Psychology Real Estate Relationships Science Seniors Sports Technology Travel Wellness Women's Health
Browse companies:
Automotive Crafts & Gifts Department Stores Electronics Fashion Food & Drink Health & Beauty Home & Garden Online Services Sports & Outdoors Subscription Boxes Toys, Kids & Baby Travel & Events

Exercises for the Elderly

The following program is designed for the elderly with the purpose of improving physical fitness and preventing musculo-skeletal problems such as weak feet, backache, and neck pain.


The following program is designed for the elderly with the purpose of improving physical fitness and preventing musculo-skeletal problems such as weak feet, backache, and neck pain.

Exercise 1: Swinging the arms

PURPOSE: To improve digestion, blood circulation, and general well-being and to keep the shoulder joints in good shape and prevent “frozen shoulders.”

STARTING POSITION: Starting with the feet shoulder width apart. The trunk is straight, head erect but relaxed, mouth closed naturally, the tip of the tongue placed against the hard palate, eyes looking forward. Arms hang naturally at the sides. Fingers spread naturally.


MOVEMENT: Swing the arms forward as high as the navel. Then swing arms downwards and upwards naturally. With the continuing rhythmic swinging of both arms, the lumbar region and the pelvis sway forward and backward with the same rhythm. Repeat this swinging motion 100-200 times (about 2-3 minutes), initially. Later, as the level of fitness improves, the number swinging motion may be increased to 300-500.

Note: 1. Relax the entire body as much as possible during the exercise.

2. The swinging motion should be light, rhythmic, effortless, performed at an easy and comfortable rate, about 50 swings per minute.

3. Continue to breathe naturally during the exercise.

Exercise 2: The cow looking at the Moon

PURPOSE: To develop the flexibility of the neck muscles and cervical spine in order to prevent a stiff neck.

STARTING POSITION: Standing or sitting

MOVEMENT: 1. Bend the head to the right and twist it slightly to the left, eyes looking toward the sky (or ceiling). Then return to the starting position.


2. Bend the head to the left and twist it slightly to the right, eyes looking toward the sky (or ceiling). And again, return to the starting position.

Repeat this exercise 8-10 times.

Exercise 3: The Dragon Stamping on the Earth

PURPOSE; To strengthen the feet and prevent loss of bone mass in the heel bone

STARTING POSITION: Standing on the feet slightly apart. Hands embrace both shoulders.

MOVEMENTS: Grip the toes to the ground and stamp with the heels 24 times.

Note : The stamping motion should be moderate in effort.

Exercise 3: Rowing

PURPOSE: To improve the general fitness and develop the flexibility of the spine.

STARTING POSITION: Standing, feet slightly apart    

MOVEMENT: 1. Step forward with left foot. Stretch both arms forward and upward, with the trunk falling slightly forward at the same time.

2. Then draw the hands downward and backward, with the trunk raising and extending slightly forward at the same time. Repeat this 8 times, then return to the starting position. Stepping forward with the right foot this time, this time repeat the movements in step 1 and step 2, and again return to the starting position.

Repeat the entire exercise 8 times.

Note : The movements of the arms should be performed rhythmically as in rowing.

Exercise 5: Handling two chestnuts in one hand

PURPOSE: To facilitate peripheral circulation in the upper arms, and develop flexibility of the finger joints.

STARTING POSITION: Sitting or standing

MOVEMENTS: Place two chestnuts (or small rubber balls, marbles, or smooth round stones) in the palm of the right hand. Move them in the finger of the right hand for 2 minutes. Then repeat this using the left hand.  

Note : Handle the chestnuts with only one hand at a time, being careful not to let them slip off the palm.

Exercise 6: Half-squat

PURPOSE: To develop flexibility of the hip and knee joints , and strengthen the legs

STARTING POSITION: Standing, arms at side

MOVEMENTS: Take a step to left with the left foot, while bending the knees and hips to lower the body to half-squatting position. At the same time, bending the elbows and pressing the hands downward. Then return to the starting position. Repeat the movements, this time stepping on the right. Then return again the starting position.

Repeat the entire exercise 8-10 times.

Note : Do the half-squatting in a relaxed manner.

Exercise 7: Walking and massaging the Abdomen

PURPOSE: To stimulate digestion and blood circulation, especially after having a big meal.


MOVEMENTS; Walk 100-500 steps at a comfortable pace. Meanwhile massage the abdomen with both hands in a circular stroking manner.


Massage 1: Hitting the arms and legs

PURPOSE: To stimulate peripheral blood circulation.


1. Hit the left arm with the right open hand then reverse.

2. Then slap the thigh and lower legs with both palms.


Repeat this sequence for one minute.

Massage 2: Acupuncture on chu san li ( the point of longevity)

PURPOSE: To improve general health and strengthen the legs.

STARTING POSITION: Chu san li is located 2 ½ inches below the outer edge of the knee cap. Press the point with the thumb and rub it gently for one minute. Then repeat on the other leg.

Massage 3: Stroking the Point.

PURPOSE: To prevent backache and increase vitality.


MASSAGE: Shen shu is located in the lumbar region. Rub or stroke this area for 3-5 minutes.

Massage 4: Rubbing the Knees

PURPOSE: To strengthen the knees


MASSAGE: Rub the surface of the left knee with both hands for 2 minutes. Then knead the back of the left knee for one minute. Repeat on the other leg in the same manner.

Massage 5: Stroking the Point – Yung Chuan

PURPOSE: To strengthen the feet, induce sound sleep, and lower high blood pressure.


MASSAGE: The Yang Chuan point is located in the middle of the sole. Rub this point on the left sole with the right thumb until there is feeling of warmth in the area. Then repeat it on the other foot.

Need an answer?
Get insightful answers from community-recommended
in Senior Health on Knoji.
Would you recommend this author as an expert in Senior Health?
You have 0 recommendations remaining to grant today.
Comments (3)

the elderly are often not able to sit down on the floor like that, it is best to consult with a physical therapist before trying any exercise that you are not used to.

I liked the series you had for this children and elderly. Fab work! I' sorry I'm out of votes for today but I buzzed this for you.

Ranked #3 in Senior Health

Thanks Carol and Tanya.