physio exercises for seniors

Exercises for Elderly

The following exercises have been selected to help you with home rehabilitation and getting back to good health.

Please note some of them may not be suitable for you or even trigger pain.

We advise you to contact your GP, or your physiotherapist to discuss your exercise plan in more detail.

Advice from the NHS ( link to the full article below) 

Adults aged 65 and over should:

  • aim to be physically active every day, even if it’s just light activity
  • do activities that improve strength, balance and flexibility on at least 2 days a week
  • do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity if you are already active, or a combination of both
  • reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity

Walking exercises for balance and strength

Please remember that some of the following exercises should be done with supervision especially in patients at high risk of falling.

Most of the following exercises can be done with a walking aid such as rollator (3 or4-wheeler, or a walking zimmer frame)

Contact us for more advice 

1. walking with the knees higher; walk slowly and try to hold the knee higher for 2-3 seconds; balance on one leg
2. taking bigger steps
3. walking on the tip-toes; take smaller steps, feel your calves tighten up; lower your heels a little bit if required
4. goose-stepping; bring the knee up and extend
5. tandem walking – try placing one foot ahead of another
6. semi-squats – slowly bend your knees – hold 4-5 seconds and extend; make sure you do not lift your heels up while doing this exercise, remember to keep your back straight, do not look down
7. walk faster – take 20-30 faster steps
8. walk backwards – takes small steps – 20-30 steps
9. walk backwards – take bigger steps
10 walk backwards – bend your knees
11. walk backwards with your knees bent
12. walking with knees bent
13. monster walk – walk with the knees bent and make a gap between your feet
14. ice-skating – imaging being on the ice rink – place right foot to the right, left one is joining ,bend your knees, then repeat for the left side
15. walk on your heels
16. lounges – take a bigger step forward – bend your knee and hold 3 sec, take another step and repeat 10-20 times
17. walking and looking to the left, right
18. walk and lean forward pretending you want to pick up a newspaper from a coffee table

Exercises to practice sit to stand transfers 

Before you start:

place both hands on the sides of the chair
sit closer to the edge of the chair ( tilt the recliner if you need to)
tuck your feet in

Remember – use your legs when standing up

Lean forward and stand up

Modifications/ increasing difficulty

One foot ahead of another – one leg will be working harder while standing up
Change the gap between your feet – smaller the gap, standing up might be more difficult
Timing – sit down slowly on the count of 5
Sit down and pause half-way down

We provide exercises in the pdf format so that you can download and print them

Other Physiotherapy Exercises



Useful links

Links to more exercises for elderly

Chair exercises from the Royal Voluntary Service


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