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Over 70s Exercises at Home

Discover five easy and effective home exercises for seniors over 70 — recommended by personal trainer, Ben Broadhead. Learn more.

Personal trainer, Ben Broadhead, leading an older adult exercise workshop. Ben sits on a chair with his arms outstretched and the other people in the room copy his movements
Health and wellbeing
Posted 20 December 2023
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Exercise for over 70s: 5 easy workouts at home

What exercises can over 70s do at home? Berkshire-based personal trainer, Ben Broadhead, shares five simple exercises you can do at home to improve mobility, flexibility and even your mood.

With a specialist background in helping older adults, Ben understands the importance of exercise as we age and holds regular weekly classes at McCarthy Stone communities Albert Court and Swift House, as well as workshops in the Maidenhead area.

To find out more, we asked Ben why exercise is so important as we age — and how you can improve your fitness with over 70s exercises at home.

"I specialise in working with seniors and I’m hyper-aware of the importance of exercise as we age but also of the barriers, both physical and psychological, that can inhibit us from staying healthy in later life. My mission is to create an image of fitness that feels accessible, liberating us all to stay active."

The benefits of exercise for those over 70

“I’ve encountered numerous misconceptions regarding exercise for those over 70. Most notably, the idea that it’s simply not relevant to seniors. I think it’s because we view fitness as a vehicle towards a particular physique as opposed to a means of maintaining the ability to live life to the full. Fitness has a direct bearing on our independence.

“I’ve had the good fortune in my career to witness people of varying ages create meaningful improvements in their health and fitness. My wish is that others will feel inspired to do the same. Remember, exercise can prevent or lessen the effects of some age-related health problems. It’s never too late to start!”

Get fit for daily tasks

“With clients, I prioritise movements that reflect the demands of daily living. For example, I may prescribe squats to replicate the movement pattern of getting out of a chair. Approaching fitness from this angle is fantastic for motivation.”

Improve bone and muscle strength

“Age-related musculoskeletal decline can be reduced and even reversed using a programme that includes both weight-bearing and resistance exercise. Maintenance of muscle tissue means that joints are properly supported, we have stability in our movements, and we can perform daily tasks with minimal effort. Training can yield a significant increase in bone mass, decreasing the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.

Exercise equals a happier retirement

“Aside from the physical benefits, those who engage in regular exercise can experience improved confidence, self-esteem, vitality, energy levels, happiness, and quality of life.”

5 home exercises for over 70-year-olds

If you are looking to improve your fitness from the comfort of your own home then these five seated exercises are a good place to start. They are taken from Ben’s recent book 50 Exercises for Older Adults. Aim to do these exercises three times a week.

1. Sitting to standing squat

Sitting to standing squat

How to do it

  • Sit up tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Tilt forward slightly from your hips while keeping a straight back.
  • Press through the heels of your feet, bringing yourself to a standing position.
  • Push your hips back slightly towards your heels and slowly lower yourself back into the chair, keeping your knees in line with your toes.
  • Aim for 2 sets of 5-10 repetitions with a minute’s rest in between.

The benefits

The squat works almost all of the muscles in the lower body simultaneously, making it massively efficient for those short on time. Squats can help us become more confident when standing up from a chair and walking.

2. Hip hinges

A senior during and after completing a hip hinge exercise

How to do it

  • Shuffle forward slightly in your chair, sitting up nice and tall.
  • Slowly hinge forward from your hips, keeping your chest up and your back straight. Looking straight ahead can help with this.
  • You want to hinge as far as you can while maintaining a neutral posture. As soon as your back starts to curve, you’ve gone too far.
  • From this position, start to sit back up slowly, feeling the tension in your erector spinae muscles, which run down either side of the spine.
  • Aim for 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions with a minute’s rest in between.

The benefits

This exercise targets the spinal erectors: two strips of muscle that run down each side of the spine. They help to straighten the back, allowing for an upright posture.

3. Bent over row

A senior before and after completing a bent over row exercise, with weights in hand

How to do it

  • Sitting up tall near the edge of your seat, start to hinge forward from your hips.
  • Focus on keeping your chest up and your back straight. Looking directly ahead can help with this.
  • Once you are almost horizontal, hold this position with your arms hanging by your sides.
  • Pull your hands up towards your pockets in an up-and-down motion. Lead with your elbows and think about pulling your shoulders back to engage the upper back muscles.
  • Control your arms back down to the start position and repeat.
  • Use a light weight if you wish to make this more challenging.
  • Aim for 2 sets of 10-12 repetitions with a minute’s rest in between.

The benefits

Rowing movements like this one target the muscles of the back. This builds strength that enables us to maintain an upright posture.

4. Front raise

A senior before and during a front raise exercise

How to do it

  • Keeping your arms straight, raise them up until they're horizontal.
  • Lower your arms back down to your sides.
  • Keep your core muscles engaged throughout the whole movement.
  • Avoid swinging your arms and ensure that the movement is controlled.
  • Aim for 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions with 30 seconds rest in between.

The benefits

This exercise targets the shoulder muscles, particularly in the front portion of the shoulder. We use these muscles each day for tasks like carrying boxes and putting items in a cupboard. This exercise is also fantastic for people who struggle to raise their arms above their heads.

5. Leg extension

A senior before and during a leg extension exercise

How to do it

  • Shuffle back in your chair so that your upper legs are supported.
  • Kick your foot forward as if you’re kicking a ball.
  • Slowly lower your foot back to the starting position. 
  • Aim for 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions with 30 seconds rest in between.

The benefits

The leg extension strengthens your quadricep muscles – these help you to extend the knee for everyday activities like standing out of a chair and walking up the stairs. The quadriceps also provide a support network of muscle tissue that protects the knee joint, reducing its susceptibility to injury.

Get in touch with Ben

You can find more exercise advice, articles and videos by subscribing to Ben’s newsletter  and you can buy Ben’s book, 50 Exercises for Older Adults. If you’re interested in his personal training sessions (online and in person), or exercise workshops for groups, you can email him at [email protected]

Get fit with friends at McCarthy Stone

From yoga sessions to dance classes and workouts with expert personal trainers, like Ben, our retirement villages near you offer a range of opportunities to keep fit.

With friends to motivate you and classes only a short stroll from your retirement apartment, there’s no excuse not to give it a go. Find your ideal retirement property now or call our lovely team on 0800 201 4811 to discover more.

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