Sit and be fit!

Regular exercise is crucial for leading an active, healthy, independent and happy life. When we think about exercise, the first thing that comes to our mind is going for a walk or the standing routines. However, for many elderly this could be a challenge for various reasons like limited mobility, arthritic pain, loss of balance or a recent surgery. Because of this, most of  the seniors hesitate to exercise and even in those who start there is a  poor compliance. But what if you could be active while still sitting? Chair exercises are a boon for seniors. Chair exercises prove to be vital in giving our body the much needed benefits and at the same time preventing any further injuries.

Now the next question arise, can you get fit from your seat? Yes, indeed, chair based exercises prove to be a great blessing for seniors especially for those with limited mobility, balance issues and joint issues. For an older adult, in a dilemma between preventing the pain and the pain due to exercise, chair exercises are the best solution. Believe it or not, chair exercises are a great way to incorporate low impact movement into your daily routine without any fear of falling or injuring the joints. Just because it is seated does not mean that you won’t sweat! They allow older adults who otherwise would not be able to exercise consistently to improve their strength, cardiovascular fitness, and mobility—without the high risk of injury present during traditional exercise routines. Seated exercises are gentler on the joints and will reduce pain, not add to it.

Strength Training in Sitting

 Benefit of chair exercises:

Chair exercise encompasses far more than just movements. Chair exercises offer all the benefits of standing routine without any risk. It improves the joint range of movement and increases flexibility, strengthens and stabilizes muscles, reduces joint pain and stiffness, improves heart and lung health, boosts your mood and lowers stress levels. Improving the muscle strength and joint flexibility would indirectly contribute to improved balance as well. Thus an overall improvement in health and fitness can be observed.

Improvement in balance, gait speed, grip strength and several other physical measurements has been documented in individuals who engaged in chair based exercise. These findings further prove that it is particularly important for those who are currently inactive, and as such, chair-based exercise can be promoted as a safe and progressive mode of activity for those who may be frail or deconditioned.

How are chair based exercises better than the standing routines?

  • The major benefit of chair exercises is the reduced risk of falling.
  • Chair exercises are equally challenging to the upper body and abdominal muscles compared to standing routine.
  • Chair exercises minimizes load bearing on the joints and hence less pressure on the weak and painful joints.
  • It increases the confidence in those unable to perform free standing exercises.
Cardio-Pulmonary Training in Sitting

When to consider chair-based exercises?

Chair Based exercises are beneficial for those with

  • Poor balance, and a higher risk of falling during exercise
  • Joint pain that makes standing painful and difficult
  • Limited range of motion or poor mobility
  • Recovering from a surgery or an injury
  • Beginning a routine and need to start slow and work up to standing exercises

What type of exercises can be done in sitting?

It is very important to incorporate the three types- cardiovascular, flexibility and strengthening exercises in your routine.

  • Cardiovascular- Getting tired on walking for a distance? Panting while climbing a few stairs. This is a common experience by most of the elderly and the culprit is poor cardiovascular-pulmonary health. Chair aerobics can effectively increase your heart rate and endurance which makes your everyday routines easier.
  • Strengthening- Unable to carry your grocery bag home? Unable to walk for longer distance? The reason could be weakened muscles. You can exercise using dumbbells, Thera bands, weighted cuffs or even isometric exercises in sitting for upper extremity and lower extremity can help you. Core strengthening exercises play a major role in keeping the back pain under control and also improve balance. These exercises can be comfortably done in sitting.
  • Flexibility: Flexibility exercises help enhance your range of motion, prevent injury, and reduce pain and stiffness. These may include stretching exercises.
Flexibility Training in Sitting

How to start Chair Exercises?

Ready to get started with seated exercise? All you need is a chair, a positive attitude and a strong desire to stay healthy!

Pick out a good chair. It should be a sturdy chair with a straight back . Don’t use the rolling chairs. A wooden chair is a good option.

Keeping your body agile remains a cornerstone in healthy and graceful ageing. Now that we know, there is a way to exercise keeping the pains, imbalance and limited mobility at bay, there is no real excuse to offer to miss exercising. Regular physical exercise is the key to staying fit even during old age. Chair exercises allow seniors to easily perform workout routines, despite their weakened physical strength.


Masters in Physiotherapy,
Wellness Coach for Seniors

Exercise is THE IMMUNE BOOSTER that the world needs now!

syringe and pills on blue background
Photo by Anna Shvets on

The vaccines are finally here! But the big question is, how well prepared are our elderly to receive the vaccine?

Since the escalation of the COVID-19, over a billion people across the world have faced restrictions due to varying degree of confinement. This confinement has forced our seniors devoid of physical activity and increase in sedentary behaviour. Social Isolation has had a major impact on the mental health, incidence and progression of non-communicable diseases and lower immunity.

And since our elderly are already associated with a decline in normal functioning of the immune system described as ‘immunosenescence’, the effects are double-folded for this age group. This  can contribute to poorer vaccine response and increased incidence of infection  seen in older people.

According to researchers at the University of Bath, stay at home should not mean that people should stop exercising. Keeping up with regular, daily exercise will impact and play a vital role in helping maintain a healthy immune system, which will in turn work effectively following vaccination.

Having an active immune system to counter infections and to respond actively to vaccination is the need of the hour during this pandemic. And in general, it is widely accepted that exercise plays a key role in building immunity. It is proven that bouts of exercise enhance immune surveillance. The haemodynamic changes produced due to exercise facilitate the activation of immune response. While the immune system responds to single bout in a transitory way, it is likely that these effects accumulate over time and produce immunological adaptations. Regular exercise can enhance vaccination response increase T-cells and boost the function of the natural killer cells in the immune system. Also, our skeletal muscles are an important immune regulator which is activated by regular exercise specifically, strengthening exercise.

Regular moderate intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking, running or cycling is recommended, with the aim of achieving 150-300 minutes per week. Resistance exercise atleast twice a week, has clear benefits for maintaining muscles, which also helps movement. Given the current scenario, it is also important to maintain good personal hygiene while exercising.

In addition to getting MODERATE EXERCISE there are plenty of things you can do to boost your immunity and reduce your odds of getting sick and also be better prepared to receive the vaccine:

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Eat healthy and balanced diet.
  • Stay hydrated
  • Get good sleep
  • Wear a mask
  • Practice good hand hygiene.
  • Maintain a safe physical distance between yourself and other people

So what are you waiting for?  Move more, be active, stay fit, boost your immunity and wait for the vaccine to free us from the clutches of the pandemic!

Yes! Don’t stop exercising….It is more important NOW THAN EVER to stay active!  Your immune system will thank you!

Sunandha Sampathkumar
Sunandha Sampathkumar

Co-Founder,Growing Young
Senior Wellness Coach

Age is Just a Number

Physical activity is important no matter how old you are. Whether you are ten years old or seventy years old, you can reap the benefits of exercising. One way I choose to exercise is by playing tennis. Almost 60 million men and women play this sport. It is one of the most popular sports in the world. I started playing tennis when I was eleven years old and now I am a collegiate athlete and a part time coach. 

As a part time coach, I see people of various ages playing the sport of tennis. One of the things that surprised me the most was watching how dedicated some of the senior citizens were. Everyday at 9 am sharp, a group of ladies would come out and play tennis competitively. They would play a full match, and scrimmage against each other. They only called this a “team practice”. Over the weekends, in season, these same ladies play matches against people from other clubs. They do these matches for months during their season and then go play people from other states. Their determination and competitive spirit is truly astonishing. They compete as well as an athlete in college would. They are also incredibly fit and mobile. 

I play in a class every Thursday night, with people of various ages and skill levels. The age range in that class went from 20 to 55. However, one day I met Mike, a 75 year old who joined the class. He was just as competitive and energetic as everyone else in the class. He could match and compete head to head with the youngest person in that class. When I asked him about his mindset, he said all he wanted to do was to be fit and do some form of physical activity. It’s such a simple goal, however, he is still having fun while being competitive. It is the will to get out of the house and do something that makes them so great. They are committed to it and they love it and that’s what makes it fun for everyone. 

In short, no matter how old you are, physical activity is important and essential to life because it has numerous benefits. Tennis is one of the ways I see people of all ages come together and compete hard. However, you can get creative and do workouts online with friends, or follow fitness influencers. In this day and age there are so many different ways to get up and get active! 

Shreyaa Mukund
Shreyaa Mukund

Case Western Reserve University – Class of 2022 
B.A. in Psychology and French, College of Arts and Sciences 
NCAA Division 3 Collegiate Athlete 

Is there a secret potion to grow young? -Living life beyond years

“You should run your life not by calendar but how you feel, and what are your interests, dreams and ambitions.” -John Glenn, the oldest person to board US space shuttle at the age of 77!

While 60 maybe an official age for retirement, more and more senior citizens consider it as a milestone to live life  the fullest , overhaul their fitness routine, give wings to their passion, unleash their creativity and sometimes even start a new career. Gone are those days when seniors are often related to creaky joints, sleepless nights, a wardrobe full of medicines. There seems to be a radical shift in the thought process of seniors and their care givers and more and more importance is given to independent living.

More people than before recognize the importance and possibility of retaining vitality through the lifespan. Today’s baby boomers is less inclined than past generation to accept limitation imposed by ageist stereotypes. In today’s scenario, we see many seniors living alone which has changed the expectation regarding functional independence. While there is a radical shift in the thought process, it still remains insufficient.

According to the United Nations Population Fund &HelpAge India, the population of senior citizens would increase to 173 million by 2026, which is about 20% of our population. The health span of this sizable population is a raising concern.

While aging process is largely determined by genetic factors many studies are right now proving that it  is heavily influenced by lifestyle factors like diet and exercise. While the fact that active living enhances the quality of life, it is sad to note that only 1/3 to ¼ of the geriatric population actually exercise to meet the criteria. Majority of people 65+ do not engage in physical activity at a level necessary to receive health benefit.

But the best part is it is never too late. Studies have proved that many non-athletes are also ageing with amazing vitality and demonstrate that simply staying fully engaged in life offers the opportunity for vitality, meaning and purpose.

Life is not just about reaching milestones , it is about living the moment. Given our responsibilities, we tend to oversee the happiness in each moment. But now is the time for you to sit back, cherish every moment that comes in your way and live life to the fullest. And to do this, all you have to do is stay active and exercise a little bit regularly.

Yes, active ageing is the secret potion to grow young!

Sunandha Sampathkumar
Sunandha Sampathkumar

Founder, Growing Young
Seniors Wellness Coach