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5 Exercises All Seniors Should Do Daily

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in June of 2020. For the original video go to

Bob: Today we're going to talk about five exercises all seniors should do daily. By seniors we mean, not seniors in high school. We mean the people that are maybe a little more mature.

Brad: Fifty and older perhaps?

Bob: Five exercises, I tried to think about which exercises I think people should have. It's essential, Brad. The first exercise, I feel there had to be one posture exercise. Everybody's struggling with posture. We deal with it all day long. We have to think about it all the time.

Brad: And as seniors, if your posture gets poor, your balance automatically gets worse. They work together.

Bob: Your breathing, your pain levels. I'm going to show different options on different postures ones you can do. Just pick one, but we're going to show you a few options.

Brad: So if you get a ball, maybe for your grandkids, a softer one, actually a half flat one works better, it's more comfortable. You know a soccer ball that's blown up or a basketball will not work. So we're going to take that ball and put it behind you. You might need some help, you know if you can reach back. And don't get it too low on your back, between the shoulder blades, or whatever feels good. Everyone's a little different. I'm going to lean back, and stretch so the ball supports that mid-back, and then we're going to think about wrapping your shoulders right around the ball, with your arms in a 'W' position. You can do Bob's patented hallelujah stretch if you'd like to, with your arms up and just stretch and relax. Make sure you breathe, deep breath in, and exhale. Do those three to five times. And just keep the ball handy so you can do that a couple, three times a day.

Bob: And you can move the ball up and down to different spots. And by the way, we have to give credit to our cameraman, Mike. He invented this. Mike is a physical therapist assistant. So next one, you can actually do it without a ball too. You can do what we call a chin tuck, and then grab your neck and bring your elbows up, and bring them back. If you don't have the ball with you, you can do a chin tuck, elbows up, and spread them apart. It's like a butterfly opening its wings.

Brad: So, then you start to look up at the end a little bit?

Bob: You can do that if you want to, sure.

Brad: If your shoulders are tight or you have arthritic shoulders and you can't reach back like that, just do the best you can. And it's a good range of motion for them as well.

Bob: So either one of those is fine. I'll give you one more. You can do the wall angel. So we're going to go ahead and do a wall angel. This is nice because it gets everything lined up. If you can't get your head all the way back, go back as far as you can, and make note of it. Maybe the next day you'll be able to get further.

Brad: Sure.

Bob: So you're going to do wall angels. And I'm trying to keep my shoulders up and arms against the wall as long as possible. The left arm is started to come forward. I'm working, struggling to keep this one back.

Brad: If any of these create any sharp pain, you don't want to do them, that's for sure. So just that stretch, a stretching feeling is what we're looking for.

Bob: All right so those are three variations. You don't have to do all three. We want you to do just one because we're doing five exercises. The next exercise is squats. You need that leg strength. In fact, we find a lot of people have those automatic electric chairs that help them stand up. They get so weak, that they later can't even stand up at all. So it's good to start with a chair. Brad's going to go ahead and jump into it. You can also use the arms of the chair if there are arms.

Brad: Yeah, we don't have arms, but you could push off. We are going to show the sit-to-stand version. So I'm not leaning real far forward. You can put your hands on your legs to push up if that's easier for you. If you're strong enough and you can cross your arms in front of you, that is great, but if you're not, hands on the armrests or on your legs. And how many do you feel they should start out with?

Bob: Well, whatever they can tolerate. I'd like to see at least five. Ten would be better.

Brad: Right, and you may need to build up to that if you haven't been working out much lately.

Bob: Another way to do this, is against the wall. You put the ball against the wall, if you have one of these exercise balls, they are inexpensive.

Brad: So this is a little more advanced.

Bob: A little more, but I think it's kind of nice because it gives you support. You can keep the legs in the right position. And you can just roll up and down.

Brad: Yeah, it's very smooth. A word of warning, though. You have to make sure that your feet, like if you go stocking feet and you're on a smooth surface, your feet will slip out. So make sure your feet are gripping well to the carpet or the floor.

Bob: As you said, even on the carpet you can slide. I'm going to show you one more, Brad. We're going to be really complete here today. Posture squats are the ones I do. I get the legs quite far apart, I bring my arms up overhead and I squat down at the same time. So I'm really working all the posture muscles when I'm doing this.

Brad: Show them the incorrect one if you go too far forward . Yeah, we don't want that. Think about looking up towards the ceiling.

Bob: And really keeping good posture. The back should be nice and straight the whole time. That's the purpose of doing a posture squat.

Brad: And don't worry about getting really deep. We don't want you to fall. You're going to get plenty of exercise in a comfortable range.

Bob: All right, exercise number three: as you start getting older and this is one that I've started doing, believe it or not when I run, you need to work on some lateral movement.

Brad: Oh that's true, very true.

Bob: So if you're a little bit older and a little more worried about falling, use a countertop to hold on to, and you're going to work on doing some lateral movements.

Brad: So lateral movement means side to side, right to left.

Bob: If this is way too much, you could even do behind a chair, just start doing some hip abduction, or kicking out to the side. But I'd really rather have you do the movement.

Brad: Doing the movement at a countertop is really a nice option.

Bob: If you want to get more advanced, you could do the carioca where you step in front and behind.

Brad: If you've had a hip replacement, be careful on this one.

Bob: But what I do is, I'll run forward, and then occasionally, I'll just do some quick side-to-side. Believe it or not, this has really helped my balance.

Brad: What does your wife say?

Bob: No, no, no, I do it out when I'm running outside.

Brad: Oh so the neighbors are watching you.

Bob: No, I pick the areas where nobody's watching. I'm serious there are spots where I know there is nobody there.

Brad: Well that's good.

Bob: This has really helped me. Okay next, number four: the ankle. A lot of your balance comes from the ankle so we're going to do heel and toe raises. So grab the back of the chair and I'm going to raise up my heels and raise up my toes.

Brad: I would say the ankles are one of the first things to weaken as people get older. I don't know that for sure, but I just know people when they get into their 60s and 70s oftentimes have weak ankles.

Bob: Yes, and the proprioception, where they are in space, gets thrown off.

Brad: The nervous system's feedback, yes. Ten of those is a good number.

Bob: Yes, and you can do them throughout the day if you want. Number five: we have to do at least one exercise because you know when you're working out through the day, you're going to push things, and you have to have some strength. So, I want you to do some wall push-ups, knee push-ups, or full push-ups, depending on what you can do. So first we'll show the wall push-ups.

Brad: Yeah, if you're unable to get down, or you know you're not very strong, this is the perfect place to start.

Bob: Yeah, keep your elbows in. Don't let them flare out. Keep them into your side. That's how you properly do a pushup. And you know, if you do not have enough strength, you could end up banging your head against the wall.

Brad: Yeah, we don't want to wreck the wall. Now the other thing, if you have a countertop or a little lower shelf, that makes it harder. That's how you can progress it. If this gets too easy, you know you're doing 10, 20 of these then you're going to go to the knees. Watch your posture.

Bob: I'm keeping my posture. How's that?

Brad: Yes. There you go, so he's on his knees now. And there's probably some of these seniors that are really fit, they might do the typically G.I. push-up, I call them.

Bob: You have to breathe.

Brad: Yeah, make sure you breathe with all your exercises.

Bob: How many do you want me to do, Brad? Count them off.

Brad: Do 100. You've been a bad boy. No, get up Bob, people are getting bored. All right, so that's it.

Bob: That's five exercises.

Brad: So we showed options for each one. So pick them out and see how it works for you. These are definitely going to help your balance, and going to help your posture. They're going to help your strength. It's what we need as we continue.

Bob: The full package. Thanks for watching.

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