Geriatric Exercises in PT-Connect

The definition of an older person in many developed countries is 65+ years old while the UN considers 60+ years as the definition of an older person. In the United States, it is estimated that there will be 52.8 million people over 65 years of age or 17.2% of the population in 2020. The number of elderly people in the US is expected to grow to 66.5 million or 21% of the population by 2030.

As I am rapidly approaching 60, I find it unfathomable that the UN would consider me an old person. Fortunately, I see many people older than me who continue to be strong and independent. A recent article about cross-fitter octogenarian Jacinto Bonilla provides motivation that I can remain strong and independent. “No matter what age I reach, I want to reach that age in shape,” Bonilla says. “I don’t want to be dependent on anyone.” I may not be able to do 20 consecutive pull-ups like Bonilla but I am working to improve my strength.

Unfortunately, not every older person can be like Bonilla either because of illness, injury or poor health. PT-Helper has been busy adding new seated exercises for frail individuals to build strength and improve their health. Examples of some of our seated exercises are below and can be found in our geriatric category.

  • Seated Alternating Kicks: Sit on a chair which is not too low with good posture, palms on thighs and feet resting on the floor. Straighten one leg kicking your foot forward. Return your foot to the starting position. Straighten your other leg kicking your other foot forward. Return your foot to the starting position. Repeat. 

Seated Alternating Kicks
  • Seated Arm Swings : Sit on a chair which is not too low with good posture. Hold the side of the chair with one hand. Lean towards the opposite side and keep your free arm straight at your side. Swing your free arm forwards and backwards for the duration of the Hold period. 
Seated Arm Swing Exercise
  • ACTIVATOR™ Pole Big Circles: Sit upright at the edge of a chair with your ACTIVATOR™ Poles at shoulder height (while sitting) and legs spread apart. Loosely grip the CoreGrip together in front of you. Make big circles with the poles keeping your arms out straight and keeping your trunk facing forward during the exercise. While going around, you can feel your buttocks moving from one side to the other. Continue for the duration of the Hold time. Rest. Then repeat making big circles in the opposite direction. Repeat. Designed by Urban Poling Inc. For additional information, please view 
  • Excy Hand Cycle on Chair-Bed – Forward Circles: To get started, sit down in a chair with a stable tabletop. As your right hand pushes forward and down, your left hand circles backward and up to complete the rotation of the pedals. The muscles of your core, your arms, including your biceps and triceps, along with your shoulders, and upper back, including the trapezius and posterior deltoids, supply the motion for the forward pedaling on the arm cycle. Focus on good posture while pedaling, as you will engage every upper body muscle with an emphasis your arms and shoulders. Keep your chin up; back straight, shoulders back, and your torso/core strong.

Reminder: Please consult your physician or physical therapist before engaging in any physical activity and stop if you experience pain or discomfort.

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