Gentle Exercises You Can Do Sitting

Written by
Emily Carver

Gentle Exercises You Can Do Sitting

Exercise is a key element to a healthy lifestyle. However, staying active can become difficult if you are recovering from an injury, operation or have limited mobility.

Exercise doesn’t have to be about intense gym workouts or working up a sweat, it can be about engaging in regular movement, gentle stretching and doing what feels right for your body and mobility range. 

Sitting down exercises can be particularly helpful for those suffering from arthritis, circulation problems and muscle weakness. These exercises have been specifically designed to alleviate pressure from the lower body while helping you to build strength. Taking time to do these sitting exercises for seniors can help support a healthy and happier lifestyle, in addition to preventing falls. 

It is important to note that everyone has a different range or level of mobility when it comes to exercise, so remember to take it gently and progress slowly. Always consult your GP or a training specialist if you have any questions or concerns. 

Basic Sitting Exercises To Get You Moving

These sitting exercises can be done anywhere as long as you have a stable chair with armrests and no wheels. You could even do them with a friend to help motivate you both. 

A few notes before you begin.

  • Sit on your chair with your feet flat to the floor and your knees bent at a right angle
  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Keep hydrated and have some water nearby
  • Start slowly and aim to build up repetitions slowly
  • Do these exercises at least twice a week and do as much as feels right for your body

Neck Stretch

A neck stretch exercise is great for loosening tight muscles and any tension in the neck.

Kneck Stretch demonstration
  • Sit upright and look straight ahead
  • Place your right hand on your left shoulder and hold down
  • Tilt your head gently to the right while holding down your left shoulder
  • Slowly repeat on the other side

Repetition: Hold the stretch on each side for 5 seconds and repeat 3 times. 

Neck Rotation

A neck rotation stretch is good for neck flexibility and any cricks from a restless night’s sleep.

Neck Rotation

  • Sit upright and look straight ahead
  • Keep your shoulders down
  • Slowly turn your head towards your left shoulder and keep your gaze ahead of you. Turn for as long as is comfortable and be cautious not to overstretch
  • Hold for 5 seconds, take a deep breath and return to the starting position
  • Repeat on the right

Repetition: Complete 3 rotations on each side.

Arm Raises

Arm raises are a great exercise for building strength in your shoulders and upper body. This can be particularly useful for those who use walking frames

Arm Raises

  • Sit upright and put your arms by your sides
  • Keep your wrists and arms straight and put your palms forward
  • Raise both arms out, then to the side and then up as far as comfortable
  • Remember to keep your shoulders down. Try to exhale as your raise your arms and inhale as you lower. 

Repetition: Repeat this exercise 5 times

Knee Lift

Leg exercises while sitting are helpful to build strength in the lower body without putting too much impact on the knee or ankle joints.

Knee Lift


  • Sit upright with your feet flat on the floor
  • Without using your hands, slowly lift your right knee toward your chest
  • Slowly lower your foot back to the floor
  • Repeat with the other leg

Repetition: 10 per leg

Ankle Stretch

Regularly stretching your ankles will aid mobility and flexibility, in addition to lessening your risk of developing a blood clot.

Ankle Stretch

  • Sit upright and hold onto the armrests of your chair
  • Straighten your left leg with your foot and raise from the floor
  • Keep your leg straight and point your toes away from you
  • Flex your ankle and point your toes back toward you

Repetition: 5 stretches per foot, repeated 2 times

Posture check

This is an exercise that you can check in with daily to help with your posture and support the health of your back. Prolonged bad posture could lead to back pain and discomfort. By simply sitting up straight you activate the muscles in your torso, helping you to build strength. 

Posture Check

  • Sit upright and press your knees together and be mindful to engage your inner thighs
  • Squeeze your glute muscles and sit tall
  • Pull in your belly button toward your spine, but not too far that your back begins to curve
  • Keep your shoulders back and down

Regularly check in on your posture throughout the day, repeating this exercise. You could even set reminders to remember to re-align your posture, helping you to create a healthy habit. 

We hope that you find these exercises helpful. 

Please remember that the reps provided are just a guide, please do not put yourself at risk of injury by overdoing it. Take your time, have fun and build up repetitions slowly.

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