Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise Program Manual Outline
By Anne Pringle Burnell
For use with the Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise Program
Stronger Seniors is committed to helping seniors live the healthiest life possible. Since a healthy lifestyle includes regular exercise and physical activity, we are providing the Stronger Seniors â Chair Exercise Guidelines to you.
The Stronger Seniors program was created specifically for seniors and those with limited mobility. Stronger Seniors exercises are gentle and safe, and designed as a balanced program. Used together, the Stretch and Strength DVDs provide a variety of routines with specific benefits. Exercisers should alternate the use of the DVDs for the best results.
The Stronger Seniorsâ Chair Exercise program was created with safety as the highest priority. While exercise and nutrition are important to the overall health of seniors, we do not want to injure ourselves in the process.
The Stretch and Strength DVDs include a safety insert that should be read before beginning the program, but some important tips are emphasized below.
Always consult your healthcare professional before beginning any exercise program (see page 4.)
So, before you begin exercising-
- Start slowly, especially if you have not been active for a long time. Little by little build up your activities and how hard you work at them.
- Do not hold your breath during stretching or strength exercises. This could cause changes in your blood pressure. It may seem strange at first, but you should breathe out as you lift something, and breathe in as you relax.
- Unless your doctor has asked you to limit fluids, be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after, performing exercise. Many older adults don’t feel thirsty even if their body needs fluids.
- Always bend forward from the hips, not the waist. If you keep your back straight, you are probably bending the right way. If your back “humps,” that is probably wrong, especially if you are suffering from Kyphosis (forward rounding of your upper back).
- Warm up your muscles before you stretch. Try walking in place and light arm pumping first.
You should NOT exercise until checking with your doctor or health care provider if you have:
ü Chest pain
ü Irregular, rapid or fluttery heart beat
ü Severe shortness of breath
ü Significant ongoing weight loss that hasn’t been diagnosed
ü Infections such as pneumonia, accompanied by fever
ü Fever, which can cause dehydration and rapid heart beat
ü Acute deep-vein thrombosis (blood clot)
ü A hernia that is causing symptoms
ü Foot or ankle sores that won’t heal
ü Joint swelling
ü Persistent pain or a problem walking after you have fallen
ü Certain eye conditions, such as bleeding in the retina or detached retina.
ü Before beginning to exercise after cataract surgery, lens implant, or laser treatment.
Benefits of Exercise
As an older adult, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age. It also helps your muscles grow stronger so you can keep doing your day-to-day activities, thus becoming less dependent on others.
Exercise should not cause pain or make you feel really tired. You might feel some soreness, a little discomfort, or a bit weary, but you should not feel pain. In fact, in many ways, being active will probably make you feel better.
Older adults who have found a way to weave exercise into their lives have lowered their risk for serious health conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, poor digestion and obesity.
Benefits of Exercise (Continued)
Not only does it stave off health problems, exercise actually adds independence and confidence to your life. There are many positive outcomes including flexibility and posture, help with balance, increased strength, coordination and reduction of falls.
Strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis and helps older adults maintain or lose weight because it revs up the metabolism and increases muscle mass as it helps to burn more calories.
Many benefits of exercise aren’t just physical. Exercise aids your sleep by helping you to fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply and awaken less often during the night.
It’s a mood booster, too! Endorphins produced by exercise reduce feelings of sadness or depression. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self-confident and self-assured. This improved sense of well-being enhances your overall mood and attitude about life.
The only equipment you’ll need to do practice the Stronger Seniorsâ Program is a straight-backed chair such as a kitchen chair. Do not use a folding chair.
The ‘Strength’ DVD requires a 1-3 pound hand weight. If you do not have a hand weight, a can of soup will work as well. Beginners need not use the weight. Simply perform the movements without weight as you build up your strength.
Stronger Seniorsâ program is unique in that the routines include not only the ‘Basic Four’ of fitness (Cardiovascular, Stretching, Strength Training, and Balance), it also focuses on the “Functional Four’ of fitness (Coordination, Posture, Core Strength, and Breathing.)
Keep in mind that while both DVDs are over 45 minutes, you are encouraged to listen to your body and do only what you are able to do, even if it is only five minutes. As exercise becomes a regular part of your lifestyle, your endurance and strength will increase.
The Stretch Program
Slow and gentle exercises designed to increase range of motion, flexibility, and mobility. Focuses on Functional Fitness, that is, keeping you in shape to do all the things you do in daily life that we have come to take for granted- bending over to tie shoes or pick something up, reaching up for a teacup, etcetera.
The Stretch Program is 44 minutes long, but you can complete as much as you feel comfortable, and pick up the next time!
The Strength Program
Maintains Circulation, Muscle Mass, Bone Density (to prevent osteoporosis and fractures), and Balance.
The Strength Program is 51 minutes in length, and includes a warm-up, 17 minutes of chair aerobics, and 20 minutes of strength exercises.
There is a nine-minute segment at the end of the Strength Program where the participants stand, holding on to the back of the chair and do balance exercise.
Again, if you cannot do these standing exercises, do not feel badly. The important thing is that you are doing something that will improve your overall quality of life.
If you have not exercised in a while, the motivation to start and motivation to keep it up could be tough. Frail and out of shape people may be discouraged at how little they can do right away.
Listening to your body will tell you when to rest. Record how many minutes of exercise you do each day.
Time to exercise is for you, so make it an appointment in your book. It takes 3-6 weeks to create a new habit, and also the same amount of time to feel the training effect of exercise on your body.
Give it a try for at least six weeks. For a simple log to record your progress, see below or go to
Also, research shows that if people have a “buddy”, or feel part of a group, they are more likely to stick with an exercise program.
Helpful links to information you can use to live a longer, stronger life.
Other DVD Programs by Stronger Seniors~
Balance and Posture
Stronger Seniors® is a subsidiary of Spectrum Music & Video LLC.
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