5 Stretches and Exercises Every Senior Should Do Daily 

stretches and exercises for seniors

If you’re over age 60, you’re not too old to exercise; in fact, it’s critical to your health that you do. In this article, I’ll share the benefits and instructions for 5 stretches and exercises for seniors that can help you stay active and limber in the years to come. 

Exercises for Seniors: A Worthwhile Investment

As we age gracefully, staying active becomes even more important for maintaining overall health and well-being. Regular exercise plays a crucial role in promoting mobility and strength, ultimately enhancing one’s quality of life. Being healthy can mitigate a host of healthcare costs, so consider physical fitness a sort of pension plan. Health is wealth!

Below is a set of 5 essential stretches and exercises for seniors. Each move is designed to meet the specific needs of seniors who want to reap the benefits of an active lifestyle. 

5 Stretches and Exercises for Seniors

#1: Walking

walking exercises for seniors

A question I am often asked from clients over age 60 is, “What exercises should I do?”  Ninety-five percent of the time, I recommend they develop a walking program.

Benefits of Walking

For seniors, one significant advantage to walking is its positive impact on joint health and flexibility. The gentle, rhythmic pressure of walking helps lubricate the joints, preventing stiffness and increasing mobility. Because it can help manage pain and enhance joint function, walking is particularly beneficial for those with developing arthritis, 

Furthermore, walking can help uphold an essential component for senior well-being: balance. Often I receive a house call for PT from someone who has suffered a fall and needs to work on staying upright. One of the most common reasons why individuals start falling is because their sense of balance has declined. To combat this issue, a practical way to maintain balance is by walking and performing some of the other exercises for seniors outlined in this post.

Beyond the physical benefits, walking has a profound impact on mental health. The act of walking stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood enhancers, promoting a sense of well-being and reducing stress.

Walking is a versatile exercise that can be adapted to different fitness levels. Seniors can choose their pace and duration and even incorporate intervals of rest if needed.  


  • Take a walk in your neighborhood or a nearby park for 15–20 minutes, 3–5 times per week.
  • Increase the duration incrementally by several more minutes each session, as long as it is not strenuous.
  • Utilize assistive devices as needed: a cane or walker if you feel too unsteady to safely walk alone.


  • For a greater challenge, change up your pace or find a route with inclines.
  • A heart rate monitor or pedometer such as a fitness watch can help you track your progress. Refer to the American Heart Association for recommended heart rate ranges based on age.1

#2: Chair Squat

chair squat exercise for seniors


Squats contribute to lower body strength, particularly in the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes—large muscles in the hip and thigh. Squats can improve stability and balance, crucial for preventing falls. This weight-bearing exercise also supports better bone health, which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Furthermore, squats engage the muscles in your core. A stronger core means better posture and a supported lower back. 

As a functional movement, squats mimic daily activities, such as getting up from a chair or picking up objects from the floor. Being able to perform squats can help promote your sense of independence and ease when you need to perform squat-like, routine tasks.


  1. Stand in front of a sturdy chair with your back to the chair and feet hip-width apart. 
  2. Lower your body towards the seat as if you’re going to sit down, keeping your weight in your heels. 
  3. Pause for a moment mid-air, then stand back up. 
  4. Aim for 10–15 repetitions, 3–5 times a week, depending on your fitness level.


  • If you feel any joint pain in your knees, keep your squat shallow at first, then increase depth incrementally.
  • To make the exercise harder down the road, hold a dumbbell in each hand.

#3: Hip Flexor Stretch

hip flexor stretch for seniors

Incorporating this hip flexor stretch into a regular routine can help improve hip flexibility, reduce tightness, and enhance overall mobility, making it a valuable exercise for seniors.


The hip flexor stretch primarily targets the muscles in the front of the hip and thigh. This stretch is particularly beneficial for seniors because it helps alleviate tightness in the hip flexors brought on by sitting for prolonged periods of time. 

The benefits of performing this lunging hip flexor stretch include the following: improved hip flexibility, enhanced range of motion, and reduced discomfort from tight hip muscles. Additionally, this stretch can benefit your posture and ease your movement throughout the day.


  1. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Step your right foot forward, keeping the knee directly above the ankle.
  3. With your trunk upright, bend the right knee while keeping the left leg planted and straight behind you.
  4. You should feel a stretch near the front pocket/groin area of your left hip; hold this stretch for 15–30 seconds. 
  5. Switch legs and repeat 2–3 times on each side, gradually increasing the duration of the stretch.


  • If you’re concerned about losing your balance, perform this stretch near a sturdy chair or countertop that you can hold onto for support.
  • Ensure that the movements are slow and controlled to prevent any sudden strains.
  • If you experience pain or discomfort beyond a gentle stretch, ease off the stretch.

#4 ​​Seated Forward Bend

seated forward bend


This stretch is a modified version of the traditional “touch your toes” stretch. Instead of standing, you’ll perform this in a chair from a seated position. This modification helps add support and decrease strain while offering all the benefits of the standing version. For seniors with limited mobility, the chair modification can also ensure a more comfortable and accessible stretch.

The Seated Forward Bend focuses on elongating the muscles of the lower back and buttocks. Incorporating this stretch into your routine can help you increase flexibility, improve posture, and alleviate muscle tension in your back and legs.


  1. Sit in a sturdy chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Ensure your back is straight and shoulders are relaxed throughout the exercise.
  3. Exhale slowly, hinging at the hips and leaning forward from the waist. 
  4. Extend your arms forward, reaching toward the floor or as far as is comfortable; hold for 15–30 seconds. 
  5. Repeat 2–3 times, gradually increasing how long you hold the stretch.


  • Perform this stretch on a non-slip surface and ensure your chair is stable.
  • If reaching the floor is too challenging, reach as far as is comfortable. Aim to deepen your stretch gradually over time.

#5 Wall Push-Up

wall-push up exercises for seniors


Push-ups are an effective exercise targeting the chest, shoulders, and triceps. This modified version of the traditional push-up is especially beneficial for those who are new to exercise, have limited upper body strength, or prefer a less intense option. 

Performing push-ups can help strengthen the upper body muscles, particularly the chest and arms, and improve shoulder stability. Wall push-ups can also serve as an entry point for those working towards traditional push-ups. Additionally, by performing push-ups you’ll engage your core muscles, promoting better posture and stability overall.


  1. Stand facing a wall with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Step back, ensuring a straight line from head to heels, and engage your core muscles.
  4. Exhale, bending your elbows so you lean towards the wall; inhale while pushing away.
  5. Aim for 10–15 controlled repetitions, focusing on proper form. Gradually increase the intensity by applying the tip below.


  • Adjust the intensity of your push-ups by changing the distance between yourself and the wall. Standing further back increases difficulty, while standing closer reduces resistance.
  • Keep your neck in a neutral position and look at the wall to maintain proper alignment.
  • Perform wall push-ups as part of a full-body workout routine or as a starting point for progressing to traditional push-ups.

Conclusion: The Benefits of Exercises for Seniors

Make these stretches and exercises for seniors a regular part of your routine, and you’ll likely see improvements in your flexibility, strength, and balance. It’s crucial that you approach these activities with patience and listen to your body. Consistency is key, and gradual progress is more important than pushing for immediate results.

Be sure to consult with a healthcare professional or fitness expert before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have existing health conditions or concerns. These stretches and exercises can be adapted to individual needs, ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey towards an active and limber lifestyle in the golden years.

If you have questions regarding starting any exercise, consult your physician or schedule a consultation with a physical therapist. Your PT will be happy to tailor the most salient exercises based on your fitness and body type.

  1. American Heart Association. Target Heart Rates. [Internet]. [Jan 24, 2024]. Available from: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/target-heart-rates

Jonathan Yang, PT, DPT, OCS

Jonathan Yang is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist located in Southern California, known for his expertise in the field of physical therapy. Specializing in orthopedics, Jonathan is dedicated to providing personalized care to his clients, helping them on their journey to improved musculoskeletal health. What sets him apart is his innovative approach as a mobile PT clinic, offering the convenience of therapy services directly to his clients' locations. In addition to his clinical work, Jonathan is a passionate blog writer, sharing insights and valuable information on his blog at physicalinvestor.blog. Through his writing, he aims to educate and empower readers with practical tips, exercises, and expert advice related to orthopedic health and overall well-being.