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Limited Mobility Exercises for Seniors

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A senior woman practices stretching exercises with a band in a senior group exercise session

A common struggle that comes with age is the ability to stay active, which is a significant reason why it’s so important to consider a senior community that will assist in a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, staying active becomes even more difficult if an older person experiences limited mobility as they age or due to injuries.

One benefit of an assisted living community is that staff typically can help the resident stay active if there are mobility issues. And they will often know what exercises are appropriate for an older adult with limited mobility.

Importance of Exercise for Seniors

Getting enough exercise is important at any age. It’s easy to say that as a person ages, they don’t need as much exercise. After all, they aren’t doing the same things as when they were younger.

This is not the case. Exercise is just as crucial for a senior as it was when they were young. It may be more critical because it can help prevent or slow some age-related conditions.

All this is true, even when the senior has limited mobility. In some cases, maintaining good physical activity while dealing with mobility issues could help improve movement if an injury caused the limited mobility or something like that. 

How Much Exercise Should a Senior Get?

According to the CDC, adults over the age of 65 should be getting a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly. If they can, they could also do 75 minutes of vigorous exercise instead. Things like running, jogging, or hiking would be considered vigorous. 

In addition to that much exercise, the senior should also do muscle-strengthening exercises at least 2 days a week. And balance activities should be included in the routine around 3 days a week. 

Limited Mobility Exercises for Seniors

Even if an older adult has limited mobility, they don’t suddenly need less activity to stay healthy. It’s actually that much more important to stay as active as possible. People with limited mobility often move a lot less because of the effort and potential pain it may cause. 

Let’s look at three primary areas that are good to improve, even with limited mobility.


The primary purpose of cardiovascular exercise is to strengthen your heart and the rest of this system in your body. The way you do this is by getting your heart rate up. In doing these exercises, you also build your endurance.

Some common cardiovascular activities include walking, running, or playing sports. But someone with limited mobility won’t be able to do many of these. Water aerobics or “aqua jogging” are two great ways to perform cardio exercises, even with mobility issues.

In addition, there are ways that someone can give their heart a workout while in a wheelchair. For example, many upper body workouts use weights or resistance bands. Not only will these be muscle strengthening, but they will also get your heart rate up.

Two seniors practice stretching exercises on a yoga mat while sitting down


If someone has to be in a wheelchair, it’s unlikely they will be doing the splits anytime soon. However, a person must remain as flexible as possible. Not only can this help your body heal from injuries, but being limber can also help prevent other injuries.

Whether there are minor mobility issues or the inability to walk, plenty of stretches are gentle on the body. Many can be modified to be done sitting down if the older adult has trouble standing.

Some common stretches that are suitable for someone who has to sit down include:

  • Wrist and ankle rolls
  • Knee marches
  • Arm raises
  • Seated rows
  • Calf raises
  • Seated torso twist
  • Heel slides


Strength-building exercises will not be the same for a senior as they would for a younger person trying to build a lot of muscle. The goal of strength building is to keep the body healthy.

According to the CDC’s recommendations we looked at above, people over 65 should be including strength exercises at least 2 days a week. These exercises don’t have to be complicated, and many can be done, even with limited mobility.

Some great strength-building exercise tools for people with mobility issues include:

  • Resistance bands
  • Appropriate weights
  • Bodyweight workouts (these may not be right for all seniors with limited mobility)

Safety While Exercising

As an older adult, the biggest thing to remember while doing any physical activity is to ensure it’s done safely. This means only performing activities that you’re comfortable with. And it’s always a good idea to speak with a doctor or other medical professional before starting something new.

In addition to performing the activities safely, it’s also essential to stop if it’s too much. For example, you should discontinue the activity if you’re experiencing pain or suffering from an injury. And only resume it once the doctor approves.

Senior Living That Supports Healthy Living

Eventually, staying active becomes difficult, especially if you’re dealing with limited mobility. Sometimes, a senior living community offering assisted living is a great choice. In addition to having assistance in staying healthy, you also get the benefit of building new relationships with others.Suppose you’re looking at communities in Riverside; give us a call at Villa De Anza. Our staff is happy to answer your questions on how we can assist in healthy golden years.

Written by Villa De Anza

Villa De Anza offers assisted living services for your loved ones. We aim to provide a safe, nurturing, and supportive environment that feels like being at home. Our enthusiastic team provides top-notch care, and our warm and welcoming campus has amenities that offer comfort, safety, and fun.
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