Exercises for Seniors to Get Up From a Chair to Standing

An activity you take for granted may become difficult without proper strength training.
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Harvard Health Publishing notes that the simple action of standing up from a seated position is important for independence because it affects whether or not you're able to use the bathroom on your own. If you're having difficulty getting up from a chair, here are some exercises that can help.

Read more: The Best Weight-Loss Exercises for Anyone Over the Age of 50


Difficulty Getting Up From a Chair

According to Harvard Health Publishing, difficulty getting up from a chair is one of the signs of declining mobility. A study published in the September 2013 issue of JAMA found that old age, obesity, insufficient physical activity, impaired strength or balance and chronic conditions like arthritis and diabetes are some of the factors that can limit mobility.

Harvard Health Publishing says that seeing a health care provider and doing exercises to improve your strength and balance can help prevent the loss of mobility.


When it comes to trouble standing up from a sitting position, Harvard Health Publishing explains that the quadricep muscles (aka "quads") in your thighs and the gluteal muscles (aka "glutes" or "buttocks") are the muscles involved; strengthening these muscles can help you stand up from a chair.

In the meantime, you can also try using a higher chair, or placing a cushion on your chair to increase the height of the seat if you have trouble getting up from a chair or difficulty getting up from the toilet. Trying to stand from a higher seat can be easier than attempting to raise yourself from a lower seat, according to a March 2014 study published in the journal BioMedical Engineering OnLine.


Read more: The Best Core Exercises for Older Adults

Exercises to Help Getting Up From a Chair

All the exercises listed here involve a chair for support. The American Council on Exercise explains that while basic exercise routines can help older adults stay fit, all seniors may not be able to do them, especially if they're having trouble getting up from a chair. Chair exercises provide an effective alternative; they allow you to train for strength, flexibility and balance with the support of a chair.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists an exercise that can strengthen your quads and glutes and help you stand on your own.

Move 1: Chair Rise

  1. Sit on a sturdy chair with your feet planted firmly on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Scooch forward so that your butt is near the edge of the chair.
  3. If you need the support, rest your hands lightly on the seat of the chair, on either side of your thighs.
  4. Taking a deep breath in, lean forward and place your weight on the front of your feet.
  5. Breathing out, stand up slowly, using your hands as little as possible
  6. Pause briefly in the standing position, taking a full breath in and out.
  7. Taking another deep breath in, slowly sit back down in the chair. Don't allow yourself to collapse back downward; control your descent as much as possible.
  8. Breathe out and rest for a minute.
  9. Try to do 10 to 15 repetitions. If you can't at first, work your way up to it slowly. Try to use your hands less and less, until you can do the exercise without their support.

The Los Angeles County Government also lists some chair exercises that can help you target these muscles.

Move 2: Seated Leg Extension

  1. Strap ankle weights firmly onto both ankles.
  2. Sit in a chair with your back pressed against the back of the chair, your feet planted shoulder-width apart on the floor, your head and body straight and your shoulders back.
  3. Take a deep breath and as you exhale, lift your right leg and straighten it.
  4. Hold it there for one second, then inhale and slowly lower your leg.
  5. Try to do 10 to 15 repetitions, then do the exercise with your left leg.

Move 3: Gluteal Extension

  1. Strap ankle weights firmly on to both ankles.
  2. Stand behind a chair and grip the back with your hands for support.
  3. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your body erect.
  4. Take a deep breath and while exhaling, extend your right leg backward as far as you can go without bending over from the waist.
  5. Hold it there for one second, then inhale and slowly lower your leg.
  6. Try to do 10 to 15 repetitions, then do the exercise with your left leg.

Read more: Exercises to Improve Balance in Seniors