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Staying Active at Home: Modified Chair Exercises for Memory Impairment

As the weather warms up everyone is encouraged to get some outdoor exercise, but we know that's not always feasible! Whether your loved one has mobility issues, or you're just trying to avoid all the pollen in the air, here are a few chair exercises that can get your heart rate up in the comfort of your living room!

Warm Up

Begin by finding a comfortable chair without arms if possible.

1. Sitting Inhale and Exhale

  • Back straightens with inhale x 10

2. Spread Eagle

  • Arms open and push back with each inhale, and close wrapped around shoulders x15

3. Single Arm Extend

  • Right/Left arm extend to the side, reaching up above head 1 at a time x10 each

4. Calf Raises

  • Rotate between right and left leg raising heel and lowering on each foot, beginning blood flow in legs

5. Seated Leg and Arm Raise

  • Arms and Legs raise together while seated as close to edge of chair as possible, focusing on tightening belly button

6. Seated Leg and Arm Extension

  • Raise right leg and right arm together with inhale and extend slowly to right side. Repeat 10 x and switch to left side. Practice controlling the inhale as each side extends.

Close this practice with 5 long inhale and exhales focusing on filling the lungs and what one is grateful for in their bodies.

Mobility Exercises

Done with walker, chair, or supportive device in front of participant

1. Sit to Stand

  • Propel off arms of chairs, or walker in front of participant and rise from seated position to standing, and then return to seat x10.

2. Left and Right Scarf Exchange

  • Begin with scarf in once right hand while seated. Sit to stand slowly, while raising right arm and exchanging scarf to left hand. Repeat while switching arms x20.

3. Standing Trunk Twist

  • While seated and gripping scarf between closed fists in front of shoulders, stand and raise arms simultaneously, and sit back down in chair Repeat x15.

4. Ball Toss and Twist

  • Depending on size of group use minimum of 2 balls given to participants at opposite ends of circle. Have participants sit and stand and pass ball to their neighboring participant directly to the right for 3 minutes. Repeat and switch directions for 3 minutes.

Bonus Standing Exercises

1. Rapid Sit to Stand

  • Cross arms over chest, tighten belly button and raise body to a stand, at a pulsing pace x15.

2. Pigeon Toes

  • While Standing, tighten belly button and place right heel directly in front of left toes, as if they are kissing. Hold for 15 seconds, or as long as able to hold balance safely. Use chair/supportive device in front of participant.

3. Standing Leg Raises

  • While standing and holding on to back of chair, tighten belly button and then raise each leg out to side one at a time. Repeat each leg 10x.


Want to see these activities live? Check out our Insight Family Facebook Group and join us for live exercise every afternoon!


Katelyn Sloan is the Marketing Director at Insight Memory Care Center.


"I like that IMCC focuses on dementia-related problems and provides a focal point for families to network and socially interact in coping with dementia. It provides a community that helps us in our struggle."