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9 Easy Resistance Band Exercises for Seniors

Resistance training or strength training is an exercise that enhances muscular strength and endurance. During resistance training, muscles are forced to move against tension provided by body weight, dumbbells, gravity, machines, or resistance bands.

Incorporating resistance training into a daily workout routine can greatly improve muscle strength, balance, coordination, flexibility and range of motion. Resistance training also helps fight bone loss and the symptoms of arthritis pain.

Unfortunately, a lot of seniors are not enjoying these benefits because many adults over the age of 70 do not exercise at all.

Even those who work out daily often omit strength training and go straight to walking or another form of cardio. But the best form of exercise is a combination of cardio exercise and with balance, flexibility and strength training.

Even as a senior, resistance exercises are still important. In fact, according to The American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association, seniors (65 and above) should aim to exercise at least 150 minutes or 2 and a half hours per week, and should also incorporate resistance training at least twice a week.

There are many tools to help get started on resistance training. Resistance bands are perfect for seniors since they are lightweight, easy to carry, and do not cost much.

Resistance bands are strong, elastic bands that can be utilized to exercise all parts of the body. Some resistance bands have handles at the end and some do not. They also come in different ranges of resistance depending on your level of fitness. Typically it is best to choose one that works best and increase the resistance band tension as the fitness level increases.

It is possible to do a lot of strength exercises with resistance bands, such as chest presses, rows, shoulder press, bicep curls, and tricep extensions.

The benefits you get from using resistance bands are great. Here are just a few of the benefits of incorporating resistance bands into a workout routine.

  • Resistance bands do not cost much. Resistance bands are generally inexpensive, often under $10. Some resistance bands also include DVDs, other exercise equipment, and a manual for less than $50.
  • Resistance bands cater to different fitness levels. Young or old, beginners or experts, resistance bands will work for everyone. With a variety of resistances: light, medium and heavy, it is easy to adjust the intensity level.
  • Resistance bands exercise the whole body. Resistance bands work every major muscle group. Therefore they can be used for full-body workouts.
  • Resistance bands are easy to store. The bands take up very little space, making them easy to use and store, even if you have limited space.
  • Resistance bands can add variety. The use of resistance bands can be alternated with lightweight dumbbells or exercise machines to give muscles a break.
  • Resistance bands can be used anytime or anywhere. They are lightweight and easy to store, so they can be carried anywhere.
  • Resistance bands are an effective workout. The concept of resistance bands is pretty simple but it is extremely effective at improving strength and endurance, along with increasing stamina, flexibility, and balance.

Exercise 1 - Chest Pull

  1. Sit on a sturdy chair with your back straight and core tightened.
  2. Grasp both ends of your resistance band. This position should be in front of your chest with your elbows bent. If your resistance band is too long, you can fold it in half before starting.
  3. Exhale and pull the band as you bring it closer to your chest and try to straighten your arms.
  4. Inhale and release. Return to starting position and repeat 10 to 15 times.

This exercise can be done while seated or standing.

Exercise 2 - Bent Over Row

  1. While seated, step on the resistance band and grip the handles. If you use a band without handles, then just hold onto both ends.
  2. Tighten your core to protect your lower back and bend your torso forward until your upper body is parallel to the floor.
  3. Position your arms toward the ground.
  4. Exhale and slowly pull the handles upward. You should feel your shoulder blades drawing closer and your elbows are facing the ceiling.
  5. Exhale and slowly release back to starting position.
  6. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

You can move your feet wider to increase the intensity or move your feet closer to make it easier for you.

Exercise 3 - Bicep Curl

  1. Step on the middle of your resistance band. Your feet should be flat on the floor.
  2. Grip both ends with your hands.
  3. Raise your arms to the height of your chest in front of you and then return to staring position.
  4. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

You can either do this while seated or standing.

Exercise 4 - Lateral Raise

  1. While standing, step on the middle of your resistance band with both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Grip both handles of your band.
  3. Raise both arms to the side, at the height of your shoulder and then return to starting position.
  4. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Exercise 5 - Squats

  1. While standing, step on the middle of your resistance band with both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Grip both ends of your band.
  3. Slowly bend your knees into a squat position. Straighten your back, knees should be behind the toes, and butt out.
  4. Return to starting position.
  5. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Exercise 6 - Chest Press

  1. Place the resistance band behind your shoulders and hold both ends.
  2. Extend both arms in front of your chest and return to starting position.
  3. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

You can do this exercise while seated or standing.

Exercise 7 - Leg Press

  1. Sit on a sturdy chair with your back straight.
  2. Hold both ends of the resistance band.
  3. Place your right foot in the middle of your band. Your band should not be on the floor but your left foot is flat on the ground.
  4. Bend your right knee towards you and then straighten it again in front of you.
  5. Return to starting position and switch to the other leg.
  6. Repeat for 10-15 times with each leg.

Exercise 8 - Triceps Press

  1. While standing, place the resistance band under your right heel.
  2. Hold the other end of the band with both hands and stretch it so you hold both ends behind your right ear.
  3. Pull it above your head and then release it back behind your ears.
  4. Repeat 10 to 15 times on each side.

Exercise 9 - Calf Press

  1. While sitting on a sturdy chair with your back straight, place your right foot in the middle of the band.
  2. Hold both ends with your hands.
  3. Extend your legs and point your toes upwards, towards the ceiling.
  4. Then flex and point your toes towards the ground.
  5. Return to position C.
  6. Repeat 10 to 15 times on each side.

Strength training can do wonders for the body, helping prevent the loss of bone quality and density. It can also help prevent dementia with its brain-boosting side effects!

Although it is generally safe to use resistance bands, it is better to have supervision when working out, in order to avoid any exercise-related injury.

Before starting any exercise, it is best to consult your doctor, especially when you have health issues or concerns.

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Helping seniors stay healthy is a tenant of life at Camino Retirement Apartments.