10 Best Resistance Band Exercises For Seniors

As you age, strength training becomes that much more important. After the age of 30, the body naturally loses muscle mass. This rate of decline accelerates even further after you turn 60. This is why seniors should include resistance training as part of their regular exercise routine.

Doing so can help combat pain associated with arthritis, and improve balance, strength, coordination, and range of motion. It can also prevent many chronic diseases related to aging. However, many individuals don’t know where to start. Luckily, this article outlines 10 easy resistance band exercises for seniors – meaning you don’t have to have be an exercise expert to begin.

Here are the 10 Best Resistance Band Exercises for Seniors 

With the immense amount of information out there, exercise can become complicated fast. Yet, it’s more effective when you keep things simple. It’s also more effective when you perform the same routine two to three times a week, such as the one below. 

The following provides instructions on how to perform 10 stretch band exercises for seniors. These should feel challenging to perform. At the same time, they shouldn’t cause pain. If pain happens, only go to the point right before the pain occurs. If the pain persists, stop. If it continues, book a visit with your doctor. Something more may be going on beneath the surface.

If you don’t already have resistance bands, we recommend our top picks in this article: Best Resistance Bands for strength progressions

Now, let’s get to it! What resistance band workout should you be doing?

Upper Body

1. The Row

The row works your upper back and helps correct posture. Here’s how you do it:

  • Sit with your legs straight and a slight bend in your knees.
  • Wrap a resistance band underneath both of your feet and hold each end in each hand.
  • Begin with your elbows bent at 90 degrees and with tension in the band.
  • Slowly pull the band toward you, while bringing your elbows past your body.
  • At the same time, gently pinch your shoulder blades down and in.
  • Perform 8-15 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

2. Shoulder External Rotators

This exercise targets a similar area to the rowing exercise above. To perform this one:

  • Begin sitting tall in a chair.
  • Hold a resistance band in both hands with slight tension.
  • Begin with your elbows bent at 90 degrees at your sides.
  • Gently pull out to your side, keeping your elbows by your torso.
  • At the same time, gently pinch your shoulder blades down and in.
  • Slowly release and return to the starting point.
  • Repeat for 8-15 repetitions and 2-3 sets.

3. Lateral Raise

The lateral raise targets the deltoid muscles of the shoulder. The shoulder is a very vulnerable joint. Thus, it’s very important to strengthen it to prevent frozen shoulder, rotator cuff injuries, and more. Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand tall, with a resistance band wrapped under both of your feet. 
  • Hold each end of the resistance band in either hand.
  • Begin with the resistance band in front of you by your hips.
  • Gently lift your arms straight up and out to your sides.
  • Only lift as high as your shoulders.
  • Pause, then slowly lower.
  • Repeat for 8-15 repetitions and 2-3 sets.

4. Forward Raise

This exercise has similar benefits to the lateral raise. Yet, it targets the more anterior muscles of the shoulder, including the anterior deltoid. Here’s how to do it:

  • Begin in the same set-up as your lateral raise.
  • Gently lift your arms straight in front of you.
  • Only go as high as your shoulders.
  • Slowly lower, and repeat for 10-15 repetitions and 2-3 sets.

5. Chest Press

The chest press targets the front of the body, balancing out all the work you just did on your back and shoulders. Here’s how you do it:

  • Begin standing or sitting tall.
  • Wrap a resistance band behind your back at chest height.
  • Hold each end of the band in each hand.
  • Start with your elbows bent and your hands close to your chest.
  • Slowly extend your arms straight in front of you.
  • Gently go back to start.
  • Repeat for 8-15 reps and 2-3 sets.

Lower Body

6. Squat

The squat is a great exercise to strengthen the legs. It’s also a functional exercise, meaning it spills over into your everyday life. Here’s how to perform it:

  • Begin standing on the middle of your resistance band.
  • Hold each end of the band in each hand.
  • If you can, pull the hands all the way up behind your arms as if you were holding a barbell over your shoulders. If you are not able to, keep your hands by your side, but make sure there is enough resistance in band. 
  • Begin slightly squatting down with your knees bent and your buttocks back (as if you were sitting in a chair).
  • Slowly stand up, then go back down to start.
  • Repeat for 10-12 repetitions and 2-3 sets.

7. Leg Press

The leg press, like the squat, loads up your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. To do it:

  • Begin lying face-up on a comfortable surface.
  • Wrap the resistance band under one foot and begin with your leg bent. 
  • Slowly extend your leg straight, then slowly return it back to the bent position.
  • Perform 8-12 repetitions and 2-3 sets per side.

8. Calf Push

The calves are your stop and start muscles for running, jumping, and walking. To strengthen them using a resistance band, follow the next steps:

  • Sit in a comfortable position with one leg straight.
  • Wrap the resistance band under the top of your toes and hold it, with tension in both hands.
  • Gently point your toes away from you against the band.
  • Bring them back to start and repeat.
  • Perform 8-12 repetitions for 2-3 sets per side.

9. Glute Bridge

The glutes are part of the core. They help stabilize and support the pelvis and low back. The glute bridge is an incredibly important exercise that targets these muscles. Here’s how to do it:

  • Begin lying face-up on a comfortable surface.
  • Bend your knees and plant your feet flat on the ground.
  • Wrap a resistance band around your thighs and set your feet about hip-width apart, creating some tension in the band.
  • Slowly lift your hips and buttocks off the ground.
  • Pause when your hips are in line with your thighs.
  • Slowly lower and repeat for 10 repetitions and 2-3 sets.

10. Hip Extension

The hip extension exercise targets the glutes, as well as the hamstrings. Here’s how to get this resistance band exercise done:

  • Stand tall. You may wish to have a chair, table, or wall in front of you for support.
  • Wrap the resistance band around both your ankles. You can also wrap the resistance band around an anchor point. Make sure you have support to balance yourself.
  • Gently extend one leg back, while squeezing your glutes.
  • Pause, then return your leg to the start.
  • Repeat for 10-12 reps and 2-3 sets on each side.

The Benefits of Stretch Band Exercises for Seniors

So, why should you spend time doing elastic band exercises in the first place? For seniors, there are a ton of benefits.

As you age, your body experiences varying degrees of wear and tear. It’s only natural. Yet, aging without exercise or a regular workout routine can cause many different adverse effects, such as:

  • Chronic diseases.
  • Pain.
  • Reduced bone density.
  • Stiff joints.
  • Slower reaction times and reflexes.
  • A reduced aerobic capacity.

Read Also: Effective Core Exercises For Older Adults

However, training via the use of resistance bands has more benefits than one. Resistance band training can help improve mobility, increase strength, enhance muscle tone, decrease pain or injury, increase bone density, and more.

In fact, strength training can even help prevent early death. It keeps your cardiovascular and respiratory systems in tip-top shape. Exercise really is the best medicine!

Read Also: Is Keto Diet Suitable For Seniors & Over 60’s

Nutrition and Training 

Yet, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet – no matter how hard you try. Optimally, exercise combined with a balanced and healthy diet full of whole foods is the most ideal scenario. This doesn’t mean you have to be perfect.

The easiest diet to follow is the 80-20 rule. You eat healthy 80% of the time, including nourishing meals and snacks made with real food and full of nutrients, and then, you are allowed to indulge in treats 20% of the time. This should be particularly easy if you’re eating the right foods. When it comes down to it, you won’t crave bad stuff when you’re body is properly nourished.

Read Also: Strength Training For Women Over 60

You also want to examine what you’re eating before and after your workout. Always ensure you eat a combo of carbs and protein a few hours before and also within an hour after completing your exercise routine. This can not only enhance your recovery but also help with your energy levels before and after your workout. 

For example, eating an egg sandwich two hours before your workout is an excellent choice. You may then have greek yogurt and berries, meat and rice, or another protein-carb combo after your exercises. Lastly, ensure you drink plenty of water during, before, and after your workout.

Start Today!

The sooner you start, the sooner you can reap all the benefits that exercise has to offer. For seniors, there are so many advantages. Carve that time out of your day. Plan ahead and get your workout done. It can save you years of pain and allow you age gracefully well into those golden years.

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden worked as a Rehab Exercise Expert at a physiotherapist clinic in Ottawa, Canada for 4 years. She has an Honours Bachelor Degree in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa. She uses her extensive knowledge in this area to educate others through well-researched, scientific, and informative articles. Her passions include helping others and inspiring each person she meets to get the most out of their life.

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