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Fitness for Every Body: Easy Low-Impact Exercises for Seniors

senior lady smiling after exercise with phone

Staying active is essential for everyone, at any stage of life. It doesn’t have to involve strenuous routines or expensive equipment! This blog shows you that fun and easy low-impact exercises for seniors are within reach for every fitness level.

Whether you prefer exercising at home, outdoors, or even with your furry friend, we have something for you. Before you get started, we encourage you to consult with your doctor. They can help you create a safe and effective routine that meets your individual needs and health goals.

Let’s explore some simple ways to incorporate movement into your daily routine and keep yourself feeling strong, flexible, and energized.

Staying Active at Home

Looking for ways to stay active and incorporate movement into your daily routine? Look no further than your own home! Here are some fun and easy low-impact exercises you can do right in your living room or bedroom, using minimal or no equipment:

Chair Exercises

These are perfect for those who prefer to stay seated. Try seated squats, where you stand up and sit down from a chair, bicep curls using light weights (soup cans work well!), and leg extensions to strengthen your legs.

Wall Push-Ups and Modified Planks

Even if you don’t have the upper body strength for traditional push-ups, you can modify them using a wall. Modified planks can be done on your knees instead of your toes, making them accessible for everyone.

Core Engagement

Pelvic floor squeezes and core exercises: These exercises strengthen your core muscles, which support your back and improve your posture. You can find online resources or videos that demonstrate proper technique for these exercises.

Gentle Stretches

Include stretches like toe touches, hamstring stretches, and gentle arm circles in your routine. These can help improve your flexibility and range of motion, making everyday activities easier and more enjoyable. Many online resources offer senior-specific stretching routines that cater to different abilities.

Staying Active at the Gym

The gym can be a fantastic place to stay active and socialize with others. Here are some low-impact exercises you can try at the gym, regardless of your experience level:

Weight Machines

Use weight machines with light weights, focusing on controlled movements and proper form. This ensures you get the most out of your workout while minimizing the risk of injury.

Senior Fitness Classes

Consider joining a program like SilverSneakers or similar programs designed specifically for older adults. These classes often use specialized equipment that’s easier on your joints, and experienced instructors can suggest modifications based on individual needs.

Stretching Classes

Many gyms offer group stretching classes, like yoga or pilates for seniors, led by instructors who can guide you through proper techniques and safe stretching practices. These classes can also be a great way to meet new people and socialize.

Individual Stretching Routine

If you prefer to stretch on your own, many gyms have designated areas with mats and mirrors. You can follow along with a guided stretching video on your phone or simply perform basic stretches targeting different muscle groups. Remember to listen to your body and avoid bouncing during stretches.

seniors doing tai chi outside

Staying Active Outdoors

Being outdoors offers a refreshing and invigorating way to stay active. Here are some low-impact exercises you can do outside to benefit your overall well-being:


This classic exercise is a fantastic way to strengthen your legs, core, and cardiovascular system. It’s easy to incorporate into your daily routine and can be done almost anywhere. To add a little more challenge, gently swing your arms back and forth as you walk.


It’s not just about cultivating beautiful flowers and delicious vegetables! Gardening involves light digging, squatting and reaching, which can help improve your strength and flexibility. It’s a fun way to get some gentle exercise and enjoy the outdoors simultaneously.

Stretching Breaks

While taking a walk or enjoying some time outside, incorporate short stretching breaks. Simple stretches like neck rolls, arm circles, and calf stretches are easy to do anywhere and offer flexibility benefits.

Outdoor Yoga

Practice gentle yoga poses while surrounded by nature. Many beginner-friendly yoga routines are available online or in video format, allowing you to find sequences that suit your comfort level and enjoy the calming presence of the outdoors.

Staying Active With Your Grandkids

Spending time with your grandkids is always special, and incorporating physical activity into your interactions can make it even more enjoyable. Here are some fun and low-impact exercises you can do together:

Balloon Bonanza

Blow up some balloons and have a “keep it up” competition, trying to keep them in the air using only gentle head movements and light taps. Alternatively, challenge yourselves to balance the balloons on different body parts like your elbows, knees or head while walking around the room.

March to Your Own Beat

Put on some upbeat music and have a silly walk competition! This could involve walking backward, on tippy-toes, like a crab, or with exaggerated arm movements. Get creative and have fun coming up with unique and silly walks together.

Laughter Yoga

Laughter yoga involves engaging in forced, exaggerated laughter, even if you don’t feel like it initially. The theory is that it can eventually lead to genuine laughter and provide some health benefits like stress reduction and improved mood. Give it a try together and see what kind of giggles you can share!

The Great Balancing Act

This activity can be both challenging and fun. Try balancing various household objects on different body parts while maintaining a straight face. Think books on your head, spoons on your nose, or feather dusters on your outstretched finger. Encourage each other and celebrate successes (and wobbly moments) with laughter.

Staying Active With Friends

Staying active doesn’t have to be a solitary pursuit! Sharing your fitness journey with friends can add a social element, making exercise more enjoyable and motivating. Here are some ways to stay active and connected with friends:

Walking or Hiking Groups

Organize walking or hiking groups with friends and incorporate stretching breaks into your outings. This allows you to enjoy the outdoors together while staying active and improving flexibility.

Group Stretching Sessions

Take it a step further and hold dedicated stretching sessions with friends. You can focus on different muscle groups each time, creating a well-rounded routine and enjoying social interaction at the same time.

Games With Movement

Plan games that involve light movement and stretching, like scavenger hunts or volleyball in the pool. These activities can be a fun way to stay active, encourage social interaction, and bring a playful element to your workouts.

Staying Active With Your Dog

Our furry friends can be fantastic companions and motivators when it comes to staying active. Here are some ways to incorporate your dog into your exercise routine and enjoy some quality time together:

Walking Your Dog

Even a regular walk around the block provides both you and your dog with exercise and fresh air. Consider exploring new trails or choosing a hilly terrain to add a bit of challenge.

Playful Activities

Engage in playful activities with your dog, like throwing a frisbee or playing a gentle game of tug-of-war (always be mindful of your dog’s strength and size). Playing fetch is another fun way to get moving, because it requires upper body and core engagement to throw the ball.

Sniffing and Stretching Breaks

While your dog takes their time sniffing around during your walk, use the opportunity to perform some stretches, like standing quad stretches or hamstring stretches. While your dog rests, take a few minutes to do some partner stretches together. Gently hold onto your dog’s leash as you lean forward for a hamstring stretch, or use the leash for assisted arm circles.

Remember, always prioritize your dog’s comfort and avoid pulling on the leash.

Low-Impact Exercises for Seniors: It’s Your Journey

Remember, even small bursts of activity throughout the day can make a significant difference. Start slow, listen to your body, and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as you feel comfortable. Most importantly, embrace the joy of movement and celebrate the countless benefits of staying active!

senior woman outside with her dog on a yoga mat

Love, Laugh, and Live Your Best Life at Laurel Circle

In partnership with RWJBarnabas Health, a leading health care system in New Jersey, Laurel Circle elevates your access to wellness resources.

Renowned experts regularly host informative presentations on various health topics, empowering residents to take control of their health. RWJBarnabas Health’s dedication to building healthy communities aligns perfectly with our commitment to your well-being. Contact our team online or call 908-504-7490 to discover how you can live your best life at Laurel Circle!