Helping older people stay active at home

A simple set of exercises designed especially for older people to help everyone stay active at home.

Expert physiotherapists have designed a set of six simple exercises that you can do from your own home to make sure that you are getting some exercise.  

Strengthening your muscles will improve your mood, help your sleeping patterns, bring benefits for your overall health and wellbeing and importantly prevent deconditioning.  

Getting started is easy, try out the strength and balance six exercises. Watch our animation above to get started, or download and print a poster below. Get on your feet and do them daily – or at least twice a week! 

Strength and balance exercises


Sit to stand

Sit tall near the front of a chair with your feet slightly back. Lean forwards slightly and stand up (with hands on the chair if needed). Step back until your legs touch the chair then slowly lower yourself back into the chair.

Repeat 10 times


Heel raises

Stand tall, holding the back of a sturdy kitchen type chair or kitchen sink, then lift your heels off the floor, taking your weight onto your big toes. Hold for three seconds, then lower with control.

Repeat 10 times


Toe raises

Stand tall holding the same support, then raise your toes – taking your weight on your heels. Don’t stick your bottom out. Hold for three seconds, then lower with control.

Repeat 10 times


One leg stand

Stand close to your support and hold it with one hand. Balance on one leg, keeping the support knee soft and your posture upright. Hold the position for 10 seconds.

Repeat on the other leg


Heel-toe stand

Stand tall, with one hand on your support. Put one foot directly in front of the other to make a straight line. Look ahead, take your hand off the support and balance for 10 seconds. Take the front foot back to hip width apart and place the other foot in front.

Balance for 10 seconds


Heel-toe walking

Stand tall, with one hand on a support like a kitchen cabinet. Look ahead and walk 10 steps forwards, placing one foot directly in front of the other so that the feet form a straight line. Aim for a steady walking action.

Take the feet back to hip width apart, turn around and repeat the steps in the other direction

Download and print the poster

Important notes

  • Make sure the chair you're using is sturdy
  • Wear supportive shoes
  • If you experience chest pain, dizziness or severe shortness of breath, stop and contact a healthcare professional.
  • A slight soreness the day after is quite normal

DISCLAIMER: The activities described here should not cause any harm. They might not, however, be suitable for all people, particularly those at risk of falls and fractures. Consult a chartered physiotherapist or your GP before embarking on any new fitness regime, and if you do experience pain or discomfort as a result of any of the exercises, stop immediately.

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