Seated exercises with dumbbells can help strengthen your arms.
George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
If you're elderly and not as mobile as you once were, don't let that keep you from doing strengthening exercises. In fact, the National Institute on Aging recommends that elderly adults perform a minimum of two 30-minute strengthening sessions each week. Increasing muscular strength, especially in your arms, can make the simplest daily activities easier, such as opening a jar or pulling open a stuck drawer. With inexpensive training aids, several at-home arm exercises can be performed without even getting up from your chair.
Arm and Shoulder Strengthening
An effective exercise to help strengthen the muscles in your upper limbs is the overhead arm raise. For this exercise you'll need a pair of light hand weights and a sturdy, armless chair. Sit tall with your feet flat on the floor. Start by holding a weight in each hand, bending your elbows and holding the weights to the sides of your shoulders with your palms facing forward. Press the weights above your head, hold for a count of one, lower the weights to the starting position and repeat. Perform one set of 10 to 12 repetitions, rest a minute, then perform a second set.
Focus on Your Biceps
Strengthening the muscles at the front of your upper arm can be done with arm curls. While sitting in your chair, hold a weight in each hand, allow your arms to hang by the sides of the chair and start with your palms facing inward. Bend your right elbow and raise the weight to the front of your shoulder. Halfway through the movement, turn your hand so your palm faces up. Pause for a count of one, then lower the weight to the starting position. Repeat with your left hand to complete one repetition. Continue alternating your arms until you've completed 10 to 12 reps. Rest a minute, then perform a second set.
Target Your Triceps
To strengthen the muscles at the back of your upper arm, use only one hand weight and perform triceps extensions. Sit in your chair, put your feet flat on the floor, lean forward slightly and rest your right forearm across both legs to support your upper body. Hold the weight in your left hand and turn your hand so your palm faces your body. Bend your elbow 90 degrees and while maintaining this angle, move your arm backward until your upper arm is parallel to the floor. This is the starting position. Without moving your upper arm, straighten your left arm until its parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat 10 to 12 times. Switch the weight to your right hand and repeat.
Work Your Lower Arms
Wrist curls focus on strengthening the muscles in your wrists and forearms. Sit in your chair, hold a weight in each hand and rest your forearms, palms up, on your thighs. Start with the weights extended just past your knees. Bend your wrists and curl the weights up toward your body as far as you can. Return to the starting position and repeat. Perform one set of 10 to 12 reps. Turn your arms over so your palms face the floor and rest your forearms on your thighs. Bend your wrists backward and curl the weights back toward you as far as you can. Return to the starting position and repeat. Perform one set of 10 to 12 reps.
Exercise Tips and Considerations
Depending on your strength level, start with 1- to 2-pound hand weights and gradually increase the weight as you become stronger. If you don't own a pair of hand weights, two cans of soup or two water bottles can be used. Just be sure they fit your hand and you can easily hold onto them. If you haven't exercised for a while, check with your doctor before starting a new fitness program.
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images