A young woman helping an older woman do an exercise with a resistance band.

5 Effective Resistance Band Exercises for Seniors

Should seniors use resistance bands? Everyone should use resistance bands!

Whether or not you’re elderly, resistance bands are a fantastic tool to keep in your workout arsenal. These are inexpensive elastic bands (think of a giant rubber band) with varying tensions. They are lightweight, easy to store and travel with, and extremely modifiable.

For seniors, resistance bands are an especially good tool to have on hand. They provide an infinite number of ways to move your muscles at various angles for overall strength and mobility.

Being able to modify the difficulty of exercise is incredibly important for seniors. Aging often comes with aches, pains, and health issues, and you shouldn‘t overdo it. We always recommend speaking to a doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

Also, don’t push your body to pain or exhaustion. Exercise should never hurt. Always start with the lightest possible resistance as you acclimate to the movements. The best resistance band exercises for seniors are the exercises that are accessible to you!

Benefits of Resistance Band Exercise for Seniors

Resistance band training is a workout that can increase both range of motion and strength. Resistance bands are about as effective as conventional gym equipment when looking at strength gains.

Resistance band workouts can lower body fat more effectively than bodyweight or free-weight exercises. Rather than relying on gravity to provide resistance, resistance bands provide resistance on all planes. This causes them to activate more muscles.

Another major benefit of resistance band training for seniors is the lower risk of injury. With their full plane of resistance, the bands activate stabilizer muscles. You’re also not likely to sustain an injury by dropping a resistance band—dumbbells are a different story.

All in all, resistance band workouts can:

This is truly a low-risk, high reward exercise.

5 Exercises with Resistance Bands for Seniors

Two senior men on exercise balls holding resistance bands.

Put on some comfortable clothes and fill up a water bottle. When engaging in any kind of workout, it’s important to warm up your muscles first. A brisk walk will do the trick nicely.

We recommend starting with light resistance bands as the best for seniors. Starting gradually is the best way to acclimate your body to a new routine.

As we mentioned earlier, there are an infinite number of possibilities with resistance bands. We’ve just chosen five easy resistance band exercises for seniors to get you started. For videos, see Silver Sneakers’ website.

1. Band Pull-Apart

  • Stand tall with feet hip-width apart
  • Hold a resistance band taut straight in front of you
  • Pull your arms out to the sides as far as you can comfortably, drawing your shoulder blades together
  • Pause and return to center
  • Repeat up to 10 times

2. Seated Row

  • Sit on a sturdy chair with your legs extended straight and heels on the floor
  • Place the center of a resistance band around the arch of your foot
  • Hold the ends of the band with your arms extended straight and palms facing
  • Sit tall, bend at the elbows, and pull the ends of the band toward your core, drawing your shoulder blades together
  • Slowly return to center
  • Repeat up to 10 times

3. Band Sidestep

  • Loop a resistance band around your legs above your knees
  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and bend knees slightly
  • Step to the side until you feel the band tighten, then slide your other foot over to return to center
  • Repeat for a few more steps
  • Repeat in the other direction

4. Clamshell

  • Lie on your side and loop a resistance band around your legs above your knees
  • Stack your legs and bend your knees at a 45-degree angle
  • Lift your top knee as high as you can
  • Return to center
  • Repeat a few times
  • Repeat on the other side

5. Side Leg Lift

  • Lie on your side with a resistance band just above your ankles, keeping your legs straight
  • Rest your head on your bottom arm and use your top arm for balance
  • Slowly raise your top leg as high as you can
  • Pause and return to center
  • Repeat a few times
  • Repeat on the other side
Tips for Exercises Using Resistance Bands for Seniors

Exercising as we age is a practice of listening to our bodies. Health progress isn’t always linear, especially in older age. That’s why we’re such fans of easily adaptable workouts like resistance bands.

Memory care involves a similar level of adaptability and flexibility. Every day we’re learning to be better at both in our community. Learn more about enhanced assisted living at The Moments.

Published On: March 29, 2024