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Low-impact exercises to improve heart health

Written by BK Low, Digital Marketing Partner with integratedliving

We know how tempting it can be to wrap yourself in your snug winter woollies and watch telly all day during colder months.

But it is also important to keep up your cardiac care and get your 30 minutes of exercise a day. Regular exercise is especially helpful for older people who are at-risk of or living with existing heart conditions. Physical activity can improve your heart health and reduce the risk of developing diseases such as cardiovascular disease.

Taking steps to keep your heart healthy can never start too soon and to help get you going, try these small daily low impact exercises designed for seniors, that will make a difference in the long term.

Calf Raises – Up on Toes

Increases strength of your calves and the range of motion in the ankles. Improves your walking capacity to improve heart health.


  1. Stand behind a chair or at the kitchen bench.
  2. 2 x hands holding the chair/bench.
  3. Stand up straight. Lift heels off the ground (stand on tippy toes). Lower heels back to the ground.
  4. Repeat until you are tired.



Standing Marching

Increases your heart rate and teaches you to pick up your feet while walking. Good in-home exercise if unable to go for a walk outside.  


  1. Stand up straight holding kitchen bench or chair.
  2. Marching on the spot with high knees.

Sit to Stand in Chair

Strengthens your leg muscles and builds muscle endurance. Using those big muscle groups will increase your heart rate and get it pumping.


  1. Place a sturdy chair (with arm handles if needed) against a wall.
  2. Sit in the chair. Stand up (make sure you stand up straight and tall). Sit back down, controlling the sit (do not fall into chair). Use your hands if you need to.
  3. Your aim is to be able to do with without using your hands. As weeks progress, place less and less pressure on your hands while doing this movement.





Wall or Kitchen Bench Push-Ups

Increase your upper body strength by engaging those big muscle groups in your back. Gets your heart rate up and running.


  1. Place hands on the wall or kitchen bench shoulder width apart.
  2. Lower yourself towards the wall/bench. Push yourself away from the wall. Lower the whole body. Keep your body straight.
  3. Repeat this movement until you are tired. Using the wall is an easier movement. Progress to the kitchen bench once you are strong enough.


Standing Side Leg Raises

Increases hip muscles strength for greater stability. Helps with enhancing endurance so you can walk further.


  1. Standing up straight chair/kitchen bench.
  2. Lift left leg out to side and back down.
  3. Repeat this movement until leg is tired.
  4. Complete the same on the right leg.




Walking is a gentle exercise that will increase your heart rate and improve your heart health. It does not require any equipment, you can choose a pace that is best for you, it can be social and can be undertaken anywhere.


  • Put on comfortable shoes when going for a walk.
  • Walking up hills and stairs will increase your heart rate further and make the exercise more challenging.
  • Choosing a beautiful venue to walk (beach path, bush trail) will make the walk more enjoyable.

Bicep Curls (with or without resistance)

Strengthens your arms. Moving your arms increases your heart rate and gives your heart a good workout.


  1. Sit in a chair with your hands by your side.
  2. Bend you elbows so that your hands move from your waist to your shoulders.
  3. Use resistance (small hand weights or resistance band) to increase your heart rate further.



Beat the cool weather by continuing to stay physically active every day. Take inspiration from these seven simple exercises and start improving your heart health today.

If you are after more, do consider signing up for our Wellness Centre exercise classes (Online exercise available too) where you will work with accredited Exercise Physiologists and receive guided coaching to help you improve your heart health further.

Or you can also sign up for our Cardiac Wellness program – this program is designed for seniors who are keen to learn how to recognise early signs of heart disease and understand what you can do to prevent them.

Learn more about our Wellness programs