305 West End Assisted Living Blog

Best Exercises for Seniors to Strengthen the Shoulder Joints and Back

Mature adults exercising in a group with stretch bands in a physiotherapy program to stay fit.

Experiencing shoulder joint and back pain can make everyday tasks difficult for seniors, like getting dressed, cooking dinner, or walking the dog. However, the key to finding relief might be simpler than you expect. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, the right exercises can increase your strength, improve flexibility, and reduce joint pain. It might seem counterintuitive to exercise when your joints are hurting, but regular exercise can provide both immediate and long-term relief for seniors.

Try some of the shoulder and back exercises below, all recommended by physical therapists and experts from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, to improve your range of motion and reduce joint pain. 

They’re simple to do, using only your body weight. Wellness is one of our top priorities here at 305 West End Assisted Living, and that’s why we offer a variety of exercise classes in our fitness center to meet residents’ needs and abilities.

It’s important to remember that before beginning any type of exercise, check with your doctor to make sure it’s appropriate for you.

Simple Exercises for Seniors to Strengthen the Shoulder Joints and Back

The following exercises can help reduce pain in the back and shoulders by strengthening muscles and improving your range of motion. Start slowly, doing as many repetitions as you feel comfortable with, and gradually work up to more as you become stronger and more flexible.


Lie face-down on a flat surface, with your arms stretched out in front of you. Slowly raise your arms and legs simultaneously, so your body forms a shallow U shape. Lower and repeat.


Lie on your back on a flat surface. Keep your arms at your sides, with your knees bent and feet flat. Push up from your heels to lift your pelvis so your body forms a straight line from your knees to your head. Hold for 15 seconds, then lower down.

Related: Why Walking Is So Good for Senior Health >>

Arm Circles

Start with your arms straight out from your shoulders and perpendicular to the floor, then move them in large circles. Move forward for 10-15 seconds, then reverse direction. Try to keep your arms at the same radius from your shoulder joint the entire way around.

Shoulder Blade Stretch

Sit on a stool or the edge of a bed, sitting straight with good posture. Pull your shoulder blades together and squeeze. Hold for several seconds, then relax.

Related: How Stretching Can Benefit Seniors >>

Get More Health & Wellness Tips

Healthy habits can improve your overall quality of life far more than you might expect. Subscribe to the 305 West End Assisted Living blog below for more health and wellness tips. You’ll also get lifestyle and cultural news, senior care answers, and more.

Search the Blog

  • There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.

Ready to Become an Insider?
Get free monthly emails about caregiving, city living, current events, and more.