How much do you sit? If your answer is often, then “Chair Exercises” are for you. They are easy yet effective and can be accomplished just about anywhere in a seated position. Try using a chair without arms. Here are some of my favorites:
Seated March (Warm-up)
- Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
- Raise the right foot lifting the knee, then switch and raise the left foot as if you are marching in place but while seated
- March for 2 to 3 minutes and then begin incorporating arm movements to elevate the heart rate (variations: raise your arms up and down; out to the side or in front of you; raise them up and down over your head)
- Continue this movement for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Place hips on the edge of the chair, and alternate the right and left legs forward and back. At the same time, bend your arms at the elbows and swing them back and forth.
- Wiggle your fingers and change the position of your arms as you move through this dance sequence.
- Continue chair dancing for 3-5 minutes.
Chair Stand (Strengthen abdomen and thighs)
- Place pillows on the back of chair.
- Sit towards front of chair, knees bent, feet flat on floor.
- Lean back on pillows in half-reclining position. Keep your back and shoulders straight throughout exercise.
- Raise upper body forward until sitting upright, using hands as little as possible (or not at all if you can).
- Slowly stand up, using hands as little as possible.
- Slowly sit back down. Pause.
- Repeat 8 to 15 times.
- Rest; then do another set of 8 to 15 repetitions.
Elbow to Knee Twist (Strengthen abdomen and thighs)
- Sit up straight in the chair with your buttocks close to the edge.
- Bring your arms over your head and bend the elbows so they are at 90°.
- Twist your torso and rotate your body as you bring your right elbow to your left knee, raising the left knee slightly to meet the elbow.
- Squeeze the abdominals as you rotate your body.
- Touch your elbow to your knee if possible and be sure to rotate the whole upper body to engage the abdominals.
- Exhale as you twist the torso and inhale as you return to center.
- Perform 10 to 15 repetitions on each side for one to three sets.
Extended Arms and Legs (Stretch)
- Sit on the front edge of your chair. Angle your body so your right leg has the freedom to extend behind you, keeping it as straight as possible. For stability, rest your left foot on the floor.
- Bring the arms up together in front of you (shoulder height) while keeping the rib cage and abdominal muscles pulled down and tight.
- Gaze over your fingers and take 3-5 deep breaths.
- Change positions by facing the opposite direction and extending your left leg behind you.
Seated Forward Bend (Stretch)
- With legs wide, slowly curl your spine forward, dropping your torso toward your thighs.
- Allow your head to relax and your hands to reach down toward your feet. Hold for 30-45 seconds and slowly rise back up.
Well there you are, short and sweet!