We all need exercise, but how can you get it if you have limited mobility? You can use your chair as a mini-gym! Just find a sturdy chair without wheels or arms and try the exercises below. They’re a great way to help you stay in shape and they can be adapted to almost any ability level.
What are the benefits of working out in your chair? Like any exercise, you’ll increase circulation and help improve muscle strength, stability, balance and coordination. Chair exercises avoid putting extra pressure or strain on your body and the movement works to lubricate your joints and keep them flexible. By doing these exercises regularly, you can decrease your chance of falling and even improve your quality of life.
Why: To strengthen hips and thighs and improve flexibility
Get started: Place your hands on your thighs or hold on to the sides of the chair, march your legs up and down as high as is comfortable while placing your feet down with control. Do five lifts with each leg to start.
Challenge yourself: Lift legs higher, continue marching for one minute or longer
Why: To stretch and strengthen your shoulders, triceps and biceps as well as increase circulation to your arms, shoulders and fingers
Get started: Lift both arms straight out to the side with fingers pointed outward. Slowly make 10 small circles with your arms. Lower your arms to your side and repeat several times
Challenge yourself: Add repetitions, increase the time that you hold your arms out, hold a small weight in your hands
Why: To strengthen core muscles which are used for maintaining proper posture
Get started: Hold a ball or something similar with both hands in front of your belly button. Suck your abdominal muscles in as you slowly rotate your torso as far to one side and then the other as you can. Repeat 5 times on each side with only the upper body moving.
Challenge yourself: Increase the number of repetitions, use something heavier than a ball such a large book or a gallon of milk
Why: To improve ankle flexibility and reduce blood clot risk
Get started: Sit upright, hold on to the side of the chair and straighten your left leg out in front of you, then point your toes away and then back towards yourself. Try two sets of five stretches with each foot
Challenge yourself: Lift legs higher, hold them in the air longer, increase the repetitions
Why: To loosen tight neck muscles and release tension
Get started: Sitting upright, look straight ahead and hold your left shoulder down with your right hand. Slowly tilt your head to the right while holding your shoulder down. Repeat three times on each side, holding each stretch for 5 seconds
Challenge yourself: Lift your arm up and place it above the opposite ear for a deeper stretch, increase the duration and number of stretches