Seniors and individuals with mobility issues use chair aerobics to participate in exercise but without the impact and risk of falling of regular aerobics classes. The chairs used in chair aerobics class are without wheels and ideally have armrests. Just like regular aerobics classes, chair aerobics raise the heart rate above resting levels and improve cardiovascular fitness. Chair aerobics classes are often found in assisted living facilities and senior fitness centers and are taught by qualified instructors.
While seated, mimic a march by alternately lifting the feet off the floor. Individuals interested in raising the heart rate minimally can keep their arms on the arm rest while marching. As with regular aerobics classes, exaggerated movements raise the heart rate further. Marching and lifting the feet higher while pumping the arms harder increase the heart rate more than smaller movements.
The punch is a move done most often in kickboxing classes, and it's just as aerobic when done in a chair. Begin with the arms lifted and fists clenched in front of the face as if to guard against an oncoming punch. Alternate and punch the fists out straight ahead as if hitting an object. To add a little abdominal work, punch out to the sides and rotate the torso. Participants should punch without fully extending the elbow to prevent injury to the arm joints.
Pump Arms Overhead
Pulsing the arms overhead is a great way to raise the heart rate. While seated in the chair, lift your arms and bend your elbows to 90 degrees with your palms facing forward. Extend your arms up then bring them back to starting position. Repeat this lifting and lowering of the arms as fast or as slow as desired. Adding leg movement while pumping the arms overhead increases the cardiovascular benefit of this exercise.
While seated, alternately kick your legs straight out in front of you. The more flexible you are, the higher you’ll be able to kick your legs. Individuals in need of added support can hold onto the armrests. Otherwise, kick your legs out and pump the arms to increase the cardiovascular benefit.
- "Fitness and Health 5th edition"; Brian J. Sharkey Ph.D.; 2002.
- Live Well Age Well: Chair Exercise for Older Adults