Cardiovascular Exercises While Sitting or Lying Down

Senior woman exercising
A senior woman is sitting in a chair exercising. (Image: Image Source Pink/Image Source/Getty Images)

Exercise plays an essential role in helping maintain healthy muscle tissue, as well as keeping the rest of your body healthy and free of disease. However, traditional standing exercises are not always an option, especially if you have a condition where you are limited to sitting or lying down Luckily, you can still perform cardiovascular exercise from these positions by simply altering exercises to fit your specific abilities and limitations. Cardiovascular exercises include any activity that increases your heart and respiratory rate.

Seated Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are a common cardiovascular exercise that works the extremities while also increasing your heart rate and burning calories. Though these exercises are typically done while standing, you can use the same motion while seated by simply spreading your legs and lifting your arms above your head in the same way you would for a traditional jumping jack. Then, return your arms back to your sides and bring your feet back together. Don't drag your feet. Lift them completely off the ground as you move them apart and together to increase the resistance on your leg muscles.

Arms Circles

Arm circles can be performed in both the seated position and a lying position. While in a seated position, lift your arms out to your side creating a 90-degree angle on both sides between your arms and your body. Paint circles with your hands, keeping your arms straight. Start with small circles and slowly make them larger. Keep your arms out to your side for as long as you can. From a lying position, reach one arm out at a time towards the ceiling. Make the same circle-painting motion with your hand. Make circles with one arm for 15 to 30 seconds and then switch arms.

Bicycle Kicks

Bicycling is an efficient way to elevate your heart rate, but if you don't have a bike handy, bicycle kicks are ideal. Lie on your back, bend at the hips and elevate your legs. With your knees bent, hold your legs in the air and make a pedaling motion as though you're propelling an imaginary bike.

Chair Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are a full-body cardio activity, but you can tailor this exercise to be conducive to sitting down. In a chair with no arms, shift your buttocks forward until you're resting on the front edge of the chair. Then, swing your arms and legs as though you're performing jumping jacks. An added perk to the exercise is its lack of impact to your joints.

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