Exercising in a chair can help office workers, seniors and those with health conditions or physical limitations achieve aerobic exercise in a low-impact and low-intensity way. Clinical Exercise Physiologist Kristina Sandstedt explains that chair exercises can help nonexercising populations improve their health and transition to more intense exercise. Perform a combination of chair exercises for 20 to 30 minutes a day to meet your fitness needs, but first talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.
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Begin with some warm-up chair exercises. Include stretching back your fingers, pushing one hand down with the other, doing circles with your wrists and ankles and stretching your head down to your chest.
Perform the Chair Warrior pose to stretch your leg and hip muscles. Turn sideways to the right on the chair with your right knee bent 90 degrees over the right side of the chair in front of you and your left leg straight back behind the left side of the chair. Balance your body as you stretch your left arm and head up and back. Hold this for six to eight breaths and switch sides.
Perform chair sit-to-stands simply by sitting on a chair and standing up. Performing these for 30 seconds two to five times per week can increase your strength and improve your balance, according to the American Council on Exercise.
While sitting in the chair, perform swimming exercises with your arms. Imagine you are doing the crawl stroke, back stroke and breaststroke and perform those movements with your arms.
To perform chair jumping jacks, begin by sitting up straight with your legs apart and your arms up and out to the sides. Cross your arms and legs, then alternate between the two poses.
Sit straight in your chair and keep your back straight as you bend forward toward your left knee to perform a backstretch. Lift yourself up and perform the same movement on the right side.
Sit with your knees and feet together. Bring your bent legs up toward you while circling your arms around like you are jumping rope.
Do leg extensions by keeping your back straight while you lift your left foot straight up until your leg is parallel to the floor or as close to that as you can go. Bring it back down slowly and perform this exercise with both legs.
Perform arm curls by sitting up straight and holding a book, water bottle or other possession that provides weight. Keep your arms down by your sides; hold the object in your left arm and bend your arm at the elbow to lift it, then lower it. Perform this exercise with each arm.
Arms Up/Middle/Down Exercise
Get your whole body involved by performing the arms up/middle/down exercise. Start with your feet apart and arms up and spread apart. Bring your knees together as you bring your arms together and clap. Go back to the starting position and alternate between the two positions.