It’s important to move your body, no matter your fitness level. If you are just getting started or are concerned about balance, chair exercises can be a great option.
Chair exercises allow you to be active with little impact on your joints. They help to improve mobility, strength and balance. They are also a great option if you do not have access to a gym or exercise equipment.
Below are some simple chair exercises you can try. Use any chair you have around the house. If you have light hand weights, you can use them. If not, water bottles, soup cans or any other item that you can safely hold in your hands can also work. As always, make sure to listen to your body and stop if any of the exercises cause pain.
Talk to your doctor before you try any new form of physical activity. If these exercises are safe for you, try doing one set of 10-15 repetitions each. Do this 2-3 times a week for the next two weeks.
Focus: Chest muscles
Lean back slightly in your chair (if able) and hold a weight in each hand. With your palms facing down to the ground, press your arms straight out in front of you. Then bring them back by your sides. Try this 10-15 times.
Focus: Middle- and upper-back muscles
Lean forward slightly in your chair (if able) and hold a weight in each hand. With your palms facing each other, start with your arms out in front of you. Pull your elbows and shoulders back until your arms are even with your sides. Then straighten your arms in front of you again. Try this 10-15 times.
Focus: A muscle in the back of your arms called your triceps
Lean forward slightly in your chair (if able) and hold a weight in each hand. Start with your arms by your hips, palms facing in toward your body. Slowly swing your forearms behind you, hinging at your elbows, until your arms are fully extended. Then bring your forearms back by your hips. Try this 10-15 times.
Focus: A muscle in the front of your arms called your biceps
Start by sitting with good posture in your chair. Hold a weight in each hand. Bring your arms straight at your sides with your palms facing up. Next, bend at the elbows and bring the weights up to your shoulders. Then bring your forearms back down by your sides. You can do the exercise one arm at a time. Try this 10-15 times on each side.
Focus: The muscles of your legs, specifically your quadriceps and your hamstrings
Stand just in front of your chair, facing away from it. Keep your back flat and your head and chest raised. Slowly lower down toward the seat of the chair but don’t sit down. You can bring your arms out in front of you for balance. Then raise back up to the starting position. Try this 10-15 times.
Focus: The muscles of the back of your lower legs called your calves
Stand behind a straight-backed chair, with both hands on the back of the chair for balance. Place your feet slightly apart. Keep your upper body straight. Slowly lift both heels and stand as high up on your toes as you can. Hold for one second. Then slowly lower your heels to the floor. Try this 10-15 times.
Were you able to safely do one set of 10-15 repetitions for two weeks? Try increasing to 2-3 sets each time you do these exercises.
Want more? Take a look at chair exercises Part 2 here!