Healthy Holidays Challenge: Make Time for a Gym Workout

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

This seated strength routine can be done anywhere — including the gym, where you can mingle with friends for a double dose of well-being.

The holidays have a way of throwing even the most dedicated health enthusiast off their game. Not this year! All month long, follow along as SilverSneakers LIVE trainer Shannon Thigpen unwraps our best tips for staying healthy, happy, and, yes, even calm during this busy time of year. Check in here  and on our Facebook page for new activities to try. Here’s to your healthiest, happiest holiday season ever! 

There are times, like the holidays, when it’s common to skip the gym. But here’s the thing — those busy, stressful times are exactly when you get the most out of that trip.

“Not only is the gym a change of environment, but you have the community aspect to consider,” says SilverSneakers trainer Shannon Thigpen.

“Those small exchanges of pleasantries really do go a long way toward keeping your spirits up,” Shannon says. “Plus, gyms give you easy access to equipment that most of us don’t have at home.”

Get and stay fit with  SilverSneakers! Choose from dozens of different Community classes, visit a participating fitness location, or join one of 20+ SilverSneakers LIVE online classes. Check your eligibility here. 

How to Use These 4 Seated Strength Exercises

For today’s Healthy Holidays Challenge, Shannon has four seated strength exercises for you to try. You’ll be working your core and your upper body.

“These are exercises you may find in many SilverSneakers fitness classes,” she says.

Shannon demonstrates the movements using resistance tubing with handles, but you can do these movements with a pair of light dumbbells or your own bodyweight for resistance.

If you’re doing them at the gym, find a sturdy chair or use a weight bench with an adjustable back extension and secure the tubing to the back.

If you’re taking a SilverSneakers class, your instructor will guide you through the exercise, but feel free to use the variation that feels best for you.

If you’re working out on your own at the gym or at home, do up to three sets of 10 to 12 reps per side. Focus on engaging your core throughout the entire movement.

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As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition (including osteoporosis), balance issues, or injuries, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely. 

Seated Strength Exercise #1: Chop

  1. Sit tall in your chair (or bench) with your chest up, shoulders back and down, and feet planted firmly on the floor.
  2. Engage your core, and grab the handles with both hands.
  3. Clasp your hands together in front of your chest.
  4. Pull the tubing across your body, taking care to not rotate your lower back.
  5. Do 10 to 12 repetitions.
  6. Repeat on the other side.

Seated Strength Exercise #2: Single Arm Overhead Triceps Extension

  1. Hold one resistance tubing handle in your right hand.
  2. Place your right hand on your right shoulder.
  3. Grab the other band handle with your left hand and bring your left hand under your right elbow for support.
  4. Sit tall and inhale. As you exhale, straighten your right arm, then inhale and allow your arm to bend and release.
  5. Repeat the triceps extension 10 to 12 times.
  6. Switch arms and repeat.

Seated Strength Exercise #3: Chest Press

  1. Wrap your tubing around your back and pull the handles under your arms.
  2. Grab each handle. Tip: Cinch the tubing to create more resistance.
  3. Anchor your feet to the floor and extend both arms forward, pushing the handles away from your body.
  4. Then, release. Allow your elbows to bend and bring the handles to your shoulders.
  5. Repeat 10 to 12 times.

Seated Strength Exercise #4: Crunch

  1. Bring your tubing over your shoulders.
  2. Engage your core and anchor your feet to the floor.
  3. Grab the tubing in both hands, just above the handles. Tip: Cinch the tubing to create more resistance.
  4. Make gentle fists in front of your chest.
  5. Gently curl your torso forward then return to sitting up tall.
  6. Repeat 10 to 12 times.

Bonus Challenge: Take a SilverSneakers LIVE Seated Strength (Express) Class 

This online class provides a mix of upper and lower body exercises to improve your overall fitness in just 15 minutes. View the schedule and RSVP here

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