Everyone can (and should!) experience the physical, mental and emotional benefits of exercise. As you get older, high-impact workouts may stress your joints and bodies more than they used to, but that doesn’t have to slow you down! Chair exercises can improve strength, resistance, flexibility and endurance, without the impact on your body — everyone can benefit from an exercise routine that incorporates a few chair exercises, but they’re especially effective for people with certain physical limitations.
Think you can’t exercise because of one of the conditions below? Think again!
Your equilibrium is off or you’re afraid of falling
Medications and other health conditions can sometimes throw off your equilibrium, making it difficult to keep your balance, much less take a daily walk or a bike ride. But you can still safely get your heart rate up and work on your balance with some targeted chair exercises. Make sure your chair is sturdy and won’t slide, and do some exercises that are designed to improve balance and flexibility. As you become stronger, you’ll reduce your risk of a fall too!
You find high impact exercises painful
No exercise should cause you pain so if cardio workouts like jogging or fitness classes aren’t for you, try chair exercises that focus on getting your heart rate up without putting stress on your body. From chair “jumping jacks” to chair running, exercises from the sitting position can still get your heart going, burn calories and boost your circulation.
You have an injury
If you have an injury preventing you from doing your normal workout, ask your doctor for safe chair exercises you can do throughout your recovery to stay in shape, build your strength and even speed up your recovery time. Whether you work a different part of your body or focus on your cardiovascular health, staying active will help keep your body and your mind healthy and positive while you recover.
You’re overweight or obese
Everyone starts somewhere – chair exercises may be the first step to shedding some weight and improving your health for the long term! Leg extensions, shoulder presses with weights, and biceps curls are just a few easy and effective exercises you can do from the seated position. As you burn calories and gain strength, you’ll also lose weight and can ultimately expand your range of exercises and increase your workout time.
You have diabetes, arthritis or another chronic condition
Guess what? Exercise is often recommended to help manage the symptoms of diabetes, arthritis and many other chronic conditions. Certain exercises can reduce pain, improve blood glucose levels and increase muscle strength, endurance, flexibility and range of motion, just to name a few benefits. Being sedentary can lead to weak muscles and brittle bones, which can perpetuate symptoms, so talk to your doctor and/or physical therapist and work out a chair exercise routine that is right for you.
You’re a wheelchair user
Resistance bands are a great option if you’re exercising in a wheelchair. They can be stretched or wrapped around the arms or door for muscle strengthening, used for pull downs, arm and leg extensions or shoulder rotations. Light dumbbells are another great way to give your muscles a workout, which will make everyday tasks easier — regular exercise will give your mood a workout too!
Chair exercises are an effective way to stay active and healthy, feel better, boost your mood, and improve your overall well-being, despite circumstances that make you feel like you’d be better off hanging up your sneakers. And the SilverSneakers Fitness program has SilverSneakers Classic which is a chair-based class and especially designed for people of all abilities. Many of the SilverSneakers group fitness classes that are not specifically designed to be chair based can be easily modified for someone who’d prefer to sit rather than stand. So talk to your doctor, and then pull up a chair and get to work – soon you’ll be enjoying the positive endorphins and the results!