Exercising is an important part of maintaining a healthy body, but sometimes staying fit can be strenuous on your body and mind. If you think you cannot exercise because of an injury, disability or illness, think again. Options like chair and water exercises are perfect for people who have limited mobility and the desire to stay fit.
Why You Should Exercise
When it comes to exercising, it’s not just about getting into shape or getting bigger muscles; it’s also about feeling good about yourself. If you haven’t been able to exercise, you might have noticed decreased mood and energy levels. When you work out, your body releases endorphins that improve your mood, ease stress and boost your self-esteem.
You might assume that chair exercising can’t be as productive as regular exercise, but the truth is that a chair is a great place to work on upper body strength. You can also do cardiovascular exercises, strength training and flexibility exercises in a limited mobility situation.
Cardiovascular exercises are designed to increase your heart rate and boost endurance. Cardio often means walking, running, cycling and dancing, but this also includes water exercises. Water fitness is attractive to people with limited mobility because the water serves as a safe support system for your body with reduced risk of muscle or joint discomfort. Next time you’re in a pool, try “aquajogging,” or running in the water. If water exercise is not for you, you can still perform some cardiovascular exercises in a chair described later in this article.
Strength Training Exercises
Typically, strength training exercises entail using weights or other kinds of resistance to increase your muscle and bone mass, develop balance and avoid falls. While sitting in a chair, you can lift weights and stretch your upper body to create a stronger, more resilient you.
Flexibility exercises work to improve your range of motion and decrease pain and stiffness. Stretching exercises and practices like yoga are utilized to increase flexibility. If you have limited mobility in your legs, you can still benefit from doing flexibility exercises in a chair or sitting position.
Chair Exercises to Try
First, make sure your chair is sturdy and comfortable. Place your feet flat on the ground. Feel free to play music, as it can make sessions more enjoyable. Exercise for about ten to twenty minutes at a time, taking a break in between to assure that you are okay to continue. If your health allows, multiple sessions can be completed in a day – but don’t attempt to do more than your body wants to do.
Try these chair exercises to get started:
The Simple Sway – Sit in a chair and put your hands on your waist. From the waist up, sway from left to right. Move at a pace that feels comfortable, and keep your feet flat on the ground.
Hand Swirls – Stick your hands straight out in front of you and move them in a circular motion. You can also stick your hands out to the side and repeat the same motion.
Punch Away – Make two fists and hold them close to your chest. Extend one arm in a punching motion, pull back and repeat with the other arm.
Reach to the Stars – Lift both arms above your head. Extend your left arm higher and pretend to grab at the highest point. Bring your left arm down and repeat with your right arm.
Drummer – This is a great exercise to perform if you are listening to music. Raise your arms into a drummer position. Changing left and right arms, pretend like you are drumming to the beat of the music. If you want to go faster, drum double time to the music.
Baby Cradle – Pretend you are holding a baby and sway your arms from left to right. First sway slowly, and then pick up the pace.
Stir the Soup – Clench a fist and stick one hand out at chest height. Make a circular, stirring motion with your arm. Repeat with your other hand.
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