While chair exercises won't take the place of a regular aerobics and weight training routine as far as reaching a high level of fitness, you can perform seated exercises that will keep you relaxed and limber if you spend a large amount of time at a desk every day. Chair exercises are suitable for most ages and fitness levels, making them ideal for senior citizens. Unlike a strenuous activity such as running or a highly skilled activity like gymnastics, these exercises are rather simple and easy on the body. Still, they can provide a break from long periods of sitting and reduce your stress and soreness.
Various Chair Exercises
Different exercises will target specific areas. Some parts of the body you might want to focus on include those that suffer a lot of strain from being in a seated position for long stretches. These include the:
While it's most beneficial to perform full body stretches while standing, you can still get a little stretching in even at your desk.
To relieve some of the pressure on your neck, try the following:
- Sit up straight.
- Slowly lean your head toward your left shoulder as far as you can, keeping your face forward, feeling the stretch along your neck.
- Bring your head back to an upright position.
- Now lean your head toward your right shoulder as far as you can.
- Bring your head back to the starting position.
- Repeat steps two through five several times.
Alternately, try this exercise to stretch your neck:
- Sit up straight, with your head facing forward, your shoulders relaxed.
- Slowly revolve your head around on your neck, from right shoulder to the front, to the left shoulder, to the back, before returning to your original position.
- You can also reverse your movement and repeat this move a few times.
Many people feel stiffness in their shoulders and backs from hunching over their desks all day. You should take breaks and make sure your posture is good to help prevent that. You can also perform these shoulder chair exercises:
- Sit straight and relax your shoulders.
- Raise your shoulders and rotate them forward, keeping your arms relaxed at your sides.
- Now rotate your shoulders back.
- Repeat steps two and three several times.
Suffering from back pain doesn't have to be inevitable. By engaging in regular stretching, even when done from the comfort of a chair, you may be able to prevent having the back problems that so many people complain about. Try these simple stretches during the day:
- Sit upright in a chair.
- Keeping your knees together, lean forward with your hands held out straight in front of you.
- Reach toward your toes, feeling the stretch all along your back.
- Return to starting position.
Similarly, try this back stretch:
- Sit upright, back straight.
- Lean over to your right side and touch the floor with your outstretched right hand.
- Slowly return to your original position before leaning to your left side and touching the floor with your left hand.
- Try to perform five sets (one right hand lean and one left hand lean make up one set).
You can even get a decent stretch into your leg muscles in a seated position:
- Sit upright, hands resting loosely on your thighs.
- With your knees together, extend your legs about 12 to 18 inches from you, keeping your feet on the floor.
- Keeping your feet together, flex your ankles by bringing your toes toward you.
- Now point your toes toward the floor.
- Repeat for several sets.
Here's one more:
- Sitting upright, keep your knees together.
- Raise both legs to chair seat height, keeping your toes flexed.
- Reach toward your toes with your hands, but don't lean forward.
- Hold for several seconds or as long as you can and return to your starting position.
- Perform this move several times.
Just because you're tied to a desk all day doesn't mean you can't fit in some exercise. Chair exercises are also good for people who need to ease into working out, whether they have health issues or need to proceed slowly based on a doctor's advice. Even from a seated position, you can improve your fitness level, so why not give it a try?