Chair exercises: Sit back, relax … and get energized
Chair exercises are perfect for the senior age group. Exercise is crucial for leading an active, healthy, happy life. However, when many people think exercise, they think about walking, jogging or going to the gym. Yet, chair exercises allow you to sit anywhere, while you exercise.
ViveHealth.com states that chair exercises provides modified activities for those with mobility challenges, balance issues, or are recovering from an injury or surgery. Plus, chair-based exercises will develop your cardio fitness, muscular strength, and flexibility.
“The residents of Parkway Place enjoy the variety of classes we offer. For our chair exercises, they can challenge themselves by standing if they choose. The classes are a fun way for residents to stay active. Incorporating a chair gives residents the health benefits they need while allowing them to be comfortable in class,” said Linda Fitzhugh, director, Resident Engagement, Parkway Place, a senior living community.
Chair exercises at Parkway Place, and other senior living communities, include strength and stretching, that helps keep the body limber and flexible; Cardio exercises that increase the heart rate and breathing for extended periods of time and improve the health of the heart, lungs and circulatory system.
“We use many props such as balls, bands and weights. We also use music to keep a positive atmosphere,” Fitzhugh said.
Like any other workout, begin with a warm-up. Loosening and warming the muscles prepares them for the movements they’re about to do and dramatically reduces the risk of injury.
VivaHealth.com recommends 16 Chair Exercises for seniors and below are just a few. Each exercise is suggested to do 10 or more times.
Neck Stretch: Sit up straight, and slowly tilt your head toward your right shoulder until you feel a stretch. Hold this position while gradually extending your left arm down and to the side. Release, and repeat on the other side.
Shoulder Rolls: Sit tall with your feet on the ground. Shrug your shoulders up toward your ears, and slowly rotate your shoulders in a circle—back, down, forward, and back to the top. When you reach the top, reverse the movement.
Toe Taps: Sit up straight with your feet flat on the ground. Bend your toes toward the ceiling and back to the floor. Keep your heels on the ground as you bend your toes upward and then back down. You use these muscles to climb stairs and perform daily activities.
Knee Lifts: Sit up straight with your feet flat. Slowly lift your right knee toward your chest, and then lower your foot back to the floor. Repeat with your left leg. For an added challenge, pause for a five-count at the top of the movement. You use your quads in nearly everything you do.
Seated Jumping Jacks: Sit up straight, on the edge of your seat. Extend your arms to the sides and then above your head, as you would with a normal jumping jack. Return them to your sides before raising them again. Start slow, and then increase your speed until you’re moving your arms as fast as you can.
Chair Running: Sit with your legs extended, toes pointed, and arms bent by your sides. Lean back slightly so that your shoulder blades barely touch the back of your chair. Gently lift your feet from the floor. Pull one knee toward you while the other is extended, and then switch, mimicking a running motion. If necessary, grip the armrests or sides of your seat for balance.
Seated Tap Dance: Sit with your knees bent and your toes resting on the floor. Extend one leg, and gently tap your heel on the ground. With your leg still extended, point your toes and tap them to the floor. Return to the starting position, and repeat with the opposite leg.
Knee to Chest: Sit up straight with your left foot firmly on the ground. Grasp the back of your right knee, and slowly pull it toward your chest until you feel a stretch. Hold the position for thirty seconds, and then repeat with your left leg.
So, grab a chair, do some exercises, get the endorphins going and have a great rest of the day.