Sitting down for long periods of time is not healthy, in fact lack of physical activity has become a major cause of chronic disease and premature death. Whether its due to work or relaxation, the modern lifestyle has become a lot more sedentary, compared to decades ago. Health experts have advised people to lead a more active life when possible, to improve health and increase life expectancy.
However, what can a person do if they are house bound and chair bound. What if they are disabled, elderly or injured and cannot walk around a lot or at all. Doing some exercises on your chair everyday can help get your blood pumping, strengthen muscles and improve overall health and well being.
There are many exercises that can be performed on a chair and some of the exercises below can be done on either a chair or a recliner. However, some of the exercises can only be done on a recliner.
If you are chair bound and find it difficult or impossible to move out of your recliner, then why not try some of these exercises to get the blood pumping and strengthen your muscles. I’m sure you will feel a lot better after a few sessions of these exercises. Make sure you start off slowly and build your strength gradually.
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1.) Core and Abdominal Exercise
Recline the backrest fully and lift the footrest up. Lie back on the recliner and cross your hands across your chest. Pick a spot on the ceiling above you and keep your eyes on that spot. Slowly lift your shoulders off the recliner. Do not strain your head forward (This is why you keep your eyes focused on the spot on the ceiling. If you lose sight of the spot, then your head has strained forward). Slowly bring your head and shoulders back to the recliner. This is 1 repetition. You should feel your muscles contract in your abdominal area every time you lift your shoulders and head off the recliner backrest.
Do 10 repetitions (this is 1 Set). If you are capable of doing 10 comfortably, then rest and do another set. 3 sets should be more than enough for beginners.
2.) Leg Curl for the Hamstrings
Sit up in the recliner and bring the footrest fully up. If you can release the footrest separately and have the back rest fully up, then it will be better for this exercise. However, if you the footrest and back rest move at the same time, then try to sit up without the back rest. Your legs should be on the footrest now. Slowly, push the footrest down until just before it clicks into place. Slowly release the footrest back up to fully open again. This is 1 repetition. Do this 10 times or until you feel a little fatigue.
You can perform this exercise for 3 x sets of 10. This leg curl exercise will strengthen the back of the thigh muscles. Like in the video below, but try to do the action a little slower and smoother.
3. Quad Lift for the Quadriceps
This exercise can be performed in a regular chair also. Sit up on the chair with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your thighs. One leg at a time, slowly lift your foot up. Make sure to not lift your thigh up off the chair. The only part of the leg that is being lifted is the lower leg from the knee to the foot. The action is the same as a kicking action. When the leg is fully straight and parallel to the floor, you can clench your thigh muscle. Slowly return your leg to the floor again. This is 1 repetition.
Perform this lift 10 times (1 set). Rotate legs for each set, so 10 lifts for the left leg and then 10 lifts for the right leg. Work your way up to 3 sets per leg in total.
If you have week knees and would like to strengthen them before doing a full exercise like this, then try the following video. It is a similar exercise that can only be done on a recliner. It is easier to do and is not as strenuous as the above exercise. Perfect for those that need to build up some strength in their knees and legs before advancing to more strenuous exercises.
4.) Calf Raises
This is another exercise that can be performed on a recliner or a regular chair. Sit on the recliner with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Your leg should be at a 90° right angle, knees directly above the ankles. Slowly push your knees up from the ground, lifting your heels off the floor but not your toes and ball of the foot. Do this 10 times and for 3 sets. If you find this too easy, you can also add some resistance by adding a little weight on top of your thigh muscles.
In the video below, this exercise is demonstrated, along with some other more advanced exercises.
This exercise has been demonstrated in the video above. It is a more advanced exercise and involves standing up and sitting down. This standing and sitting motion is ideal for building strength and muscles in the thigh and butt area. Sitting for long periods of time will weaken these muscles, therefore the squat is an excellent exercise for rebuilding them. It is certainly one to work up to and if you have a carer or something like a zimmer frame to balance you, then it can be a big help.
Most important things to take from the squat in the video is to stand up and sit down slowly. Do not fall back into the chair and keep your knees over your ankles. Please watch the video a number of times to get the technique correct.
6.) Triceps Dip
The triceps are the muscles at the back of the upper arm and are one of the most underused muscles of the arm, especially for women. The triceps muscles are used for straightening the arm and for pushing.
Once again, sit up with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on the armrests. And slowly push yourself up and slightly off the chair. Even the slightest of pushes will benefit you here. If you can push yourself enough to get your butt slightly off the seat then you have some decent strength. Obviously, the heavier the person is, the harder it is to lift oneself. However, it doesn’t take much effort to build these muscles and develop some strength in the triceps and chest area.
Try this exercise for 10 reps and for 3 sets.
7.) Rest of Body Workout
The lower part of the body has been covered above, along with the core, abdominal, triceps and chest. However, there is also the biceps (front upper arms) and shoulders. To do these exercises you may need some light dumbbells or food cans to add a little resistance and weight. The stronger you get at these exercises the more resistance you will need to continue to gain strength. I have added a video below because the girl demonstrates a few exercise that will work the biceps and shoulders. She also adds in a few stretches, which are essential for keeping you lose and relaxed after your workout.
I hope you found these exercises helpful. Make sure to start out slowly and don’t over do it in the beginning. If you have not been active for a while, it will take some time to build strength and stamina. Be patient with yourself and your body. A little exercise a day can help a lot health wise, so take your time to build up your strength. Be patient and consistent and you will definitely see some results.