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The Benefits of Chair Exercises
In the busy world that we live in, it can be tough to find the time to exercise. If you are looking for some quick and easy exercises that can be done at work or home, then you’re in luck! This post is all about getting you moving from the comfort of your desk or lounge. Combined with the correct posture at your workspace, these exercises will go a long way to help prevent pains and injury.
To lose weight and be healthy, you don’t need a gym subscription and you don’t have to spend an hour or more working out every session. Brendan McCann, Exercise physiologist at Live Well Rehab Brisbane told us that exercise in small bursts has actually been proven to give the same results and it’s more maintainable for most of us, especially for anyone suffering from musculoskeletal disorders, or undergoing pulmonary or cardiac rehabilitation.
Brendan was also kind enough to provide us with his 10 favourite chair workouts. While aimed at burning calories and toning your body where you need it most, many of these exercises can be done as low impact exercise for anyone recovering from injury or undergoing injury rehabilitation. Many of these don’t even require you to get off your butt so you can do them while working at your desk, or even when watching TV! If you’re seeing a physical therapist, you may recognise some of these modified exercises from your exercise physiology program.
Jumping jacks are a popular exercise to get the heart pumping but the ‘seated jacks’ are a nice alternative and mean that you can stay sitting down.
– Sit up tall towards the end of your chair, with your knees bent and brought together in front of you. Your toes should be pointed and just touching the ground. You should also bend your arms and have them our at your sides with your palms facing forwards.
– Quickly open your legs out to the side, flexing your feet and putting your arms overhead like you would with a regular jumping jack. Return to the starting position and do 20 repetitions in a row (the quicker, the better!)
The sitting skater move will burn calories in addition to targeting your core, arms and inner thighs! This is definitely the exercise for you, especially if beach season is fast approaching.
– Again, you need to be sitting on the edge of your chair for this move.
– Bend your right knee out to the side and extend your left leg to the other side, straight with your toes pointed.
– Extend your arms and quickly move forward, as you do so – reach your left arm down to your right foot. As you do this, raise your right arm up behind you and twist your torso.
– Switch sides and repeat 20 times or so.
Hinge & Cross
This toning move focuses on your abs, I bet you never thought that you could get a six pack while watching your favourite TV show but you can by doing the hinge & cross regularly.
– Sit down towards the end of the chair with your knees bent and your toes pointed just touching the floor in front of you.
– Put your hands behind your head, engage your core and lean back on the chair.
– Bring your body forward and cross your right elbow to the outside of your left knee.
– Don’t forget to do this on both sides and for 25 reps each.
The Magic Carpet
This exercise tests your strength and is different to most chair workouts that you would find.
– Sit in the chair with your legs crossed and your hands on the armrests.
– Take a deep breath and raise yourself above the seat using your core and arms.
– Hold for 20 seconds before lowering. Rest and repeat a few more times.
Another great one for the abs and quite an easy move, once you get the hang of it.
– Sit up straight on the edge of your chair, placing your hands either side of you for support.
– engage your core and stretch out your legs while lifting your butt off the chair so your body straightens to plank position
– Hold for around 10 seconds before lowering. Rest and repeat a few more times.
Maybe you aren’t REALLY running with this chair workout, but it still gives your body a metabolism boost, burn calories and helps to tone.
– Sit down towards the end of your chair with your legs extended and your arms bent to your sides.
– Lean backwards until your shoulder blades touch the back of the chair.
– Lift your legs slightly and bring your right knee into your chest, turning your left shoulder in towards that knee and pulling your right elbow back.
– Repeat around 30 times, ensuring that you alternate sides.
This movement burns calories and also helps to give the abs and obliques definition over time.
– Sit up straight on the edge of your chair, placing your feet on the floor shoulder width apart and your arms out to the side, parallel to the ground.
– Move your arms and body to the left side in a gentle twist movement, before doing the same on the other side for around 20 reps each.
If you suffer with the dreaded love handles and could rather do with out them, these oblique twists are perfect for banishing them once and for all.
– Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet hip width apart and your hands behind your head.
– Ensure that your back stays straight, use your core to lower your right elbow towards your right hip.
– Return your body to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
Working on your lower body is also important and this exercise does just that. It is also good as a general stretching exercise which is important if you are on a chair for a large portion of the day.
– Sit on the edge of your chair with a straight back.
– Flex your core and bring your legs towards your chest, as you lean back slightly. Your body should pretty much be making a “V” shape.
– Take your current position a step further, by pulling your knees in towards your chest and holding.
Buns and Guns
Although just a small exercise, this will tone your inner thighs in addition to your triceps and glutes.
– Sit on the edge of your chair, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your hands should be rested on the chair, just outside your shoulders with your elbows slightly bent.
– Squeeze your knees and your butt together, push down with your hands and extend your elbows.
– Release and do 30 super fast reps of this move for the best results.
Big thanks goes to Brendan for sharing his exercise knowledge with the Ideas for Good team . If you need an exercise physiologist in Brisbane pop in and see him and his wonderful team, or follow Live Well Rehab on Facebook for more health tips!