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Exercising in a chair is a great way to stay active if you have restrictions.
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Growing older is a great time to stay active, as exercise will help to keep energy levels up, manage pain and increase flexibility and posture. If an illness, disability or lack of mobility prevents you from continuing or even starting an exercise routine, there are exercises that can be done sitting in a chair that still count as exercise and give these same benefits.
Working Your Calves
Stretch your calves to avoid lower leg cramping by extending your leg from your knee, flexing your ankle. Point the toes towards the knee and you will feel the calf muscle stretching and elongating. Hold it there for about 20 seconds and repeat two to three times on each leg.
Aiding Your Legs
Exercising the front of your leg -- your quadriceps -- can stabilize your knee joint and strengthen the muscles that aid in getting up from a chair and even walking or climbing stairs. Straighten your leg, extending it forward and tighten your knee cap, as if you are pushing on a gas pedal. Release and repeat, completing one repetition. Perform 12 repetitions, two to three times, on each leg.
Back and Hams
To stretch your lower back and the back of your leg -- your hamstrings -- circle your ankle, while simultaneously bringing your knee to your chest. Repeat up to eight times, with each knee. Having mobility and flexibility in the back of your leg and your lower back both work together to prevent low back pain.
Keeping Your Spine in Line
Stabilize your spine by reaching up with your right arm while simultaneously reaching down with your left arm, stretching in both directions. Hold for at least 20 seconds and repeat with your left arm up and your right arm down. Complete two to three times on each side.
Sit and Row
Strengthen your upper back and the arms and shoulders by performing a seated row exercise. Sit on the edge of your chair and hold your arms out in front of you with your thumbs toward the ceiling and your elbows bent. Bring both elbows back as far as possible while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Release and perform eight to 10 repetitions of two to three sets. This can be done with or without light dumbbells.
Press the Chest
To strengthen your chest, arm and shoulder muscles, hold a light dumbbell in each hand, beginning with your arms in a 90-degree angle, meaning forearms in front of you, with your elbows bent and in line with your shoulders. Next, hold the dumbbells out by straightening your elbows, bringing the dumbbells in towards each other. Bring them back towards you, separating the dumbbells again and bending your elbows to begin your next repetition. Eight to 10 repetitions of two to three sets is ideal.
How it Helps
Regular exercise has been known to prevent the onset of specific diseases and even aging. According to the National Institute of Health for senior health, studies show that people with arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes can still benefit from regular exercise. Exercise also helps people with high blood pressure, balance problems, or difficulty walking. Combining stretching and light weight training provide these benefits and also work to get your heart rate up, which is an additional form of physical activity.