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Well Spring has arrived and for many of us that means the resolution of ‘must get fit and healthy’ but, for some, it’s not possible to go out pounding the pavements or joining a gym. For those who need more gentle exercise, I have put together some chair-based exercises to help you increase your movement with lower impact.
First things first, before you start: here are a few rules of chair-based exercise
Stretching (flexibility) exercises help prevent joint and muscle stiffness and keep your body supple. Stretching helps loosen you up and produces a sense of wellbeing and gusto for the day’s events. When done at the end of a day, you should feel relaxed and less stressed.
In a seated position, straighten your back, extend your neck muscles and move your head in large circles – first clockwise for two rotations then anticlockwise for two rotations. Bring your head back to the middle and then repeat until you have completed 5 sets in each direction (10 rotations in each direction).
In the seated position with your bottom firmly in the back of the chair seat and with your back straight, raise both arms above your head. Bring your chin to your chest, lift your head back to a straight position and bend backwards from the chest over the top of the chair’s back area - taking your arms with you. Repeat 10 times.
In a seated position, hold your arms out to the side, bend elbows slightly and rotate your shoulders. Repeat five times with forward rotation and five times in reverse.
In a seated position, lift your arms to chest height and hold them slightly bent and shake your hands (like you’re are shaking water off your hands to dry them) five times. Then rotate from your waist to the left and shake your hands again – centre your body and shake again – rotate to the right and shake again. Repeat 5 times.
In a seated position, bend backwards arching your back over the top of the chair (expanding from your chest). For a bigger stretch, hang your arms by your side and stretch - trying to put your shoulder blades together. Then straighten out and slowly bend forwards towards the floor, trying to touch the floor with your finger tips. Repeat 5 times.
In a seated position – hands on your knees feet on the floor. Lift your legs out in front and then use your calf muscles to pull your toes towards you. Count to 10 then release. Repeat 10 times. If you get tired you can lower your feet to the floor, rest and start again.
Stand facing a table/chair back with both hands holding its edge ensuring there is approximately 12 inches between the table/chair and your body. Drop your chin to your chest then slowly bend your knees (go as far as is comfortable for you) keeping your back straight. Now straighten back up and continue the motion past the starting point stretching backwards – for an extra stretch rise up onto your toes (and tense your bottom muscles!). Repeat 5 times.
Start in the same position as exercise 7, lift your right arm out to should height and twist your upper body from the waist keeping your eyes focused on the fingertips of your right hand. Hold for the count of 5 and then return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise on the opposite side. Repeat on each 5 times.