Seated Exercises For People With Limited Mobility
Last month, I shared with you 4 easy chair exercises that you can do at home. To complete that series, I want to share with you 4 exercises that are completely seated.
We understand that some of you have restricted mobility due to previous injuries, fractures, soreness, osteoarthritis, or other complications. For those of you who commented on our previous post, asking for exercises that were fully seated, this one’s for you!
I don’t want to bore you again with all the benefits of exercise for osteoporosis and bone health – they’re available here incase you want to go over all the information again.
But in case you missed it here’s a summary of the benefits of exercise:
- Minimise bone loss and possible reduce the risk of broken bones
- Increase muscle strength
- Improve balance
- Improve your sense of wellbeing
- Improve cognitive (brain) function
- Make you better able to carry out daily tasks and activities
- Maintain or improve posture
- Relieve or decrease pain associated with other conditions such as osteoarthritis
- Reduce risk of falls
- Reduce risk of many medical conditions
Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
Even when you are unable to hit the gym or get involved in higher impact exercises, it’s still possible to move your body and stretch out that spine.
Now I do want to remind you that before starting any new exercise it’s important not to rush into them too quickly. Start the movements slowly and safely to become familiar with them.
Also, exercise must be done regularly to reap the benefits mentioned above. The general recommendation is around 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
Here are 4 easy seated exercises!
1. Sunshine Arm Circles
This exercise focuses on the torso and shoulders while opening up the ribcage.
- While sitting in a chair with good posture, hold a ball in both hands with arms extended above your head or a bit in front of you. Keep your elbows just a little bent.
- Pretend their is a clock in front of you and make a full circle with the ball.
- Then circle the ball back around to the same position. These should be slow, fluid and controlled motions.
- Keep alternating circle directions for 8 repetitions. Rest.
- Do another set of 8 repetitions.
Note: You don’t need to have a ball for this, you can use your imagination! If it is difficult to bring your arms overhead, extend them out in front of you. Then move arms as if drawing a circle on the wall with or without the ball. Once you are familiar with the motion and have done it many times, you can increase the weight of the ball!
2. Tummy Twists
This exercises is for the sides of the waist and stretching your back.
- Just like the arm circles, start seated in a chair with good posture. Hold the ball (or imaginary one) with both hands close to the body, with elbows bent and pulled in close to your body.
- Rotate your torso to the right as far as you can in a slow comfortable motion. Keep the rest of your body still and stable.
- Rotate back to the center and repeat in the opposite direction. This should be a slow and controlled movement.
- Do this 8 times, with two twists counting as a full set. Rest.
- Do another 8 sets (two twists each).
Note: Again, a ball is not required for this exercise. You can either imagine one or hold a small object such as a water bottle or a can of soup for some resistance.
3. Hand Squeeze
This one focuses on grip strength and your chest which are needed for daily activities.
- Sitting down with good posture, hold a ball with both hands in front of your body.
- Squeeze the ball to activate the finger joints, then without hurrying, press the ball with both hands, as if trying to deflate the ball.
- Hold for 4 seconds and slowly release.
- Repeat the exercise 8 times, rest, then do another set of 8 repetitions.
4. Shin Strengtheners
As the name of the exercise describes, this one targets the shins! And also the lower legs.
- For the shin strengtheners you want to be sitting on the edge of a chair, with your legs extended in front of you.
- Keep yours knees slightly bent and place your heels on the floor, toes pointed upward.
- Point the toes downward, then flex them upward.
- Do 10 to 15 sets of pointing and flexing. Rest.
- Do another set of 10 to 15 repetitions.
- Sitting in the same position as above, flex the toes and place the ball on top of your shoelaces.
- Try to hold the ball with flexed toes in that position for about 10 seconds, or as long as you can.
- Repeat 1 to 2 times, resting for a few seconds between each exertion.
I hope you keep these exercises in the back of your mind for all the times you are sitting down. Comment below if you do these at home already and if you would like some more recommendations!
- Hadgraft NT, Lynch BM, Clark BK, Healy GN, Owen N, Dunstan DW. Excessive sitting at work and at home: Correlates of occupational sitting and TV viewing time in working adults. BMC Public Health. 2015;15:899. doi:10.1186/s12889-015-2243-y.
- Gába A, Cuberek R, Svoboda Z, et al. The effect of brisk walking on postural stability, bone mineral density, body weight and composition in women over 50 years with a sedentary occupation: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Women’s Health. 2016;16:63. doi:10.1186/s12905-016-0343-1.