Today I am covering five chair-based exercises to work on strength, flexibility and mobility. You can practice these when working at your desk or between television breaks. They are also a good option for anyone with a limited ability to get outside to exercise. You may choose to follow my workout exactly as it is, or practice a couple of the exercises and return to them when you feel your body needs a little movement. Have fun!
Louise Baillie S.A.C. Dip (Diet, Exercise & Fitness), Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology Level 3 @ActiveLouise Ask Louise
29 May 2020
Before you get stuck into my 5 chair-based exercises, it's a good idea to get your body warmed up.
So, begin by sitting up straight with your hands by your side. Imagine there is a pole behind your back and you must align your spine with that. When your posture is correct, lower your chin to your chest, hold, and then lift your gaze to the sky. Do this slowly and repeat three times.
Next, turn your head to look over your right shoulder, hold, then do the same on the left. Again, repeat this three times.
Facing forwards again, begin to draw circles with your nose in a clockwise direction, gradually allowing the circle to get bigger and then bring the size of the circle back down again.
Next, stretch your arms out to the side, raise them up above your head and then clasp your hands together. Hold this for a few seconds and stretch as tall as you can. Return your arms to your sides.
For your last warm-up stretch, straighten your legs out in front and lift them as high as possible off the ground. Point your toes upwards and hold. Next, begin to draw big circles with your toes. Start clockwise and then anti-clockwise for 15 circles each.
Begin exercise one by placing your arms out in front, with your palms facing down. Shuffle forwards so that your back isn't resting against your chair and your feet are flat on the ground.
Now, lift yourself out of the chair whilst still keeping your hands out in front – don't be tempted to use the chair for support. Do this 10 times, rest, and then repeat for another 10. If you can do more then that's great!
For this next one, you will need to find a homemade weight. Any kind of tinned food will work very well, or maybe a book or a bottle of water.
Lift your legs out in front (like we did in the warm-up) with your toes pointing towards the sky. You should feel a nice stretch at the back of your calves. With a weight in both hands, stretch your arms out in front with palms facing upwards. Bring the weights to your shoulders, then back down again. Do this movement 15 times, rest for 10 seconds, and then do it another 15 times. Over time you may be able to do more, but this is a good starting point.
Want a better night's sleep? Get your FREE 6-day personalised sleep programme now
Simply answer 2 quick questions to receive personalised sleep tips straight to your email inbox.
Next, you are going to do a kind of march on the spot, but in your chair! Practice by bringing your right knee up as high as it will go, lower, and then bring your left knee up. Repeat this until you have a steady rhythm.
The next step is to bring in some arm movements. So, when you lift your left leg, swing your right arm forward like you would whilst speed walking. When you lift your right knee, your left arm should swing forward. Clench your fists and try to get some power into the swing in your arm. You should quickly be able to establish a rhythm. A tip is to count every time your toes hit the ground. Keep this up for 30 seconds, rest, and then repeat again.
I call this one the windmill!
Put one arm up to the sky, fists clenched, and the other down to the ground. You may need to sit on the edge of your seat to do this.
You are then going to lower the arm that's up in the sky, whilst raising the other up. When you lower your arm, I would like you to lean to that side. So, if you are lowering your left arm and raising the right, lean to the left as you make the movement. Repeat these movements for 30 seconds, rest, and then continue for another 30 seconds.
My Self-Care Tip: Get moving with chair-based exercises
If you find yourself sitting for long periods, get your body moving with chair-based exercises.
Nearly there! This last one is great for letting out some pent-up frustrations!
All we're going to do is clench our hands, and hold them up as though we're about to hit a punching bag. For 30 seconds we are going to throw some punches into the air!
Alternate between right and left punches. You can aim some for the sky, or dip you hand and throw some under arm too!
You've made it – chair workout complete! Now for a few cool-down movements.
Start by giving your body a good shake out. Kick your legs and flap your arms for a few seconds. Who cares if it looks a bit silly?
Next, stretch your arms above your head and clasp your hands together. Hold, then lean to the right as much as you can. Return to centre, hold, then lean to your left. Repeat this one more time.
Put your arms out to the sides so they are in line with your shoulders and then start drawing small circles. Gradually allow them to get bigger then bring the size of your circles back down again until your arms are just sitting out to your sides.
Bring your shoulders up to your ears, hold, and then lower slowly. Repeat this five times.
Finally, take a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth and you're all done!