Chair Exercise Routine

Exercising in a chair

Using a chair exercise routine can help you get fit. Many people can benefit from chair exercises, especially those who have been injured, are severely out of shape, and the elderly. Could a chair exercise program help you?

Chair Exercises

Chair exercises can tone muscles, improve cardiovascular fitness, and burn calories. Popular programs, such as Sit and Be Fit, are aimed at populations who may not be able to exercise in more traditional ways.

Who Can Benefit

Many people can benefit from a chair exercise routine, including:

  • Seniors
  • People with diabetes
  • People with physical disabilities
  • People with injuries that prevent other types of exercise
  • People with chronic cardiovascular disease and congestive heart failure
  • Office workers who sit all day and need to move a bit


Chair exercises have multiple benefits.

  • Improved strength and muscle tone
  • Improved range of motion
  • Better cardiovascular fitness and circulation
  • Better cognitive function
  • Potential to reduce pain
  • Better mood
  • Better sleep
  • Improved bone density

Chair Exercise Routine

There are a number of chair exercise videos, and your local gym or senior center may also offer chair exercise classes. If you'd like to try chair exercises on your own, then all you will need is a chair and some motivating music. Dress in clothing that keeps you cool and doesn't inhibit your range of motion. As you perform chair exercises, try to maintain rhythmic and continuous motion in order to elevate your heart rate. Gradually warm up by doing five minutes of low intensity activity before entering your full workout routine. Monitor your heart rate to make sure it doesn't get too high.

Leg Exercises

  1. Sit in a chair with your back straight. If possible, scoot forward on your seat so that you are not resting your back against the back of the chair. Put your feet together in front of you with the balls of your feet on the floor. Now tap your feet on the floor directly in front of you, and then, keeping your feet together, tap them to your right side. Tap your feet to the center again, and then tap them to your left side.
  2. Sit on the edge of the chair with your knees together. With a slow, controlled movement, straighten your knees until your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Now slowly lower them. Repeat 10 times. This works your quadriceps muscles.
  3. Sit up straight in your chair. Extend your legs in front of you so that they are straight with your heels touching the floor. Don't move your heels from their position, but pull back through the heels, tightening your hamstrings. Hold for ten seconds and release. Do this ten times to strengthen your hamstrings.
  4. Using light dumbbells or just the weight of your arms, pull your elbows to your side and hold your arms with your elbows at a 90 degree angle and your forearms parallel to the floor. Using your shoulder muscles, rotate your elbows to the side, like chicken wings until your arms are at the height of your shoulders and parallel to the floor. Carefully lower your arms by reversing the motion. Repeat ten times. This works your shoulders.
  5. Hold your arms out to your sides with your elbows bent at 90 degrees and your upper arms parallel to the floor. Your hands should be pointing towards the ceiling. Use your chest muscles to squeeze your elbows together in front of you and then slowly return to starting position. This works your chest muscles.
  6. Sit on the edge of your chair with your arms hanging off the side next to your body. You may hold dumbbells in your hands, if you wish. Shrug your shoulders, rotating your arms backwards. Shrug your shoulders and rotate them forward. Repeat ten times. This works your upper back.

These are just a few of the many chair exercises you can perform to stay fit. Talk with your doctor before undertaking an exercise program.

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Chair Exercise Routine