Are you sitting down? If you are you are ready for some toning, stretching, and strengthening exercises you can do from the comfort of your favorite chair. Pay attention to your body during the movements — if anything hurts or causes pain, stop immediately. And check with your doctor first before beginning this, or any, exercise program.
1. Posture Check: Simply sitting up straight in a chair with good posture tones a variety of muscles in your torso. Turn straight posture into an exercise by pressing your knees together to engage your inner thighs, squeezing your buttocks, sitting tall, and pulling in your belly button (abdominals) toward your spine. It’s important to press your shoulders back and down and to keep your neck neutral, while doing this exercise. Try to maintain this posture as long as you can while sitting.
2. Sitting Jack: You can do modified sitting jumping jacks by sitting on the edge of your chair. Open and close your arms and legs as you would during a normal jumping jack, and move your limbs, as quickly as you can, in and out. Start slowly and work up to 3 sets of 20 reps.
3. Twisty Abs: Strong abdominal muscles help stabilize your torso, which reduces aches and pains in your lower back and hips. To strengthen yours begin by sitting tall on the edge of your chair and cross your arms over your chest. Inhale and squeeze (flex) your abdominal muscles lightly. Without relaxing your stomach muscles, exhale slowly, squeezing your abs in tighter and turning your upper body to the right. Inhale and twist back to center. Then repeat to the left. Work up to 3 sets of 20 alternating reps.
4. Leg Lifts: To strengthen the thigh and hip muscles, you need only extend your leg. Sit on the edge of your chair with your arms by your sides. Extend your right leg out straight and flex your foot so that just the right heel is on the floor. Lift your leg up as high as you can without rounding your back. Keeping your foot flexed engages the muscles in the shins and ankle. Hold for three counts and then lower. Work up to 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg.
5. Seated Press-Ups: Engage your shoulder and triceps muscles with this joint-friendly move. Sit on the edge of your chair with your arms by your sides, palms over the edge of your seat. Press down with your arms as if you were going to try to lift yourself off the chair (you don’t have to lift up). Hold for three counts and then release. Work up to 3 sets of 10 reps.
6. Arm Circles: Increase flexibility and improve posture with gentle arm circles. Raise your arms straight out to your sides and press your shoulder blades together. Extend arms with palms down, thumbs facing forward, and do 20 forward circles with your arms. Then flip your palms up, thumbs facing behind you, and do 20 backward circles with your arms.
7. Ankle Rotators: While seated all the way back in your chair lift one leg off the floor a couple of inches and rotate you ankle clockwise for 20 seconds. You should be making a circle in the air with the movement of your ankle. Then rotate the same ankle counterclockwise for 20 seconds as well. Repeat the clockwise and counterclockwise movement with the other ankle.