Regular exercise is crucial for leading an active, healthy, independent and happy life. When we think about exercise, the first thing that comes to our mind is going for a walk or the standing routines. However, for many elderly this could be a challenge for various reasons like limited mobility, arthritic pain, loss of balance or a recent surgery. Because of this, most of the seniors hesitate to exercise and even in those who start there is a poor compliance. But what if you could be active while still sitting? Chair exercises are a boon for seniors. Chair exercises prove to be vital in giving our body the much needed benefits and at the same time preventing any further injuries.
Now the next question arise, can you get fit from your seat? Yes, indeed, chair based exercises prove to be a great blessing for seniors especially for those with limited mobility, balance issues and joint issues. For an older adult, in a dilemma between preventing the pain and the pain due to exercise, chair exercises are the best solution. Believe it or not, chair exercises are a great way to incorporate low impact movement into your daily routine without any fear of falling or injuring the joints. Just because it is seated does not mean that you won’t sweat! They allow older adults who otherwise would not be able to exercise consistently to improve their strength, cardiovascular fitness, and mobility—without the high risk of injury present during traditional exercise routines. Seated exercises are gentler on the joints and will reduce pain, not add to it.
Benefit of chair exercises:
Chair exercise encompasses far more than just movements. Chair exercises offer all the benefits of standing routine without any risk. It improves the joint range of movement and increases flexibility, strengthens and stabilizes muscles, reduces joint pain and stiffness, improves heart and lung health, boosts your mood and lowers stress levels. Improving the muscle strength and joint flexibility would indirectly contribute to improved balance as well. Thus an overall improvement in health and fitness can be observed.
Improvement in balance, gait speed, grip strength and several other physical measurements has been documented in individuals who engaged in chair based exercise. These findings further prove that it is particularly important for those who are currently inactive, and as such, chair-based exercise can be promoted as a safe and progressive mode of activity for those who may be frail or deconditioned.
How are chair based exercises better than the standing routines?
- The major benefit of chair exercises is the reduced risk of falling.
- Chair exercises are equally challenging to the upper body and abdominal muscles compared to standing routine.
- Chair exercises minimizes load bearing on the joints and hence less pressure on the weak and painful joints.
- It increases the confidence in those unable to perform free standing exercises.
When to consider chair-based exercises?
Chair Based exercises are beneficial for those with
- Poor balance, and a higher risk of falling during exercise
- Joint pain that makes standing painful and difficult
- Limited range of motion or poor mobility
- Recovering from a surgery or an injury
- Beginning a routine and need to start slow and work up to standing exercises
What type of exercises can be done in sitting?
It is very important to incorporate the three types- cardiovascular, flexibility and strengthening exercises in your routine.
- Cardiovascular- Getting tired on walking for a distance? Panting while climbing a few stairs. This is a common experience by most of the elderly and the culprit is poor cardiovascular-pulmonary health. Chair aerobics can effectively increase your heart rate and endurance which makes your everyday routines easier.
- Strengthening- Unable to carry your grocery bag home? Unable to walk for longer distance? The reason could be weakened muscles. You can exercise using dumbbells, Thera bands, weighted cuffs or even isometric exercises in sitting for upper extremity and lower extremity can help you. Core strengthening exercises play a major role in keeping the back pain under control and also improve balance. These exercises can be comfortably done in sitting.
- Flexibility: Flexibility exercises help enhance your range of motion, prevent injury, and reduce pain and stiffness. These may include stretching exercises.
How to start Chair Exercises?
Ready to get started with seated exercise? All you need is a chair, a positive attitude and a strong desire to stay healthy!
Pick out a good chair. It should be a sturdy chair with a straight back . Don’t use the rolling chairs. A wooden chair is a good option.
Keeping your body agile remains a cornerstone in healthy and graceful ageing. Now that we know, there is a way to exercise keeping the pains, imbalance and limited mobility at bay, there is no real excuse to offer to miss exercising. Regular physical exercise is the key to staying fit even during old age. Chair exercises allow seniors to easily perform workout routines, despite their weakened physical strength.