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I took a class with Cheryl Sonstein, an occupational therapist, of the Wellness Center of Glens Falls Hospital. She came to the SAIL Center a while ago to show us how to stay fit with chair exercises. She said, “Staying fit is important for good health and well-being. It doesn’t really take much effort to remain fit. In fact, you don’t even have to get out of your chair!”

Chair exercises are slow movements, such as rolling your shoulders or stretching your hands above your head. They might sound simple, but don’t underestimate their physical and mental benefits. Some of the benefits are improved vitality, range of motion, pain relief, and mind improvement. This is especially true among those who are older. Please remember to consult your physician before starting any exercise program and make sure your doctor gives the OK on each exercise. Sonstein said that some, for example, are not good for people with problems or hip replacements. Below are some of the chair exercises I learned how to do. You can do them in the comfort of your living room.

1. Start by pulling up a chair, sitting down, and taking 3 deep breaths. Now, with a bent elbow, lift one hand over your head; hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with the opposite hand.

2. Relax your shoulders. With arms stretched straight out, move arms in circles – 10 times forwards, then 10 times backward.

3. Make sure your shoulders are still relaxed. Place your hands on your shoulders and roll them forward 10 times, then backwards 10 times.

4. Keeping your shoulders relaxed, and your hands on your shoulders, touch your elbows together 10 times.

5. Place both hands above your head, lean to the right and hold for 10 seconds. Then lean to the left and hold for 10 seconds. You can do the reps more than once. Gradually increase them up to 10, as your body feels more comfortable.

6. Now for the lower body. Move your hand down your leg toward your foot, and back up again – as if putting on socks. Repeat 10 times. Switch to opposite leg.

7. Place your hands on your thighs, keep your back straight and lean forward and back 10 times.

8. Stamp those feet. With your feet above the floor, wiggle those toes and don’t forget both feet.

9. Now let’s exercise those feet and leg muscles. Place your feet flat on the floor. Then point your toes up toward the ceiling. Repeat 10 times. Now lift up your knees 1 at a time. Repeat 10 times. Repeat with the opposite foot.

10. Don’t stop at your knee, touch hand to opposite toe. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with opposite hand. You may increase these repetitions up to 10 times as well.

11. Wiggle your fingers, with arms stretched out straight, as if playing the piano. Also, use your hands to trace the letters of the alphabet in the air. Silently scream! Open your mouth wide, as if to yell, but don’t make any sound. Try saying the vowels out loud – AEIOU.

12. Cool down by taking 3 deep breaths.

Hopefully by reading this you can become more motivated to get moving and get fit. You don’t need a fancy gym membership or even an exercise video. All you need is will power and a chair. Good Luck!

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