Chair Exercises Can Help You Burn Calories
One of the common concerns people have when it comes to weight loss is how many calories they are burning. Fortunately, chair exercises are an excellent way to burn calories while making the most of your limited mobility.
Depending on the type of exercise you choose, the intensity level, and your body weight, you can burn anywhere from 4 to 10 calories per minute which you might be surprised to know is almost equal to the strength exercises performed by standing people.
These exercises can be as simple as leg lifts or as complex as resistance training with weights, bands, or dumbbells.
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Chair Workouts Can Help You Tone Your Muscles
Chair exercises can not only help you lose weight but also build muscle tone. Doing exercises while seated can target your glutes, abs, hamstrings, and more. Toning your muscles this way can help you burn calories faster by increasing your metabolic rate and encouraging your body to continue burning fat even when you’re not exercising.
Chair squats, leg extensions, dumbbell curls, leg lifts, and resistance training are all great examples of exercises that can tone your muscles while seated.
Chair Yoga Can Help You Relax and Lose Weight
Chair yoga is becoming popular due to its effectiveness in reducing stress and increasing overall health. While it’s not as intense as other types of exercise, chair yoga can still help you lose weight by increasing flexibility, reducing stress, and improving your posture and balance.
Additionally, chair yoga poses are low impact, which makes them perfect for people with mobility issues or who are recovering from an injury.
Chair Exercises Can Be Done at Home
Home workouts are becoming more popular, especially when it comes to exercising while seated. You don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment to perform chair exercises.
All you need is a sturdy chair with a supportive backrest, some weights or resistance bands for strength training, and some comfortable clothing. You can find numerous chair workout videos on YouTube, purchase online workout programs, or hire a personal trainer to customize a program based on your needs.
Chair Exercises are Effective and Convenient
Many people who have tried chair exercises can attest to their effectiveness. Not only do they help you lose weight and tone your muscles, but they also have the added benefit of being convenient. You can do them while watching TV, reading a book, or even working in the office.
You can take short breaks throughout the day to do a few exercises, or you can do a more structured routine at your leisure.
Our goal for this article is to answer these questions:
Do chair exercises really work?
What is the best chair exercise?
How can I flatten my stomach sitting in a chair?
How do you exercise sitting in a chair?
Can you lose weight from chair exercise?
How Effective are Chair Exercises
Exercising from the convenience of your work or home has numerous benefits.
- Improved Flexibility and Mobility
- Cardiovascular Fitness
- Strength Training
- Mental Health Benefits
One of the most significant benefits of chair exercises is increased flexibility and mobility. The workouts engage your joints, muscles, and tissues, thereby reducing stiffness, and pain and promoting better posture. Exercises like chair yoga, stretching, and Pilates focus on physical balance, breath control, and body awareness.
These exercises will help seniors and people with disabilities or chronic pain to move freely while reducing the risk of injury. Indeed, flexibility and mobility exercises are valuable tools for promoting independent living, improved quality of life, and functionality.
Regular exercise is essential to maintain good cardiovascular health. Alongside brisk walking, jogging, or cycling, chair exercises can also help boost cardiovascular fitness.
Exercises like chair marching, chair jumps, and chair boxing increase heart rate, strengthen the heart muscle and improve blood circulation. With proper monitoring and guidance, chair exercises can help reduce cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Chair exercises also provide an excellent opportunity for strength training. Resistance exercises such as chair squats, leg extensions, and bicep curls challenge your muscles, develop core stability, and enhance overall strength.
By combining resistance training with cardio and flexibility workouts, chair exercises can help prevent muscle loss, enhance bone density, and reduce the risk of falls.
Chair exercises are not only beneficial for physical health but also for mental health. Among the many benefits of exercise for mental health, chair exercises can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
As you engage in physical activity, your brain releases feel-good chemicals like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, which boost your mood and outlook on life. Chair exercises have also been proven to improve cognitive function and memory in older adults.
Chair exercises are convenient, cost-effective, and easy to adapt to any fitness level or ability. You can perform them from the comfort of your home, office, or anywhere with a chair. Furthermore, if you have mobility or balance issues, chair exercises are an excellent option to help you stay active, healthy, and mobile.
Do Chair Exercises Actually Help You Lose Weight?
One study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that a 12-week chair-based exercise program resulted in significant improvements in body composition and physical fitness among older adults.
Another study from the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation showed that chair exercises can be an effective way to reduce body fat in obese individuals. However, it’s important to note that chair exercises alone are unlikely to produce massive weight loss results.
To see significant changes in your body composition, you’ll need to combine chair exercises with other healthy habits, such as a balanced diet and regular cardiovascular exercise.
Ultimately, the effectiveness of chair exercises for weight loss depends on your individual goals and overall lifestyle habits. If you are looking to shed a significant amount of weight, you’ll likely need to combine chair exercises with other forms of exercise and a healthy diet.
However, if you are simply looking to maintain your weight, increase your physical function, and stay active throughout the day, chair exercises can be a great option.
Chair exercises can indeed be an effective tool for weight loss and overall physical fitness. While they may not produce massive weight loss results on their own, they can certainly help improve your body composition and keep you feeling strong and active.
Additionally, since they can be done virtually anywhere and are accessible to a wide range of physical abilities, chair exercises are a great way to fit in some movement throughout the day.
Best Exercises You Can Do at Work
- Leg Raises
- Seated Twists
- Shoulder Shrugs
- Chair Squats
What are Chair Squats
Chair squats, also known as seated squats, are exercise variations of the traditional squats that are performed while sitting on a chair or bench. Unlike traditional squats, where you stand, chair squats are suitable for people who may have balance issues or mobility limitations.
They are an effective way to target and strengthen the muscles of your legs, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Chair squats are also an excellent exercise for toning your core and promoting good posture.
Benefits of Chair Squats
There are several benefits to doing chair squats. First, they can help improve your lower body strength and stability, which are essential for balance and everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, and bending down.
Secondly, chair squats can help you burn calories and lose weight, making them an ideal exercise for people looking to shed a few pounds.
And third, chair squats can also enhance your flexibility and range of motion, improving your overall athletic performance.
Chair squats are a low-impact exercise, which means they put minimal pressure on your joints, making them a safe exercise for people with joint problems.
How to Perform Chair Squats
Chair squats are a simple exercise that can be performed anywhere. Follow these steps for safe and effective chair squats:
- Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair or bench, with your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart.
- Keep your back straight and engage your core muscles.
- Slowly stand up, making sure to keep your weight on your heels and not your toes.
- Pause for a second at the top of the movement before lowering back down to the chair.
- Repeat for desired repetitions or time.
Tips for Chair Squats
To get the most benefit from chair squats, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Make sure the chair or bench is sturdy and can support your weight.
Keep your knees in line with your toes throughout the movement.
Avoid locking your knees or jarring your joints when returning to the chair.
Breathe in on the way down, and breathe out on the way up.
Gradually increase the number of repetitions or time as you get stronger.
Benefits of Shoulder Shrugs
Shoulder shrugs are one of the best exercises to strengthen the trapezius muscle, which supports the neck, shoulder joint, and upper back.
Here are some benefits of incorporating shoulder shrugs into your routine.
As your trapezius muscles become stronger and more defined, your posture improves as well.
Reduced Risk of Injuries: Strengthening your trapezius muscles through shoulder shrugs can help reduce the risk of neck and shoulder pain, as well as rotator cuff tears and other injuries.
Improved Performance in Other Exercises
Strong trapezius muscles can enhance your performance during chest presses, pull-ups, and other upper-body exercises.
Technique for Shoulder Shrugs
Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your arms by your sides.
Keeping your arms straight, slowly raise your shoulders towards your ears.
Hold this position for 1-2 seconds and then slowly lower your shoulders back to the starting position.
Repeat for 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Tips for Better Form
Keep your shoulders relaxed while performing shoulder shrugs.
Don’t use momentum to lift your shoulders, use controlled movements instead.
Engage your core to maintain good posture.
Variations of Shoulder Shrugs
Hold a dumbbell in each hand while performing shoulder shrugs to add resistance to the exercise.
Stand in front of a cable machine and use a rope attachment to perform shrugs while pulling up the cable.
Stand with your knees slightly bent, and hold a barbell with a shoulder-width grip in front of your thighs. Perform shrugs by lifting the barbell while keeping your arms straight.
Seated twists are a simple exercise that can help you improve your core and back strength. This exercise is beneficial in many ways, such as increasing flexibility, toning the abdominal muscles, reducing back pain, improving digestion, and boosting overall health.
Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or someone who wants to stay active and healthy, seated twists are the perfect exercise to include in your daily routine. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of seated twists, how to perform the exercise correctly, and some variations to try out.
Benefits of Seated Twists
Seated twists are a low-impact exercise that targets the abdominal muscles, obliques, lower back, and hips. They help to improve the body’s range of motion and flexibility. Seated twists also help to massage the abdominal organs and improve digestion, which can reduce bloating and improve metabolism.
This exercise is especially helpful for people who spend most of their day sitting, as it helps to strengthen the back muscles and improve posture.
How to Perform Seated Twists
To perform seated twists, sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your left knee and place your left foot outside your right knee. Place your right arm behind you, keeping it straight, and place your left hand on your left knee. Now, twist your torso gently to the left, looking back over your left shoulder. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat on the right side.
Variations of Seated Twists
There are many variations of seated twists that you can try out to keep your exercise routine interesting. For example, you can try out the eagle twist, where you cross your arms in front of you and link your hands, then twist to one side and then the other. You can also try the seated spinal twist, where you sit cross-legged and twist your upper body from side to side, using your hands to help you turn.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
When performing seated twists, it’s important to maintain good form to avoid any strain or injury. One common mistake people make is hunching their shoulders forward, which can cause strain on the neck and shoulders.
Another mistake is twisting too far and too quickly, which can cause strain on the lower back. To avoid these mistakes, keep your shoulders down and your back straight, and twist gently and slowly.
Leg Raises for Your Core Strength
Leg raises are an excellent exercise for targeting the lower abs, which are often overlooked in other core workouts. When you lift your legs off the ground, you engage your lower abs, which helps to tone and strengthen them.
Strong lower abs can help flatten your stomach and improve your posture.
The hip flexors are essential muscles that allow you to move your legs. They are often neglected in traditional core workouts, leading to tightness and discomfort. Leg raises target the hip flexors, which can help improve your range of motion and reduce the risk of injury.
Strong hip flexors can also help improve your posture and balance.
The oblique muscles are located on the sides of your abdomen and are responsible for turning your torso. Leg raises work on your oblique muscles by forcing them to stabilize your pelvis as you lift your legs. This will help tone your sides and create a slimmer waistline.
Leg raises require a lot of balance and stability, making them an excellent workout for improving your overall balance. As you lift your legs off the ground, your core has to work hard to keep your body stable. This can help improve your overall stability and balance, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.
How to Perform Leg Raises
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Lift your legs off the ground and raise them towards the ceiling. As you lift your legs, make sure to keep your lower back pressed against the ground. Pause when your legs are at a 90-degree angle to the ground and then slowly lower them back down. Repeat for several sets.
Sitting Exercises for Seniors
As we age, our bodies become less flexible and it becomes difficult to engage in physical activities like we did when we were younger. However, inactivity can exacerbate many age-related health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
It’s important to get moving, even if it means doing exercises while sitting down. Here are some simple and effective sitting exercises that seniors can do to improve their flexibility, balance, and strength.
If you are looking for low-impact exercises that you can do while sitting comfortably, you have come to the right place. These exercises focus on improving the flexibility, balance, and endurance of older adults, all while keeping them safe and comfortable.
Simple and Effective Sitting Exercises for Seniors
Ankle rotations are an easy way to improve ankle mobility and strengthen the lower legs, which can improve balance. Simply sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground and slowly rotate your ankles in a clockwise direction. After 10 repetitions, rotate your ankle in an anticlockwise direction. Repeat this cycle 5-10 times.
Leg extensions are a great way to strengthen the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thighs and improve knee stability. To perform this exercise, sit on a chair with your legs bent and feet flat on the ground. Slowly extend your leg until it is straight and hold it for 2-5 seconds. Then, bend it slowly and return your foot to the floor. Repeat this movement with the other leg and do a total of 10-15 repetitions.
Shoulder rolls are a gentle way to improve mobility in the shoulders and upper back, which is important for proper posture and arm movements. You can perform this exercise while sitting or standing. Roll your shoulders slowly in a clockwise direction for 10 rotations, then switch to an anticlockwise direction for another 10 rotations.
Thigh squeezes work the inner thigh muscles and helps to improve hip stability. Simply sit on a chair with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place a small ball or pillow between your knees and gently squeeze it for 5 seconds. Then, release and repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
Bicep curls are an effective way to strengthen the biceps muscles in the upper arm. You can use a pair of light hand weights or a full can of soup as a substitute. Sit on a chair with your arms straight at your sides and palms facing forward. Slowly bring your palms towards your shoulders keeping your arms close to your body. Then, lower your arms slowly and repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
Seated Leg Raises
Sit in a sturdy chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the ground. Slowly lift one leg off the ground, straightening it out in front of you. Hold for a second, then lower it back down. Repeat 10-15 times, then switch to the other leg. This exercise strengthens the quadriceps and improves balance.
Yoga is an excellent way to improve strength, flexibility, and balance. Chair yoga is a modified version of traditional yoga that can be done while sitting down. There are several chair yoga routines available online that you can try out, such as the sun salutation or the seated twist. These routines involve gentle stretches and breathing exercises that are great for seniors’ overall health.
This exercise is as simple as it sounds. While sitting in a chair, lift your feet off the ground and march in place. This exercise can be done with or without resistance bands around the ankles, which add extra resistance and improve strength. March for 1-2 minutes, rest for 30 seconds and repeat for 3-4 sets.
Seated Hip Stretch
This exercise helps improve flexibility and mobility in the hip joint. Sit in a chair with your back straight, and place your left ankle on your right knee. Gently press down on your left knee with your hand until you feel a stretch in your hip. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then switch sides.
Sitting Down Exercises with Resistance Bands
What are resistance bands?
Resistance bands, also known as exercise bands or stretch bands, are elastic bands used to provide resistance to the muscles during exercise. They come in different shapes, sizes, thicknesses, and resistance levels, making them versatile and suitable for a wide range of exercises. Some bands have handles while others don’t, and some can be looped around the legs or arms.
Choosing the right resistance band depends on your fitness level, goals, and the exercise you want to perform. Generally, resistance bands are classified into light, medium, heavy, and extra-heavy resistance levels. Beginners should start with light or medium bands and gradually progress up to heavier bands.
If you are unsure which band to choose, consult a fitness professional or refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
How to use Resistance Bands in Exercising
Resistance bands can be used in various ways to target different muscle groups.
Resistance bands offer many benefits, including:
- Low impact
Resistance Band Arm Curls
Arm curls are a simple yet effective exercise to build stronger biceps, and resistance bands can help maximize the workout. Sit in an upright position with your feet flat on the floor, and loop the resistance band under the chair. Hold the band handles and curl your forearms towards your chest. Repeat the motion for 10-12 reps for each hand and gradually add more reps and resistance to increase difficulty.
Resistance Band Leg Press
This exercise strengthens your leg muscles and improves your posture. Hook the band on the leg of the chair, position your foot on the other end of the band, and push against the resistance band like you would on a leg press machine. Keep each foot on opposite ends of the band and repeat 10-12 reps on each leg. To add more resistance and variation, adjust the band’s height or perform variations of the leg press exercise.
Resistance Band Chest Press
The chest press strengthens the chest muscles, shoulders, and triceps. Loop the resistance band behind your back and hold the band handles with both hands. Extend your arms straight out, squeezing your chest muscles, and bring it back to your chest. Repeat the motion 10-12 reps. Be sure to keep your back straight and engage your core throughout the exercise.
Resistance Band Shoulder Press
The shoulder press strengthens the shoulders, back, core, and arms. Sit in an upright position with your feet flat on the floor, hold the band firmly with both hands, and position it behind your back like you’d do for the chest press. Bring your hands up to the level of your shoulders, then extend both arms straight overhead, squeezing the shoulder blades together. Repeat the motion 10-12 reps, gradually increase the resistance for more intense workouts.
Resistance Band Crunches
Crunches strengthen the upper and lower abs. Anchor the resistance band on the leg of your chair, and loop it around each foot. Lie down on your back on the chair, with your feet on the ground, lift your head and shoulders off the chair while crunching forward. Remember to exhale as you lift your shoulders and inhale on the way down. Repeat the motion for 10-12 reps.
Sitting Stretches for Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives. Whether it’s from a sedentary lifestyle or an acute injury, it can be incredibly debilitating and impact daily activities. Traditional treatment for lower back pain often involves medication, physical therapy, and rest.
Did you know that stretching can also help alleviate lower back pain?
Benefits of incorporating sitting stretches into your daily routine to ease lower back pain.
This stretch targets the lower back and glutes. Start by sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Slowly bring one knee up towards your chest, keeping the other leg straight on the ground. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds before switching sides. Repeat 2-3 times on each leg.
Seated Forward Fold
This stretch targets the lower back, hamstrings, and calves. Begin in a seated position with your legs together and extended in front of you. Slowly fold forward from the hips, reaching towards your toes. If you can’t reach your toes, place your hands on your shins or ankles. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.
Seated Spinal Twist
This stretch targets the lower back, hips, and spine. Start in a seated position with your legs extended in front of you. Cross one leg over the other, placing the opposite hand on the outside of the crossed knee. Twist your torso towards the crossed leg, using your hand as leverage to deepen the stretch. Hold for 15-30 seconds before switching sides. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.
This stretch targets the spine and lower back muscles. Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Inhale as you drop your belly towards the floor, lifting your head and tailbone upwards for the cow pose. On an exhale, round your spine towards the ceiling and tuck your chin towards your chest for the cat pose. Repeat this movement for 10-15 repetitions.
Figure 4 Stretch
This stretch targets the hips and glutes. Begin in a seated position with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee, creating a figure 4 shape with your legs. Slowly lean forward from the hips, using your hands to support yourself on the ground in front of you. Hold for 15-30 seconds before switching sides. Repeat 2-3 times on each leg.
Lauren O’Connor, MS, RDN, RYT
Masters in Nutritional Sciences from California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA)