(MERCY HEALTH PARTNERS) - Chair exercises can help anyone stay in shape and increase metabolism without purchasing any extravagant or expensive equipment. Some individuals may find that exercising in and with a chair is more comfortable and appropriate for their personal fitness level. Chair exercises to strengthen muscles can be done by all age groups and body types and are versatile enough to be done either sitting or standing. Here are a couple of my favorite chair exercises.
• Chair Stands - This exercise is a great for strengthening your leg muscles. Start by sitting in a chair with your feet shoulder width apart. Move to the front of the chair and criss-cross your arms across your chest. Slowly stand up and then sit back down in the chair. Repeat the exercise ten times and progress your repetitions as tolerated. As you begin to advance in strength add a pair of dumbbells to make it more difficult.
• Sitting Knee Extensions - This exercise is excellent for strengthening the front part of your legs. To do this exercise, sit is a chair with your feet on the floor knees bent at ninety-degree angles. Lift one leg until it is straight and parallel with the floor. Bend your knee and return to the starting position. Alternate and do your other leg. Do this exercise ten times for each leg.
• Seated Straight Leg Lifts - This exercise helps increase the strength in your knee and thigh muscles. Move to the front of the chair making sure you have nice posture and straighten one leg, pointing the toe at your fore head. Your other leg is at a ninety-degree angle with the foot planted firmly on the floor. Slowly raise your foot toward the ceiling. Once the foot is parallel to the ground hold for five seconds before returning to the starting position. Do five exercises then perform the activity with your other leg.
• Standing Chair Squats - This exercise is performed standing behind the chair holding onto the back for stability. Put your legs slightly wider than shoulder width and point your feet to the side. Keeping your back straight slowly bend your knees to a tolerated squatting position. Slowly straighten your legs until you are at the starting position. Repeat exercise for ten repositions.
• Standing Side Leg Lifts - This exercise is great for strengthening the outer glutes and outer thighs. Stand behind a chair holding onto the back for stability. Slowly lift one leg out to the side while standing on one leg and keeping your body in straight alignment. Raise your leg to a comfortable level, a few inches from the floor or higher depending on your leg strength. Slowly lower to the starting position and repeat. Try to perform ten repetitions per leg.
Perform this exercise regularly to improve, maintain, and strengthen muscle while increasing balance.