Easy strength exercises that can be done while sitting in a wheel chair, at work, or in front of the tv.
Muscular strength is of vital importance for your overall health. Strong muscles make strong bones. Muscles are also hungry little buggers, if you develop them they will want to be fed. The result? an increased metabolism! And as long as you don't overeat the muscles will turn to stored fat for fuel.
Getting to the gym can be a challenge for many reasons, but that doesn't mean you can't do simple strength exercises right from your chair, whether it is at work or in front of the tv.
How to Do the Exercises
Do each exercise slowly, concentrating on the muscles being worked. For best results do not use momentum or gravity especially on the return phase of the movement. Moving slowly in both phases of the exercise will work more muscles to control the weight.
Repeat each of these moves 5 times to start and gradually work your way up to 10 then 15 repetitions. Aim for 3-4 times a week with rest days in between, especially if you are new to exercising.
You do not need weights to get a good workout. For some people just performing the movements will be exercise enough in the beginning, especially when done slowly.
Start with a light hand weights (dumbbells) of 1 or 2 pounds. Gradually increase the weight when you can do 15 repetitions without straining. If you don't want to invest in weights to start, use two water bottles or cans of beans. Both are about 1 pound.
Sit up straight, hands on your shoulders, elbows down to each side. Push your arms over your head and slowly lower back down.
Think of it like "raise the roof" except arms fully extended.
Sit up straight, shoulders back, hands at the center of your chest, elbows, forearms and hands at shoulder height. Push your arms straight out in front of you then pull your arms straight back squeezing the shoulder blades together.
Think of it like rowing a boat.
Sit up straight. Bring upper arms to the sides at shoulder height, bend at the elbow so hands are up forming a 90 degree angle. Squeeze the elbows together in front of your chest then slowly return to the sides keeping elbows even with the shoulders at all times.
Think of it like opening and closing swinging windows.
Sit up in the chair, shoulders back, feet planted firmly on the floor. Hold your arms out to each side with palms facing behind you. Bend at the elbow, bringing hands towards the body and then slowly raise them back up. The upper arms should remain level with the shoulders throughout.
Think of it like top down windshield wipers.
Sit up in the chair, shoulders back, feet planted firmly on the floor. Hold your arms out to each side with palms facing up. Bend at the elbow bringing hands towards the shoulders then slowly straighten. The upper arms should remain level with the shoulders throughout.
Think of Popeye making a muscle.
Sit up straight with a weight in one hand. Hold your arm above your head and slowly bring it across your body to your opposite hip then slowly back up above your head. Repeat for the other side.
Think of chopping an axe across your body.
Sit straight up, hands on the seat of the chair by your backside. Heels and knees should be together. Lift both legs straight up off the floor until they are level with your hips. Slowly lower the legs back down.
Think of it like kicking with both legs together.
Elbow to Knee Twist
Sit straight up, arms bent so elbows are parallel with the shoulders. Twist your torso lowering your right elbow while raising your left knee. If you can’t reach, just do the best you can. If your lower back starts hurting, STOP! Switch sides, trying to touch left elbow to right knee.
Think of it like the torturous "bicycle" exercise usually done while lying on the ground.
With those 8 basic exercises you can get an overall body workout using most major muscle groups. As you find your strength increasing you will probably want to move beyond these and incorporate other types of movement as well.