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Simple exercises that can even be done while seated

A bit late right now but we might have another snow storm before this winter is over OR for future winter storm and of course for the ones who like to workout at home.

I am really lucky to have a workout room with cardio and strength equipment right in my house, and we use it. Especially on shut-in days as we did, it is wonderful to have that option. However, most people don’t and if they do, many don’t use it.

The following workout is for anyone, and you can do these exercises seated or standing. If you like to work out to music, put your headphones on or turn on your radio/CD player. When I do this workout, I use music and a timer:

• 5-minute warm up: Walk in place or dance. In chair, tap your feet and move your arms.

• 1-minute alternating knees up: Any of these exercises can be done high impact (run in place and knees up), low impact (march and knees up) or seated in chair.

• 1-minute alternating kicks

• 1-minute knees side to side

• 1-minute kicks side to side (in chair, kick towards outside)

• 1-minute jump side to side or step touch. Seated: Step left, right toes tap left foot. Step right, left toes tap right foot.

• 3-minute jog, march, or seated alternating tapping feet and move the arms

• 1-minute shuffle: Feet go forward and backwards. Low impact: Bring one foot back then the other. Seated: feet alternate forward and backwards (a bit like cross country skiing except you don’t go forward)

• 1-minute ice skating: Jump side to side using your arms or step side to side. On chair, the same as step touch but this time you lean forward and swing your arms side to side.

• 1-minute jog or march or sit in place and arms go up and down

• 1-minute jumping jacks, low impact step touch (with jumping jack arms) seated jumping jacks.

• 1-minute shadow jump rope: Pretend you have a jump rope in your hands. Same for low impact and seated.

• 1-minute twist. High or low impact or seated: Carefully twist upper body (for those of you with a bad back, don’t twist — just move your arms as you would twisting).

• 1-minute “can can:” One leg: Knee up, down and then kick. Then, go to other leg.

• 1-minute march: Bring arms up and breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth.

• On floor, 1-minute crunches (on back, hands behind head with elbows wide): Bring belly button towards inner spine and lift shoulder blades off ground. If you don’t have a mat, use a towel. Seated: Hold on to side of chair and lift knees up together (pull belly button in).

• 1-minute obliques: Same start as crunches, but bring right elbow towards left knee (does not have to touch), then bring left elbow towards right knee. Seated: Same as knee lifts — hold hands on shoulder and go towards opposite knees.

• On stomach with arms next to your ears, lift right arm and left leg, then alternate (does not have to be high — engage the muscles and go to where it feels comfortable). Head stays in extension of your spine (looking towards floor). In chair: With one arm all the way up and the other arm pointing toward the floor, bring top arm down and raise lower arm up, then alternate. These are also for one minute.

• Plank- on stomach: I will give you numerous options, shoot for one minute:

Option one: On elbows and feet, lift body off ground, strong in shoulders and in core and hold

Option two: Same but leave your knees on the ground

Option three: On hands and feet, lift body off ground

Option four: Same with knees on the ground

For the seated: Suck your belly in (continue to breathe) and tighten up your abdominals (like you would doing a No. 2 on the toilet..!) Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, release and repeat 5 to 10 times.

• On your side, lift top leg straight up and down, holding foot parallel with the floor. Do one minute on each side

• The top leg bends and crosses over bottom leg. Lift bottom leg up and down. Do for one minute on each side.

• Option from chair: Lift knee, move to outside and back. Do one minute on each side.

• Option from chair: Extend one leg to front, turn foot out lift up and down. Do one minute on each side.

• On your back with knees bent and off the floor and arms sideways with palms down, move knees side to side. Do for one minute.

• Chair option: With arms in toward chest, turn to right, open arms wide, come back to middle with arms in and turn towards left opening arms wide. Do for one minute.

This will take you about 30 minutes. If you want to go an hour, do this workout twice. You can also cut the one minute to 30 or even 15 seconds. Or, if it is easier to count, you can do 10, 15, 20 or 25 repetitions.

Stretch! I will go into a home stretching routine next week, but for now lengthen your main muscle groups and use stretches you are familiar with.

Good Luck!

Ester H Marsh ACSM Cpt, Health & Fitness Director JF Hurley Family YMCA


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