Having a foot or ankle injury can really put a damper on exercise options. However, there are still some effective, practical exercises you can perform seated in a chair that will help to enhance your aerobic endurance, strength, and mobility. Before you start, review the following guidelines for seated chair exercise:
• Ideally, a chair used for seated exercise should not have armrests. This will increase your potential range of motion and allow a broader variety of possible exercises.
• During chair exercise, support your back by placing a pillow, pad, or rolled towel between your back and the backrest, if necessary.
• Make sure that your feet are in full contact with a support, which can be accomplished by using a book, stool, or other type of platform if your feet cannot reach the floor.
Chair exercise offers a variety of training options. A chair workout might include optional standing work using the back of the chair for balance support. It might feature energetic seated aerobic activity involving all of the limbs in broad-ranging movement patterns, like chair marching. The chair also provides a secure position for the use of resistive exercise accessories such as dumbbells, elastic resistance bands, and ankle weights. ACE offers a safe and effective free chair exercise workout video that includes aerobic, resistance, balance, and stretching exercises led by fitness expert Lawrence Biscontini.
A very important guideline to keep in mind is to take it slowly at first. If you’re not used to exercise training, your muscles will likely be sore for a day or two after you workout. Therefore, consider starting with just 5 minutes of exercise the first day. Then over the next two days, pay attention to how your body feels. If there is muscle soreness or discomfort, wait another day until it subsides before your perform another workout. Eventually, your body will adapt to the new exercise stimulus and you will be able to workout longer (perhaps adding 5 more minutes onto your routine) and for several days in a row without experiencing the discomfort. A good initial goal is to work up to 20 to 30 minutes of non-stop chair exercise for most days of the week.