By Mary Ann Wilson, RN
Looking for a fast way to generate some energy? Here is a quick easy seated workout you can do almost anywhere! Use this simple set of exercises to perk your body up when it’s dragging or use it every day as a good all-around maintenance program.
Keep ankle joints flexible
Strengthen tibialis muscles or shin
Strengthen postural muscles
Strengthen mobilization muscles
Circle the ankle by drawing an imaginary circle with the toes, 4 times to the right, then 4 times to the left. Repeat exercise with left foot. This exercise lubricates the ankle joint.
Tap the toes by lifting the toes of both feet (with the heels on the floor) and dropping the toes. Repeat 8 times and pause. Then lift toes and hold for a second and release. Repeat 4 times. This exercise strengthens the shin muscles and will help prevent tripping.
Extend leg from knee and flex the ankle. Point the toes toward the knee and feel the calf muscle stretching. Repeat 4 times on each leg, alternating legs. This exercise will help avoid cramping in the lower leg.
Extend leg forward. Tighten knee cap as though pushing on a gas peddle, then release. Repeat 4 times on each leg. Put hand on quadricep (front of thigh) and feel the muscles contract. This exercise stabilizes the knee joint and strengthens the muscles needed to get up and down in a chair or on and off the toilet.
HIPS & REAR
Squeeze the buttocks muscles together and release. Repeat 4 times. Then sit on one hip and tighten the abdominal muscles. Repeat 4 times, alternating right and left hip. Strong gluteal and hip muscles are important in walking.
BACK & HAMS
Bring one knee toward the chest (circle the ankle at the same time to lubricate the ankle joint). Repeat 8 times, alternating knees. You may use your hands to help lift your knee. Stretched lower back and hamstring muscles help prevent low backaches.
SPINE & NECK
Sit up tall and lengthen the spine. Hook the right arm over the back of the right side of the chair and reach across the body with the left arm for spinal rotation. With the arms in this position, look right as far back as the eyes will go. Look forward. Look left. Repeat the exercise on the left side. This exercise helps to keep the neck and spine flexible.
1) Lean out over the right side of your chair (don’t slouch- keep rib cage lifted – place the left hand on the right thigh for additional support of your trunk). Allow the right arm to dangle straight down toward the floor and keep it totally relaxed, even the fingertips. Begin circling the arm from the shoulder. Just start the arm moving and let it circle on its own. Don’t try to make a perfect circle. Count to 8 and then reverse the circle. Repeat the exercise with the left shoulder and arm. This exercise warms up the rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder.
2) Roll right shoulder forward-up-back-down. Do exercise with the left shoulder. Repeat 4 times on each shoulder. Then roll both shoulders at the same time. Repeat 4 times. This exercise loosens up the shoulder joints.
Pretend you are holding a tray in front of you at waist level with palms up. Elbows should be lightly touching the sides of your body. Now pull right elbow back, then left elbow, squeeze both shoulder blades together and then release. Repeat 4 times. This exercise strengthens postural muscles.
Put the neck in alignment by touching the chin with one hand. Then pull the chin back from the hand, (keeping the chin parallel to the floor). Do not tilt the head up or down, keep it level as though it was moving back and forth on a set of railroad tracks. Now turn your head to the right, look back with your eyes as far as you can. (Stay in your comfort range). Repeat exercise to the left. This exercise helps to prevent a stiff neck and insures proper neck alignment.
Look straight ahead and lift both arms from side of body up toward ceiling and then back down toward floor. Repeat one time. Reach up with one arm at a time as though you’re picking apples from a tall tree. Repeat 8 times, alternating right and left. Stretch your fingers as you reach up. This will help lengthen your spine, increase circulation and range of motion, and exercise the fingers, all at one time.
Reach up with right arm, reach down with left arm and stretch 2 times in both directions as you reach with your fingertips. Repeat exercises with left arm up and right arm down. This exercise stabilizes the spine.
Lift both arms from sides of body toward ceiling and then back down. Place relaxed hands, palms up, in lap. Now take a deep breath and give yourself a pat on the back! You did a great job!
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