Studies show that most Americans spend far too much time sitting or laying down, sometimes as often as nine hours per day. In terms of overall health and wellness, this sedentary lifestyle could even be just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.
However, some people live with chronic illness or limited mobility which can make getting out of their bed or chair quite difficult. Others may have broken a leg or an ankle, and are stuck sitting for long periods of time until the injury is healed. And some people aren’t able to stand at all, but they can still get some exercise while sitting down.
Staying fit as we age is matter of use it or lose it. If we don’t stay moving, stiffness and pain will only increase if we sit in the same position for hours on end, and then try to suddenly move in order to exercise.
But the good news is that it’s very possible for you to exercise with chronic illness no matter how limited you are if you choose the right exercises. Not only that, but it’s even possible to lose weight if you make the right choices when you develop your wellness routine.
Seated workouts will vary in intensity depending on where you’re sitting, the type of chair or seat you’re using, and whether or not you’re disabled or lack enough strength in your legs. If you have trouble with balance, standing up and walking on your own you can still get a good workout, but you’ll need to plan ahead as to what exercises and equipment are best suited for you.
Setting Realistic Wellness Goals
Seated workouts won’t improve every part of your body (you won’t look like a Cross Fitter but you can improve muscle tone and flexibility) but they can do wonders for your upper body and core muscles. Core strength is essential because they support everything that you do when sitting and will help you to maintain good posture and reduce back pain. Your workout might include upper body calisthenics on their own, or you could add light weights and resistance bands to increase your results.
How to Choose the Right Equipment
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get started. If you don’t have weights, you can start out with bottles or gallons of water which can serve as light hand weights when you’re working out at home.
You might want to consider investing in a set of hand weights such as Aquabells. You just add water to the little plastic reservoirs to increase the weight of the barbells. Each weight can hold a total of 16 pounds. There’s also very portable if you are traveling. Just take out the water and pack them flat to take wherever you go.
Another option to consider for seated workouts is a good set of resistance bands. These bands offer similar weights to light hand weights weights even though your stretching dense rubber bands. They typically come in a set of several bands of different weights. For example, using one band might be equal to three pounds of resistance. So using all the bands in a kit might give you a total of 75 pounds.
You can definitely get a good work out sitting down….you just need to learn how to choose the routines that are right for you according to where you’re at today. Accept where you are and set realistic expectations for your health and fitness level.
My Suggestions for Exercise with Chronic Illness
I highly recommend Sleepy Santosha. Her yoga practices are truly accessible to most people, no matter what the physical limitations are. And best of all, you don’t have to leave the house!
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