In the United States, there are millions of people reported as homebound, meaning they have extreme difficulty leaving the house. This can be due to many conditions that limit mobility such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Arthritis, Neuropathy, Dementia, Depression, Obesity, and more. A lot of the time, being homebound only worsens the condition due to lack space to move around and exercise. Newton’s First Law, also known as the Law of Inertia, states that “an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion”. People are no different! Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get creative and exercise in the safety of your home with little equipment.
Exercise #1 - Overhead Arm Raise
This can be done at any fitness level. Whether you use no weight, a can of peas, or a set of hand weights, you can do this exercise. Standing or sitting, make sure your feet are shoulder width apart and firmly planted. Lift your hands to your shoulders, palms out. As you breathe out, raise both hands up. Breathe in and slowly lower arms! Repeat this 10 times, take a break, and then do 10 more until you’ve done 50 overhead arm raises (or however many you feel comfortable doing).
Exercise #2 - Running in Place
Sounds a little goofy, but you can exercise your body similarly to running while seated! Start by sitting straight up with feet planted on the ground shoulder width apart. Start to lift your legs as if marching in place as high as you can without discomfort. Once you’ve got a rhythm, start to slowly swing your arms as if running. Keep your pace for about a minute, and take breaks in between minutes to drink water and bring that heart rate back down. If you feel comfortable standing, you can march or run in place or even do knee highs by bringing your knees up to the chest while running in place.
Exercise #3 - Toe Touches
Everyone is familiar with toe touches! Whether sitting or standing, you can do this exercise to increase flexibility and improve mobility. If sitting, sit straight up, feet shoulder width apart. Breathe out and slowly bend to touch your toes or as far down the leg as you feel comfortable. Breathe in and sit back up straight! Repeat this 5 times and take breaks in between. You can also use hand weights to increase the difficulty.
Exercise #4 - Lateral Raise
Sitting or standing, with or without weights, this is another exercise that can easily be done at home. Place your arms on your side, palms facing in. Lift your arms until they are in line with your shoulders. Here you can pulse arms, move in a small circle forward or backwards, or raise above your head. Breathe out and bring your arms back down to your sides. This is one rep. Do 15 of these with small breaks in between and increase difficulty by adding weights.
Exercise #5 - Leg Extensions
Sitting towards the edge of your seat with feet shoulder width apart, lift one foot as if to push something away and alternate left and right. Avoid swinging your legs as you could injure your knee. Just lightly lift and kick! If standing, lift your knee to a 90 degree angle as if sitting and kick that foot out. In kickboxing, this is referred to as a “push kick”. For a more advanced version of this exercise, do a lunge before coming up with that push kick. However you do the exercise, do 5 on each side and rest for a water break. Try to do 20 kicks on each side.
Exercise #6 - Knee Highs
Another exercise that can be accommodated for all fitness levels! If seated, lift your hands in front of you at chest level, palms down. Use your palms as targets and lift your knee until it touches the palm. Alternate knees for 30 seconds and rest. You can also do this exercise in the standing position, or turn into a seated ab exercise by sitting at the edge of your seat, leaning back, and lifting both legs at the same time.
Exercise #7 - Ab Twists
Speaking of ab exercises, it only makes sense that we get to the core! Having a strong core is the key to success when it comes to perfecting these exercises. While maybe not as easy to do in a chair as the other exercises, there are a ton of ways to exercise those abs will seated on the floor. One of the ways to exercise these muscles in a chair is ab twists. Sitting in a chair, lift your arms parallel with your shoulders and look forward. Twist to the right and to the left slowly without moving your head and take breaks when needed. This can easily be converted into a russian twist for a more difficult version of the exercise.
Exercise #8 - Seated Crunches
Most people are familiar with crunches, and they can be done seated as well. Arms crossed over your chest, lean into the back of the chair. Breathing out, crunch forward so your elbows touch your pelvis. Repeat this motion for about 30 seconds and rest. You may also do traditional crunches laying on the floor if you would like to.
Exercise #9 - Heel Lifts
This is a really effective calf exercises to help strengthen your legs and improve balance. If seated, sit on the edge of your seat with feet planted firmly on the ground shoulder width apart. Lift both heels up, flexing your calves, and slowly drop your heels back down. You can also do this exercise with hand weights on the knees or by standing and holding the heel lift for 30 seconds.
Exercise #10 - Neck Stretch
Lastly, make sure you stretch your neck! You can do this by turning your head until your chin touches your shoulder on both sides, tucking your chin down and lifting your head up, and by tilting your head side to side. Doing neck stretches helps reduce injury, improves neck strength, and is a relaxing exercise to do.
No matter the situation, there is a way for you to stay healthy! Doing these exercises can improve mobility, flexibility, and strength if practiced regularly. No positive change is small when it comes to your health and wellness. At RizFit Fitness Studio, we offer exercise plans tailored to your needs that can be used for the gym or at home. If you’d like to learn more about the services we can offer you please give us a call or email us! RizFit Fitness Studio is Lancaster, NH’s gym for private training, semi-private training, group classes, and individualized plans.