Exercising all year long provides you with a natural mood booster, more energy, less stress, better sleep, weight management, less risk of depression, and more. Despite our best intentions to stay fit and healthy, sometimes rain, sleet, or snow—or simply a 9-to-5 job—can get in the way of working out. Whether you are an older adult, an office worker, or simply want to keep moving and maximize your health inside, out of the elements this winter, there are plenty of free, indoor exercises you can do to stay in shape—no equipment needed.
What Are the Best Chair Workouts I Can Do?
Improve strength, flexibility, cardiovascular health, mobility, and balance—all from the comfort of your own chair or couch! Let’s get moving.
Seated Exercise: Calf Raises
Increase your lower legs’ strength and mobility with seated calf raises. This is a great exercise you can do discreetly at your desk, too.
Sit tall in a chair with your feet flat on the floor about hip-distance apart. Look straight ahead.
Begin with one foot, lifting the heel from the ground as high as you can. You will likely be on your toes. Slowly lower the heel back to the floor. Repeat 10 times.
Repeat the calf raise exercise with your other foot.
Seated Exercise: Shoulder Press
Develop your strength and maintain flexibility throughout your shoulder area with this simple activity.
Sit tall in a chair with your feet flat on the floor about shoulder-distance apart.
Hold a light dumbbell, water bottle, or canned good in each hand at shoulder height. Keep your elbows bent and your palms facing away from you.
Press your arms straight up overhead by extending your elbows. Slowly lower your hands back down. Repeat 10 times.
Seated Exercise: Sit-to-Stand
This exercise is essential for seniors who want to maintain mobility and independence.
Begin from a seated position and repeatedly stand up and sit back down again.
Seated Exercise: Triceps Dips
Build arm and shoulder strength with this bodyweight exercise.
Sit on the edge of your couch. Put your hands on the edge of the couch on either side of you and push yourself up.
Lower your body down toward the floor, then lift again using your arms. Repeat 10 times.
Seated Exercise: Cat-Cow Stretch
Chair yoga can be done by people of all ages and abilities. The Cat-Cow Stretch is a popular yoga movement that tones your muscles, improves spinal flexibility, and helps prevent arthritis.
Sit at the edge of your chair with your back straight. Your core muscles should be engaged.
Inhale and gradually arch your back as far as is comfortable, holding the position for about four breaths. This is the “cow” part.
Then bring your back to the position you began in, and invert the stretch. Your shoulders will be above your hips, but your back will be curved in a forward arch. Hold for about four breaths. This is the “cat” part.
What Are Some Quick Cardio Workouts I Can Do at Home?
Getting your heart rate going with exercise is great for your health. For those looking for cardio exercises with more intensity, here are a few more ideas for keeping physically active at home this winter.
- Jump rope.
- Climb the stairs (or stair-step during a screentime session).
- Clean the house (mopping and vacuuming are especially good calorie-burners).
- Throw a dance party with your family and get your heart rate going.
- Do jumping jacks.
- Perform push-ups.
- DVD or YouTube workouts. Your local library likely has workout DVDs you can check out.
- Lunges. Stand up straight with your feet a few inches apart, looking straight ahead. Step forward with one leg, gently lowering your hips toward the ground as you bend both knees. Keep the knee on the forward-stepping leg in line with the ankle. Hold the position, then step back to stand. Repeat for 1 minute, then do the same with the other leg.
- Planks. Short on time? You can still build your core muscles and upper body strength! Get into a push-up position, but with your arms extended rather than your elbows bent. Try holding the position for 30 seconds each day. Want even more of a challenge? Add an additional 10 seconds every day to your holding time.
- Squats. Stand up straight with your feet about shoulder-distance apart, looking straight ahead. Start to lower your body as if you’re going to sit in a chair. Keep lowering yourself until your thighs are parallel with the floor. You’ll find your upper body will lean slightly forward as your knees bend. Gradually straighten into a standing pose. Repeat 10 times.