These sitting exercises will help improve your mobility and prevent falls. You can even do these gentle exercises in bed or during a hospital stay.
Choose a solid, stable chair that does not have wheels.
You should be able to sit with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent at right angles. Choose a stable chair that does not have armrests.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing and keep some water nearby.
Build up slowly and aim to gradually increase the repetitions of each exercise over time.
Try to do these exercises at least twice a week.
Combine them with:
This stretch is good for your posture.
- Sit upright and away from the back of the chair. With your arms out to the side, pull your shoulders back and down. Your hands should be around the level of your hips.
- Gently push your chest forward and up until you feel a stretch across your chest.
Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.
This stretch develops and maintains flexibility in your upper back.
- Sit upright with your feet flat on the floor, cross your arms and put your hands on your shoulders.
- Without moving your hips, turn your upper body to the left as far as is comfortable. Hold for 5 seconds.
- Repeat on the right side.
Do this 5 times on each side.
This exercise strengthens your hips and thighs, and improves flexibility.
- Sit upright and do not lean on the back of the chair. Hold on to the sides of the chair.
- Keeping your knee bent, lift your left leg as far as is comfortable. Place your foot down with control.
- Repeat with the opposite leg.
Do 5 lifts with each leg.
This stretch improves ankle flexibility and lowers the risk of developing a blood clot.
- Sit upright, hold on to the side of the chair and straighten your left leg with your foot off the floor.
- With your leg straight and raised, point your toes away from you.
- Point your toes back towards you.
Do 5 stretches on one foot, then 5 on the other. Repeat this twice.
This exercise builds shoulder strength.
- Sit upright with your arms by your sides and your palms forward. Keep your shoulders down and arms straight.
- While breathing out, raise both arms out to the side and up as far as is comfortable.
- While breathing in, lower your arms to the starting position.
Repeat 5 times.
This stretch is good for improving neck mobility and flexibility.
- Sit upright with your shoulders down. Look straight ahead.
- Slowly turn your head towards your left shoulder as far as is comfortable. Hold for 5 seconds and return to the starting position.
- Repeat on the right.
Do the exercise 3 times on each side.
This stretch is good for loosening tight neck muscles.
- Sitting upright, look straight ahead and hold your left shoulder down with your right hand.
- Slowly tilt your head to the right while holding your shoulder down.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Hold each stretch for 5 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side.
Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE.