If you don’t use it, you lose it. This is a saying that gets thrown around a lot, but it is very true when it comes to muscle strength and mobility. This is especially apparent when we get up there in age. According to a study by the US National Library of Medicine, our body is comprised of about 50% muscle mass as young adults, and only 25% as seniors. “Many factors contributing to age-related loss of muscle mass and strength have been suggested, with physical inactivity probably being the most important.”
It is truly incredible how quickly we can lose our strength, and also how hard it is to get it back once it is gone. The most important thing is to just keep moving! It is obvious that we become less active as we get older, and that certain exercises are harder to do. However, there are plenty of safe exercises you can do from the comfort of your own chair to keep your muscle strength up! There are also some tools you can use to help you exercise while sitting like, hand weights, exercise bands, or compact ellipticals.
These lower body chair exercises help with circulation, muscle strength, and balance:
1) Knee lifts
Sit with your body upright, back against the chair. Make sure your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. Slowly lift on left up, so your foot is about 6 inches off of the ground. Hold for 5 seconds, and slowly put your foot back down. I would suggest rotating between legs 10 times each, for a couple sets.
(photo cred: Vision Exercise Physiology)
2) Leg Extensions
Same position as the knee lifts. Only this time, kick your leg straight out in front of you. Make sure your leg is parallel to the floor, hold for 5 seconds. Rotate and repeat for a couple sets of 10.
(photo cred: DailyCaring)
3) Toe/Heel Raises
Plant your feet flat on the floor. Lift your toes up, hold for 3 seconds, then lift your heels up, hold for 3 seconds. Rotate back and forth. I suggest doing it to the tune of the ABC’s! Make it all the way through the alphabet, rest, and start over 3 times.