Health | Did You Know

Stay Fit The Fun The Easy Way, With 7 Exercises You Can Do Sitting Down

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When my doctor told me to lose some weight a few years ago, I wasn't sure where to start.

I've never been an active person - I never played sports or jogged - and I found that every exercise I tried was just exhausting.

But big things have small beginnings. I was able to shed the pounds by working my way up from very gentle, seated workouts.

Here are seven exercises that helped me lose weight, but didn't tire me out:

1. Calf Raises

How it helps: This exercise is low-intensity, but will give you shapely legs.

It also gets the blood pumping after you've been sitting too long, and can keep your ankles from swelling.

This exercise is especially helpful to those who have diabetes. It will help with the nerve pain that is generally associated with the disease.

Woman doing calf raises
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How to do it: Plant your feet on the ground in front of the chair. Lift up your heels slowly, until only your tiptoes are on the ground, then lower your heels back down.

Woman doing calf raises
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Do up to three sets of 10 repetitions each. Stay up for a few extra seconds each time to give yourself an extra challenge.

2. Arm Circles

How it helps: This is a stretch and an exercise. It works your shoulders, but also encourages good posture.

Additionally, when you include arm circles at the start of your exercise routine it will help prevent muscle injuries.

Eventually, your arms will be ready to take on more complex strength exercises, even using weights!

Woman doing arm cirlces
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How to do it: Stretch your arms out to the side, making a T with your body. With your palms facing down and your head up, make circles with the tips of your fingers in the air beside you.

Woman doing arm circles
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Do 15 rotations forward, then flip your palms to the ceiling and do 15 rotations backward.

3. Leg Extensions

How it helps: You will build strength in your knees and thighs with this exercise, burning calories and helping to control leg pain.

If you spend a part of your day sitting down, this is a move you should really become familiar with.

Woman doing leg extensions
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How to do it: Keep good posture, with your head up and back straight against the chair. Flex your right leg so the heel is stretched out, then slowly raise it in front of your body.

Woman doing leg extensions
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Don't lock your leg (making it completely straight). Lower the right leg and raise the left in the same motion.

Do 20 repetitions (10 for each leg). You can hold your leg at the top of the extension for a few seconds as an added challenge.

4. Knee Tucks

How it helps: Getting your legs pumping burns calories, but keeping the right form will also exercise your core.

Not only will a stronger core prevent injuries, you'll notice an improvement in your balance and your back pain will subside.

Knee tuck
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How to do it: Keep your shoulders on the chair's back, but slide your bottom forward on the chair's seat. Grip the seat with both hands to steady yourself.

Start with your legs out straight. Raise your left knee to your chest, then lower it as you raise your right knee, then keep repeating.

Woman performing a knee tuck
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For an added challenge, tuck in both legs at once. Set a timer for 30 seconds and do this exercise until it runs out.

Woman doing a double knee tuck
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5. Chest Squeeze

How it helps: Exercise your chest and arm muscles while shaking out the hunched over, pinched feeling you get in your shoulders from sitting all day.

Giving your chest or pectoral muscles a workout will help relieve upper back pain and help you breathe better by allowing oxygen to flow more freely.

Chest Squeeze
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How to do it: Raise your arms up and to the sides, like you're imitating a strongman. Your upper arms are parallel to the floor, and your lower arms are running from floor to ceiling.

Bring your arms together in front of your face, squeezing the muscles in your chest together. Then move your arms back to the starting position.

Woman doing a chest squeeze
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Do up to three sets of 10 repetitions each.

6. Oblique Twists

How it helps: This is a fat-busting exercise that strengthens your obliques (the side of your torso) and your core.

Oblique twists
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How to do it: Raise your arms to your sides and place your hands on your head, so your elbows are pointing out to the side.

Twist your body so your right elbow moves down, facing forward, and lift your left knee up towards it. Then raise your body back up.

Woman performing an oblique twist
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Now twist the other direction, with your left elbow meeting your right knee. Repeat the exercise up to three sets of 10.

7. The Water Bottle Curl

How it helps: Gives your biceps, forearms, and wrists a workout. It can also relieve wrist pain from typing all day.

It's perfect for those who are looking to increase their arm strength without having to worry about purchasing dumbbells.

Water bottle curl
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How to do it: You don't need a water bottle for this exercise. You can hold just about anything, or just do curls to get your arms moving.

Sit with good posture, and hold your arms down by your thighs. Keep your upper arm in place, but curl your lower arm up to meet your shoulder, then lower it.

Woman doing a water bottle curl
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Focus on curling one arm at a time to practice good form, doing up to three sets of 10 repetitions.

Are you ready to feel the burn? Let us know if there are any easy exercises you like to do sitting down.

[H/T: Prevention]

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com