You know exercise is important to overall health. Benefits of regular exercise can include improved cardiovascular system function, better range of motion and strength, more consistent or lower blood sugar levels, increased cognitive function and a better overall mood. Plus, when you get up and move on a regular basis, you may find you sleep better at night, and who wouldn't take that benefit to the bank?
But not everyone can go for a brisk walk or participate in traditional calisthenics. Whether you're currently living your best life from a wheelchair or simply can't keep up with standing exercises because of balance issues or other concerns, you don't have to give up healthy activity. You might simply need to adapt it to fit your own needs.
One option for doing so is chair yoga.
Chair yoga is exactly what it sounds like: a modified form of yoga that you do while sitting or supporting yourself on a chair.
It was originally developed for people with health issues that made traditional yoga impossible, but it's currently practiced by people of all ages and fitness levels. People who work in offices or otherwise sit in a chair much of the day have turned to chair yoga to help them stretch and get in some exercise between answering emails. And many seniors participate in chair yoga or other forms of sitting exercises to help themselves stay fit.
Chair yoga offers a lot of the same benefits as regular yoga or any other form of regular exercise. They can include:
Improved strength, which can allow you to get around easier, enjoy more of your favorite hobbies and better attend to certain acts of daily living.
Increased flexibility and range of motion, which also helps you stay mobile and enjoy a number of activities.
Better mood throughout the day.
Potentially increased cognitive function.
Increased function for numerous systems throughout your body, including cardiovascular.
Obviously, the benefits received from chair exercise depend on each person. But even if you enjoyed just a few of these benefits, it can be worth it to engage in this activity for up to 30 minutes daily. Plus, if you take part in exercise with a group, you get the benefits of increased socialization and might even make some new friends.
Chair yoga or other forms of seated exercise make physical activity more accessible to a wide range of people. But that doesn't automatically mean all these exercises are right for you. Before you engage in any exercise program, make sure you clear the activity with your health care provider.
Chair yoga can be a great addition to any person's physical fitness. As long as you are physically capable of the movements, you can enjoy this exercise. You don't have to have limited range of motion or be confined to a chair to take part in chair yoga.
It doesn't take much to get involved in chair yoga, but even this type of exercise can result in injury if you're not careful. Make sure to follow instructions closely if you exercise to a video, and consider working out with others and an experienced instructor until you're comfortable with various moves and what your body is capable of.
One thing chair yoga does require is a stable seat. Choose a chair that doesn't rock or move and provides plenty of support, but avoid options that limit your motion unnecessarily.
The right clothing can also make a difference to your workout. While you can perform chair yoga in almost any clothing — the versatility of chair exercise is one of it's main benefits — loose, comfortable clothing is often best. Avoid pants that are snug around the waist so you can bend as much as possible, and wear tops with no sleeves or loose sleeves to ensure as much range of motion in your arms as possible.
When you first start chair yoga, don't worry if you can't perform some moves that others can. Every person's body is different, and the fact that you're moving is more important than getting every position correct.
One of the best parts about chair exercise is that you can do it anywhere you can sit down in some room around you. You can follow online apps or videos and complete workouts right in your assisted living apartment, which can be a great way to start or end each day.
You can also take part in group chair yoga and fitness workouts. Local senior centers and gyms may offer these activities, and you can check the Broadmoor Court activity calendar to find out when regular Sit and Be Fit classes are scheduled. Join other assisted living community residents for this fun and healthy activity.