The Rewards of  Seated Exercise

Whether you’re a senior with mobility issues or you’re stuck sitting at a desk working from home all day, these five seated exercises will improve your mood, cognitive function, and leave you feeling energized. A study published in the British Journal of Medicine showed exercise and resistance training of moderate intensity, for as many days of the week as possible, improved cognitive function in people over 50.

One area all the experts agree on is that exercise is essential to strengthen the immune system, reduce stress, prevent weight gain, improve sleep, and increase mobility. You can add years to your life, making this simple routine a part of your weekly schedule. Be sure to check with a doctor before starting any exercise program.

WARM-UP Start with a warm-up, then move on to the five seated exercises, followed by the cool down. The five seated exercises are meant to be a circuit that can be performed more than once. Ideally if you can do the circuit 2–3 times, that would be optimal.

Warm up illustration 1
While standing, turn your head to the left, pause, then to the right, pause. Repeat 12 times.
Warm up illustration 2
While standing, raise your arms to the side so they are parallel to the ground and then twist your body to the left, pause, then to the right, pause. Repeat 12 times.
Warm up illustration 3
While standing, perform a low-impact, modified jumping jack; arms reach overhead while moving one leg at a time side to side.


Holding two small dumbbells, elbow towards opposite knee, right side, then left, then with feet on the ground, perform a shoulder press.

shoulder press illustration
Bicep Curl


Using dumbbells, perform a bicep curl and at the same time raise both legs slightly. Bring arms back down and feet to the floor. Then immediately perform a lateral raise with both legs moving out to the side. Bring arms and legs back to the center.

Bicep curl illustration
Dumbbel row


Using dumbbells, lean forward, straighten your arms and then bring dumbbells up to your waist, elbows towards ceiling, squeeze shoulder blades and pause for 2 seconds.

Dumbbell row illustration
Tips - To protect your lower back, sit upright, while making sure to lean your back into the chair.
Kickback calf raise


With dumbbells in hand, slightly lean forward and perform a tricep kickback and at the same time go onto balls of feet (calf raise). Bring heels to the ground after completing the tricep kickback.

kickback calf raise illustration
Dumbbell shoulder fly


Dumbbells in hand, drive arm forward and lift legs up at the same time, then arms out to the side, along with the leg at the same time. Then bring legs to the ground and arms back to the center.

Dumbbell  shoulder fly illustration
Cool down illustration 1
Marching with feet (while seated) and arms up and down – breathe in and exhale out. To maximize this stretch, move a bit towards the edge of chair.
Cool down illustration 2
While seated, move your arms up and inhale, then as your arms come down, exhale slowly. Perform
this movement for about 1–2 minutes.
Cool down illustration 3
Put arms straight out and clasp hands, round your back and head down for a nice deep stretch. Hold the stretch for 5–10 seconds and repeat three times.

COOL DOWN Complete these stretches after your workout to prevent soreness, lengthen muscles, decrease muscle tension, and promote muscle relaxation. Take 5 or more minutes to cool down.