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Getting fitter - without leaving your chair!

The current issue of Pendleton Together magazine includes an article about nine residents from Holm and Plane Court who took part in a Salford City Council Health Improvement Service programme which began with simple chair based exercises before progressing to outdoor gyms.

Residents of Beech, Holm, Plane, Thorn and Spruce Courts have since had the opportunity to try the activities for themselves – with great success.

The Council is keen to organise further activity groups and sessions. If you want to get involved, you are invited to telephone 0800 952 1000 or email for more information.

However, it is never too soon to improve your mobility and raise your fitness levels.  And as the residents described above have already discovered, that journey can begin from the comfort of your chair.

We thought it would be helpful to set out a few NHS-approved, easy to follow exercises to get you started. If you haven’t been active for a while, it is sensible to get clearance from your GP first.  

You’ll need a solid chair without wheels or arms – a kitchen chair is normally best.

You should be able to sit with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent at right angles. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and keep some water handy.

Build up slowly and aim to gradually increase repetitions of each exercise over time.  Try to do these exercises at least twice a week if you can.  Good luck!

Chest stretch - good for posture

1 - Sit upright and away from the back of the chair. Pull your shoulders back and down. Extend your arms out to the side.

2 - Gently push your chest forwards and up until you feel a stretch across your chest.

3 - Hold for five to 10 seconds and repeat five times.

Upper body twist – helps flexibility in the upper back

1 - Sit upright with your feet flat on the floor, cross your arms and reach for your shoulders.

2 - Without moving your hips, turn your upper body to the left as far as is comfortable. Hold for five seconds.

3 - Repeat on the right side.

4 - Do five on each side.

Hip marching - strengthens hips and thighs

1 - Sit upright and do not lean on the back of the chair. Hold on to the sides of the chair.

2 - Lift your left leg with your knee bent as far as is comfortable. Place your foot down with control.

3 - Repeat with the opposite leg.

4 - Do five lifts with each leg.

Ankle stretch - lowers the risk of a blood clot

1 - Sit upright, hold on to the side of the chair and straighten your left leg with your foot off the floor.

2 - With your leg straight and raised, point your toes away from you.

3 - Point your toes back towards you.

4 - Try two sets of five stretches with each foot.

Arm raises - builds shoulder strength

1 - Sit upright with your arms by your sides.

2 - With palms forwards, raise both arms out and to the side and up as far as is comfortable. 

3 - Return to the starting position.

4 - Keep your shoulders down and arms straight throughout. Breathe out as you raise your arms and breathe in as you lower them. Repeat five times.

Neck rotation – improves neck mobility

1 - Sit upright with your shoulders down. Look straight ahead.

2 - Slowly turn your head towards your left shoulder as far as is comfortable. Hold for five seconds and return to the starting position.

3 - Repeat on the right.

4 - Do three rotations on each side.

Neck stretch - loosens tight neck muscles

1 - Sitting upright, look straight ahead and hold your left shoulder down with your right hand.

2 - Slowly tilt your head to the right while holding your shoulder down.

3 - Repeat on the opposite side.

4 - Hold each stretch for five seconds and repeat three times on each side.

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Article by:

Communications Intern at Together Housing

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