Chair Dancing low-impact exercises for seniors, disabled, children, and moreCan you get fit while you sit?  Can you stretch, tone, and gain strength from your chair?  Jodi Stolove, creator of Chair Dancing Fitness Programs says you can. “There’s plenty of exercises that can be done. All you need is a chair. It’s easy and fun and can help people burn calories, improve circulation and reduce stress. It’s a convenient way to relieve pain and stress.

Who can benefit from from a chair-based program?  According to Stolove, it’s people who are unable to do vigorous stand up exercises.  This can include obese or seriously overweight people, those with diabetes or balance issues, or any other mobility problem caused by age or injury.  Even those stuck at a computer all day long can benefit.  Five minutes of exercise every hour or so can help with relaxation and help to strengthen muscles.  “It’s really helpful because you can loosen up and get your blood flowing any time anywhere, in any shoes or clothing without ever getting up from your chair.” Stanlove notes.

Exercising from your chair means you won’t have to worry about losing your balance or tripping and it can be done from home or the office.  Here are some examples of simple stretching and toning exercises that can be done while sitting in a chair:

Chair Dancing Sample Exercises

Side Stretch

Sit straight, raise your arms towards the ceiling, lean towards to the right, counting slowly to four, back to the center. Then lean left, again counting to four, then back to center. Repeat both ways, three to four times. Tone Core Muscles Begin with your shoulders resting on the back of the chair. Contract your abdominal muscles, bringing your shoulders up as your leg comes up down as your leg goes down. Repeat 8 times with each side.

Lower Back Stretch

Sit up straight, hug your right leg, pull up and hold for five seconds, leaning your shoulder towards your knee feeling the muscles in your lower back, then lower and relax. Then do the same to the other leg. Repeat this four to five times- contracting your abdominal muscles as if a magnet is pulling your belly button towards the back of your chair.

Tone Your Arms and Legs

Sit forward in your chair, using weights, or water bottles, if available: Press your leg and arm front like you are cross country skiing- pulling with your arms like you are using ski poles. Repeat 8 times.

Spine Stretch

Place the right leg over your left knee (or sit legs together, whichever is comfortable for you), then slowly turn towards the right, hold for five seconds feeling the stretch in your back, then relax. Repeat two or three times, then switch legs and do the set again on the other side.

Want more?  Check out the Chair Dancing DVD Videos

Stolove created Chair Dancing Fitness Programs DVD Videos. They retail for $19.95 and run for 45 minutes.  They’re beneficial whether you have limited mobility or need to find some simple activities you can do from your desk, you can get significant benefits from doing the chair dancing exercises.  You’ll also combat fatigue, reduce pain, and increase your range of motion.  It’s a great program from young and old and all ability levels.

My Experience

I tried out two of the programs and found them easy to follow.  They’re well-made, though dated visually, and they do a good job of explaining the moves so you know if you’re doing them correctly.  They offer options and tips for different abilities and fitness levels.  This is a great program for an older person like me with balance and fatigue issues.  It allows me to get in some stretching and strength without exacerbating my exhaustion. It would also be great for an athlete who’s rehabbing or someone who’s not up for a full workout but doesn’t want to miss a day.  And it would be great for someone just starting to exercise again – a great way to work your way back up to rigorous exercise.  The participant’s in the videos are all shapes, sizes, and ages and there’s no skimpy workout outfit among them!


About Jodi Stolove

Jodi Stolove has been dancing since she was a child and has taught dance and fitness for the past thirty years. A Cum Laude graduate of the University of Michigan, she also received a MS in Counseling Psychology.

Jodi created the original Chair Dancing concept when as a result of a fractured ankle, she taught her dance and aerobic classes from a chair. Prominent health care facilities, including Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers, Harvard University Health Service, Eisenhower Medical Center, Scripps Clinic and the Mayo Clinic, now offer her fitness programs.

The Chair Dancing videos received a “Best Buy” award by Consumer Digest and have been featured on Today on NBC, CBS This Morning, The Howie Mandel Show, The Home Shopping Network, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, The Seattle Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Mature Outlook, Prevention, Vim and Vigor, Weight Watchers and Parade Magazines and other media.

Photo Credit:  © Copyright 2011 Chair Dancing® International Inc