First Time User? Enroll now.
Notice of Data Security Incident
COVID-19: Vaccine information, visitor restrictions, and additional resources | Medicaid: The program is changing and you must take steps to keep your UNC Health providers
Home > Health Library > Exercising While Sitting Down
You may already know that being more active is one of the best things you can do to improve your health and quality of life. But you may wonder how you can be active if you can't stand up to exercise. No matter how old you are, how fit you are, or what health problems you have, there is a form of exercise that will work for you.
This topic covers three light exercise programs to help get you started. It also has tips that may help you to make exercise a habit.
Before you start an exercise program on your own, it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor. This is especially important when you are older than 65 or have health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart disease.
When you are ready to start, try these light exercise programs. Each one covers the three types of fitness so you can stretch your muscles, build up your strength, and get your heart beating faster—while you are sitting.
You need to be in a firm chair when you do these exercises. Remember to breathe as you do them, and rest a moment between each exercise.
If you haven't been active in a while, start with 5 to 10 minutes of exercise. As you feel stronger, increase how long you exercise. Change your programs around so you stay interested. You can do one program on one day, a different program the next day, and another on the third day. The goal is to be active each day.
The key to exercise is to do what works best for you. You can do the exercises all at one time, or you can do some in the morning and some at night. You can exercise during commercials while you watch TV. It's up to you.
Adding activity into your life may take some time before it becomes a habit. Here are some tips that may help:
For general information about becoming more active, see the topic Fitness: Getting and Staying Active.
Some minor soreness or stiffness is to be expected at first, but pain is a warning sign to stop.
Other Works Consulted
Bell M, et al. (2007). Chair exercises for older adults. University of Georgia, Department of Foods and Nutrition. Available online: http://www.livewellagewell.info/study/2007/12-ChairExercisesUGA113006.pdf.
National Institute on Aging (2011). Exercise and Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide From the National Institute on Aging. Available online: http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/exercise-physical-activity-your-everyday-guide-national-institute-aging-1.
Current as of:
May 12, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineElizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
Current as of: May 12, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.