By Tay Hung Yong, Physiotherapist, Singapore Heart Foundation
Excerpt of article that first appeared in heartline, Dec 2009 issue.
Ever felt helpless because you wish to get more active but your arthritic knees do not seem to co-operate with you? Or perhaps due to certain medical conditions, you have to spend a great amount of time on the chair? Then, chair aerobics may be a way to tear down that barrier to exercise!
Chair aerobics is a form of aerobic exercise where the participant stays seated in a chair for the duration of the exercise session. Normally targeted at those with mobility problems, chair aerobics aim to give a complete workout while limiting the stress and strain on joints.
You can choose your own pace when performing chair aerobics. You can also choose how hard you want to work yourself out. A strengthening component can be added to the exercise by using dumbbells, exercise bands and ankle weights. If you are not keen to spend on such accessories, filled-up water bottles can be used as weights too.
A typical aerobic workout consists of a warm-up (at least 5 to 10 minutes), aerobic work (approximately 30 minutes or longer), cool-down (at least 5 to 10 minutes or longer if needed for heart rate recovery) and stretching/relaxation (at least 5 to 10 minutes if time permits). If you find yourself unable to endure longer periods of exercise, you can always shorten the actual workout by half.
Below are some illustrations of the exercises you can do:
Chair Warm-Up Techniques
Never stretch a “cold” muscle. The following pictures show how you can warm up:
a) Do Marching On The Spot (MOTS) while sitting down, combined with hand movement (hand clenching and punching into the air)坐在椅子上，两脚原地踏步，可配合手部动作，双手紧握或向空中击拳。
b) Turn the toes inward and outward for 8 counts of 8.
Shoulders (肩膀 – 三角肌)