Activity is beneficial in many forms including in a chair. One way to maximize the benefit of sitting is to practice good posture. Good posture involves sitting with your back straight, shoulders back, knees bent at a 90-degree angle and feet resting on the floor¹.

Once you implement good posture, consider beginning 5 additional effective chair exercises to maximize your chair activity.

  1. Engage and disengage your core to help strengthen your abdominal muscles. Begin by tightening and gently releasing your abs with your lower back up against the chair. Challenge yourself by increasing the number of reps or the duration you engage your core muscles.
  2. Try arm circles. One way to do arm circles is to touch your shoulders with your fingers and roll your arms forwards and backwards in a circular motion. You can even extend your arms away from your body and circle your arms forward with small, controlled motions. Challenge yourself even more by slowly increasing the size of your arm circles. Reverse the direction of arm circles after a certain duration of time.
  3. Work your triceps with triceps dips. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of your chair with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Slowly bend your elbows down and back up. Challenge yourself by lowering at a slow pace and then at a quicker pace. See how many times you can repeat this exercise.
  4. Work your legs while sitting with leg lifts. Sit on the edge of your chair with your knees bent then lean back at an angle while holding on to the armrest to provide support. Lift your bent legs up towards your chest, then lower, and repeat.
  5. Work your legs even more with chair squats. Stand in front of your chair with your legs shoulder-width apart. Squat down to your chair without touching it. Be sure to keep your back straight, knees above your feet and weight on your heels.

Be safe and avoid injury. Before you begin any new activity, be sure to consult your doctor. If you have a chronic condition, injury, or issues with balance, discuss how to safely engage in chair exercises with your doctor. Adjust chair exercises based on your doctors’ instructions. Further, listen to your body by stopping when you are feeling fatigued or if something does not feel right. Remember to continue breathing throughout all chair exercises.

Before you begin a new chair exercise, complete the following:

  • Choose a sturdy chair that will not move or rock when you use it for your exercises.
  • Place your chair against a wall or on carpet to reduce the chair from moving.
  • Select a chair where your feet are flat on the ground and your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Choose an open area where you there is plenty room for you to move.

For more information or ideas on chair exercises, view this great article written by Sheri Colberg-Ochs in Diabetes Forecast.

1. Cleveland Clinic. (2019, April 16). Back Health and Posture. (Retrieved from