Last week I returned from a vacation to Las Vegas and thus, went on an airplane. After the thrill of the take off, there isn’t really much to do but sit and sit and sit. As I was sitting (along with everyone else), I noticed that some people had a very hard time standing either to head to the back of the plane or to get something from the overhead compartment. This observation made me do some thinking. I have been helping seniors keep moving throughout their daily lives, however I realized that when seniors are sitting for long periods of time, such as in an airplane or in a doctors’ office or even at home watching TV, keeping your circulation going is something that needs to be addressed. If there isn’t a way to do a standard workout, take a look at some ideas below for simple exercises and range of motion movements that can be done pretty much anywhere that you are sitting, be that an airplane seat or even a dentist chair ,however I don’t’ recommend you do these when the drill is approaching!
Keeping your upper body straight, chest out and abdominals (stomach area) in, bend your right knee and lift it as high as you can comfortably. Do this with the same leg for 10 repetitions and then place back on the floor. Do the same for the other leg. Lastly, alternate the right leg with knee bent and then the left (almost as in a seated march). Do all of these slowly and concentrate on keeping your abdominal muscles tight and remember to breathe!
Once you have warmed up the legs with the above exercises, it’s time for the knee circles. Bend your right knee again and lift it approximately 4” off the floor. Have your knee make an imaginary circle in the air and then return to starting position. Do this exercise for 10 repetitions and then repeat the process with the other leg.
Lift your right leg again with knee bent. Make a circle with your ankle for 10 repetitions , keep leg in the bent knee lifted position. Replace back on the floor. Lift again and roll your ankle the other way for 10 repetitions then place back on floor. Lastly, lift your leg again and roll your ankle one way for one complete circle and then roll your ankle the other way. This exercise is also done for 10 repetitions. Repeat for the other leg.
These exercises can be done anytime and anywhere – even with a seatbelt on. You’ll be surprised at how easy they are and the what a sense of accomplishment you will feel once the workout is done. These exercises take little time and can make a huge difference in using the time that you have while you are sitting to do something good for your body and also critical to keeping circulation moving at times when it’s needed the most! Enjoy and who knows… you may be the person that starts a group exercise on the next flight to Vegas!