Seated Exercises For People With Limited Mobility

Updated: October 20, 2022

Senior Women Exercising While Sitting With Ball

Last month, I shared with you 4 easy chair exercises that you can do at home. To complete that series, I want to share with you 4 exercises that are completely seated.

We understand that some of you have restricted mobility due to previous injuries, fractures, soreness, osteoarthritis, or other complications. For those of you who commented on our previous post, asking for exercises that were fully seated, this one’s for you!

I don’t want to bore you again with all the benefits of exercise for osteoporosis and bone health – they’re available here in case you want to go over all the information again.

But in case you missed it here’s a summary of the benefits of exercise:

  1. Minimize bone loss and possibly reduce the risk of broken bones
  2. Increase muscle strength
  3. Improve balance
  4. Improve your sense of wellbeing
  5. Improve cognitive (brain) function
  6. Make you better able to carry out daily tasks and activities
  7. Maintain or improve posture
  8. Relieve or decrease pain associated with other conditions such as osteoarthritis
  9. Reduce risk of falls
  10. Reduce risk of many medical conditions

Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

Even when you’re unable to hit the gym or get involved in higher impact exercises, it’s still possible to move your body and stretch out that spine.

Now I do want to remind you that before starting any new exercise it’s important not to rush into them too quickly. Start the movements slowly and safely to become familiar with them.

Also, exercise must be done regularly to reap the benefits mentioned above. The general recommendation is around 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

Here are 3 easy seated exercises!

Sunshine Arm Circles

This exercise focuses on the torso and shoulders while opening up the ribcage.

  • While sitting in a chair with good posture, hold a ball in both hands with arms extended above your head or a bit in front of you. Keep your elbows just a little bent.
  • Pretend their is a clock in front of you and make a full circle with the ball.
  • Then circle the ball back around to the same position. These should be slow, fluid and controlled motions.
  • Keep alternating circle directions for 8 repetitions. Rest.
  • Do another set of 8 repetitions.

Note: You don’t need to have a ball for this, you can use your imagination! If it is difficult to bring your arms overhead, extend them out in front of you. Then move arms as if drawing a circle on the wall with or without the ball. Once you are familiar with the motion and have done it many times, you can increase the weight of the ball!

Hand Squeeze

This one focuses on grip strength and your chest which are needed for daily activities.

  • Sitting down with good posture, hold a ball with both hands in front of your body.
  • Squeeze the ball to activate the finger joints, then without hurrying, press the ball with both hands, as if trying to deflate the ball.
  • Hold for 4 seconds and slowly release.
  • Repeat the exercise 8 times, rest, then do another set of 8 repetitions.

Shin Strengtheners

As the name of the exercise describes, this one targets the shins! And also the lower legs.

  • For the shin strengtheners you want to be sitting on the edge of a chair, with your legs extended in front of you.
  • Keep yours knees slightly bent and place your heels on the floor, toes pointed upward.
  • Point the toes downward, then flex them upward.
  • Do 10 to 15 sets of pointing and flexing. Rest.
  • Do another set of 10 to 15 repetitions.

Extra challenge:

  • Sitting in the same position as above, flex the toes and place the ball on top of your shoelaces.
  • Try to hold the ball with flexed toes in that position for about 10 seconds, or as long as you can.
  • Repeat 1 to 2 times, resting for a few seconds between each exertion.

I hope you keep these exercises in the back of your mind for all the times you are sitting down. Comment below if you do these at home already and if you would like some more recommendations!


  1. Hadgraft NT, Lynch BM, Clark BK, Healy GN, Owen N, Dunstan DW. Excessive sitting at work and at home: Correlates of occupational sitting and TV viewing time in working adults. BMC Public Health. 2015;15:899. doi:10.1186/s12889-015-2243-y.
  2. Gába A, Cuberek R, Svoboda Z, et al. The effect of brisk walking on postural stability, bone mineral density, body weight and composition in women over 50 years with a sedentary occupation: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Women’s Health. 2016;16:63. doi:10.1186/s12905-016-0343-1.

Article Comments

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  1. Georgiana

    October 22, 2016 , 5:49 am

    Thank you for the seated exercises!

  2. Olive Bird

    December 2, 2016 , 5:45 pm

    I use a wheelie walker now, and these exercises are obvious….but I never thought of doing them until now, thank you !!!!

  3. Monica

    December 3, 2016 , 10:04 am

    Wonderful to hear, Olive! You’re welcome 🙂

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  4. Barbara H Burlison

    November 18, 2017 , 8:17 am

    I am very interested in doing these exercises since I have been in a wheelchair for some time.
    The problem is that when I open the site I lose the directions – keep the illistration but lose the words of the directions. Can you help me?

  5. Monica

    November 20, 2017 , 12:55 am

    Hi Barbara,

    Sorry to hear the post isn’t working properly for you. If you would like to print this post with the pictures and directions, we have a green printer button on the left-hand-side of the page that will allow you to do this. If you are looking to do the exercises while referring to this post on your computer, it may be because your current browser is having some difficulties. You can try restarting your browser or try opening this in a new browser.

    If you’d like to call in and speak to a Bone Health Consultant, we can send you a PDF of this post with the illustrations or figure out what may be happening with your browser. You can call 1-800-820-0184.

    – Monica

  6. Gerri Doyon

    October 29, 2019 , 1:39 pm

    Thank You! Perfect timing.

  7. Megan AlgaeCal

    October 29, 2019 , 1:58 pm

    Glad we could be of help, Gerri!!

    Let us know what you think of the exercises ?

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  8. Joan Beech

    November 8, 2019 , 9:34 pm

    I have really appreciated these exercises. I can’t lift my butt off the floor very much at present but at 92 I am trying! The sitting exercises are a gift. Thank you!

  9. Megan AlgaeCal

    November 12, 2019 , 1:44 pm

    Wow! At 92, that’s very impressive Joan!! ?

    Keep up the great work – we’re so glad you enjoy these exercises ?

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  10. Mahin

    October 30, 2021 , 8:49 am

    My thanks and appreciation to AlgaeCal support for sending me very useful
    exercises that help me for my problems a lot.

  11. Ishneet AlgaeCal

    November 2, 2021 , 8:02 am

    Hi Mahin!

    You are most welcome and we are very glad to know that you enjoyed the information! 🙂

    – Ishneet @ AlgaeCal

  12. debbie vensel

    December 13, 2022 , 1:36 pm

    Hi I’ve had knee surgery last Thursday and have been in a recliner ever since.. I was moved to bed last night by getting on my Walker and pushed by my husband. I have to change my dressing today( 4-5 days) but I cannot get over the tub to get a shower. I have gotten a shower seat to use once I can get into the shower. Do you have any further therapy I can do in this chair to try to strengthen myself to get hobbling around this house? I have been keeping my legs elevated in my recliner the entire time & I have a knee brace on it off (taking it off occasionally to put ice on it)

  13. Chelsea Dugas

    December 15, 2022 , 9:17 am

    Sorry to hear of your recent surgery and the challenges that recovery presents, Debbie. Considering how recent your surgery was, please be gentle with yourself! The seated exercises should be enough for now and be sure to confirm with your doctor if they are right for you at this time. Though you had surgery and not a fracture, our Bone Fracture Healing Guide may also be helpful. Be sure to also nourish your bones with plenty of the necessary nutrients they need! Here is our Calcium-Rich Foods List and Magnesium-Rich Foods List to get you started. Please feel free to contact our Bone Health Consultants 7 days a week at 1-800-820-0184 (USA & Canada, toll-free) or email [email protected] for more information and personalized support. Hope this helps! 🙂

    – Chelsea @ AlgaeCal

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,