Seated Exercises to Get Ready to Go Back to the Pool

As the pools reopen and group activities kick off in the coming weeks, we want to help our swimmers and volunteers to go back to swimming safely. We’ve compiled a series of gentle exercises to help improve your mobility and prevent any injury. Don’t worry if you haven’t done much exercise for a while, take it easy and at your own pace: you can build up slowly and aim to gradually increase the repetitions of each exercise over time. Simply wear loose, comfortable clothing and drink some water to keep your body hydrated.

Last week, we talked about multiple sclerosis and how it can impact people’s mobility so we’ve especially targeted seated exercises that are accessible for wheelchair users, but bear in mind those exercises are also useful if you work from home and spend most of your day sitting at your desk in front of a laptop. If you use a chair, make sure the chair you’re using is stable and solid.

Quick Warm-up

Let’s start with a 2-minute warm-up to get your heart rate up and loosen your muscles.

Flexibility and Posture

Spending time sitting can affect your back and make your muscles stiff. Sit straight on your chair and try those exercises. Go slowly and breathe while doing those, it’s important to be relaxed when stretching. Hold the position for a few seconds before letting go and repeating a few times, including with the opposite side.

  • To stretch the neck muscles: turn your head to the side as far as it will go. Another option is to lower your ear to your shoulder.
  • To stretch the back of your arm, grab one elbow with the opposite hand and gently pull your elbow behind your head.
  • To stretch the back of your neck and shoulder muscles: tuck your chin in and down to your check.
  • To stretch your truck: bend your right side over and touch the floor with your right hand. Another option is to put your arms out to the side and shift your shoulders sideways to the right.
  • To stretch your lower back and hamstrings: bend forward and stretch toward the floor.
  • To stretch your shoulders, wrap your arms around the chair back and pull backward away from it.

You can see images of those exercises below.

Examples of seated stretching exercises.
Source: Stretching toward better health, North Dakota State University

If you like yoga, you can try this 8-minute adaptive chair yoga session. If you want specific breathing exercises to do at home, check out our previous blog.

Going Outdoors

As the restrictions are being progressively lifted and the spring has arrived, you may want to enjoy a bit of sunshine and fresh air by exercising outdoors. If you’re lucky to have a park nearby with accessible outdoor gym equipment like in the picture below, you can exercise your arms and back thanks to machines like chest press, pull down or arm bike. Make sure to follow the government’s guidance to be safe when using the equipment.

2-person accessible chest press. Source: Greenfields Outdoor Fitness

Are you ready to go swimming? Start working on your technique with those home exercises. We look forward to seeing you soon at the swimming sessions.

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