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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown

Janet Aylott

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant


Chair exercise workout

Hello, I was advised that the Rosemary Conley's Ultimate Whole Body Workout would be good for me because I'm disabled and it has a 'chair workout' section. I currently use the Leanne's Chair Workout, which is in your database (yay), and I was just wondering if it would be possible that someone could find out the calories burned in just the chair workout section of the Ultimate Whole Body Workout would be. I'm assuming it would be nowhere near the standing version so I don't want to chance it and overestimate. Also... do you have any other recommendations for things I could do? I have a knee injury and swimming is impossible for me for several reasons. I don't want things to get boring but I can't seem to find anything else out there that would be suitable for me. Thanks Cryssie


Our expert says...


Calories are calculated based on the cardiovascular and strength demands of a given DVD content, together with the percentage and combination of muscle groups targeted and the potential for achieving intensity.  Based on these factors I would recommend using a figure of around 205 calories per hour for the Rosemary Conley's Ultimate Whole Body Workout DVD.  As the chair workout portion of the DVD is about 12 minutes long, you would be burning around 41 calories (give or take a bit depending on the level of intensity you put in to it).

Without knowing your exact disability and range of movement that you can perform it’s hard to give you very specific advice, but I hope the following ideas help.  There are still many types of exercises that you can complete to aid and improve your fitness levels while sitting down.  As well as the DVD options, you could consider using a ‘resistance band’.  You will probably be used to a lot of these exercises as I think they are used in ‘Leanne’s Chair Workout DVD’.  You can purchase one of these bands from a physiotherapist or most supermarkets stock them in their fitness sections (they only cost a few pounds).  They are a piece of stretchy rubber band that is designed to withhold quite a heavy level of resistance when stretched.  They often come in different colours and each colour represents a slightly different resistance level.

Resistance bands are an alternative to lifting weights and will help improve your strength, tone and joint stability.  For each exercise make sure you draw your tummy muscles in as you do this exercise to protect the lower back (if unsure on how to do this see previous forum questions for details of 'drawing in manouvre').

Here are some ideas that you could try:


Tuck the centre of the band under your feet or something heavy (maybe the wheels of the wheelchair or feet of a chair).  Hold one end of the band in one hand, and the other end in the other hand.  Start with your arms straight by your sides.  Lock your elbows at your sides (to stop them from moving in and out as you perform the exercise) and curl your forearm upwards towards your shoulder and slowly back down again.


While in a seated position, lift up onto your toes as high as your range of motion will allow you and then bring your heels back down to the floor. Make sure the whole movement takes at least 4 seconds to complete, i.e. don't go too fast!  This exercise works the back of the lower leg and helps prevent tissue retention around the ankles.


This time lock the centre of the band in a similar fashion to the first exercise and hold the ends of the bands again.  Bring both arms up so that your elbows are at 90 degrees at the sides of your body and the upper arm is horizontal to the floor.  This is your starting position.  Slowly extend both arms as you push the bands upwards above your head (your elbows will end up next to your ears), then bring them back to the start position again.  This exercise tones the shoulder area and back of the upper arm as well as aiding upper body circulation.


For this one you will need to loop the band around something secure (ie, a stair post) so that the band is behind you.  While seated, hold each end of the band with your arms extended at your sides and parallel to the floor (ie in a crucifix position).  Keeping your arms straight and parallel to the floor throughout the entire exercise, slowly bring your arms forwards so that they are straight out in front of your body, then back to the start again.  Be careful not to lean forward to assist the arms, make sure your chest and arms do the work by keeping your body as still as possible throughout.  This exercise works your chest muscles.


This is basically an opposite exercise to the chest flys above.  Keep the band looped round the secure post but turn yourself around so that you are facing the band and post.  Starting with your arms extended out in front of you and parallel to the floor), slowly pull the band towards you as you bend your elbows just behind your body.  Be careful to keep your upper body still and not lean forward.  The end position should see that the hands up on each side of your chest.  Then back to the start again.  This works your upper back muscles and will really help maintain a nice upright posture.

You could combine the above in a circuit fashion to provide a mini-workout that will get the circulation and heart going, burn calories and give your metabolic rate a boost, helping you to stay alert too!   Aim to complete each exercise 3 times for 15-20 repetitions.  Alternatively you could do them one at a time with about 30 seconds rest between sets.

If you are a member at a gym, another option for cardio exercise is the hand-bike (sometimes referred to as a grinder).  Not all gyms have these, but if you do belong maybe you could ask someone if there is one available.

I hope these ideas help you and best of luck with giving them a shot!


You are advised to seek medical advice before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle with an aim of weight loss. This website and the content provided should not be used by persons under 18, by pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with any type of health condition, except under the direct supervision of a qualified medical professional. The information contained in these articles, and elsewhere on this website, is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only, and is not intended to replace, and does not constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis and may not be used for such purposes. Continue...

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