You might want to sit down for this: You don't need to be able to run — or even walk — to get a heart-pumping, total-body cardio workout. If your mobility is limited because of an illness or injury, you can still keep your heart and lungs in good shape, and lose weight, with chair aerobics. Do the exercises back-to-back with as little rest as you need to keep your heart rate up for the maximum benefits.
1. Chair March
Get your body primed for more intense movement with this easy seated march.
HOW TO DO IT: Sit tall with your spine erect, feet flat on the floor and arms at your sides. Pick up your right foot, lifting your knee toward your chest, then lower it and pick up your left foot. Bend your elbows and pump your arms back and forth. Continue for 60 seconds to 2 minutes.
2. Side to Side
This move builds some heat and works your arms, abs and outer thighs.
HOW TO DO IT: Sit tall and extend your arms out like a T. Open your right leg out to the right and bend your elbows, bringing your hands into your chest. Switch legs as you extend your arms. Alternate back and forth for 60 seconds to 2 minutes, picking up the pace as soon as you've got the rhythm down.
3. Jumping Jacks
This is the exact same movement as standing jumping jacks — without the actual jump, of course.
HOW TO DO IT: Start with your knees and feet together and your elbows bent, hands together in the center of your chest. Open your arms out into a wide V overhead, and open your legs out, toes on the floor. Bring everything back to center and repeat for 60 seconds to two minutes.
4. Figure Eights
This fun and fluid movement really gets the heart rate up while strengthening the shoulders and increasing range-of-motion.
HOW TO DO IT: Sit tall with your feet flat on the floor. Extend both arms straight out in front of you, palms together. Swoop your arms down to the right. Come down past your hips then around the curve and swoop your arms up and across your body. Swoop down past your left hips then up and over. Continue in the figure eight motion for 60 seconds to 2 minutes.
This is the chair version of the popular abs exercise usually done on the floor. It builds a good sweat and works all the muscles of your midsection.
HOW TO DO IT: Sit tall and cup your fingers behind your ears. Lift your left knee, rotate your torso to the left and bring your right elbow across to touch your left knee. Come back through center, raising your right knee this time and bringing your left elbow across to touch. Repeat the move for 60 seconds to 2 minutes.
6. Kicks and Punches
Get into fighting mode for this intense kickboxing-inspired move. Using your legs and arms together takes more effort and gets your heart pumping.
HOW TO DO IT: Sit up tall and contract your core muscles. Punch your right fist across your body, straightening your arm, as you kick your left leg out. Then punch your left fist across your body and kick your right leg out. Continue to alternate for 60 seconds to 2 minutes.