After an injury to my foot prevented me from working out the way I was used to for a while, I went looking for ways to exercise that were still possible for me but also fun and affordable. There were options like swimming and lifting weights, but I wanted something similar to the dance and aerobics I'd been enjoying before.
The following are some cardio workouts you can do without using your feet or legs. They are all home workouts available for free on YouTube (although if you don't have YouTube Premium there might be ads in the middle) and you can do them in your own living room without any equipment besides a chair.
Warning: The author is not a medical professional, and this is not intended as health advice. Not all forms of exercise are suitable for everyone. You should consult your doctor before attempting any exercise.
1. Seated cardio with Paul Eugene
Paul Eugene is a retired healthcare professional in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. who has been hosting and producing a show called 'Exercising with Paul Eugene' on PCTV21 in Pittsburgh since 2002. You can find more information about him on his website . His YouTube channel includes lots of videos of seated workouts, which can be done either in a wheelchair or an ordinary chair. He radiates positive energy and makes you want to move.
The workouts are simple and straightforward enough for beginners. Most of them are around 30 minutes long.
Bee Gees Seated Dance Workout
This workout was designed with seniors in mind (although people of any age can give it a try), so it is relatively gentle, and set to some fun 70s music. It is 10 minutes long.
This channel, Improved Health hosts many low-impact fitness videos, including a few seated ones. You can find more information on their website .
Dynamite with Chair One Fitness
This is a seated dance workout, performed to Dynamite by BTS.
This workout actually didn't work for me because while it is performed seated, you still need to use your legs quite a lot, and it's a bit boring if you don't. However, it would probably suit someone who has limited mobility or balance issues but who can still use their legs a lot. It depends where you are at, so once again, consult your doctor if you are not sure whether this kind of workout is suitable for you.
Johanna runs Grow With Jo, a very popular channel, with over 5 million subscribers. If you are so inclined you can buy her app , which has meal plans and meditations as well as workouts. Personally I would take some of Jo's health advice with a grain of salt, but her dance workouts are certainly a lot of fun.
This seated workout is 13 minutes long, including a bit of a cool down at the end, and is set to music including The Who and ACDC. Jo does use her feet a bit while remaining seated, but you can just do the arm and torso movements without the legs if you prefer.
Can't Stop the Feeling - Sit Down with AJ
This is a short seated dance to Justin Timberlake's'Can't Stop the Feeling'. It's energising and a tonne of fun. If you're looking for something longer, AJ has also made an hour-long seated dance video which will really get you sweating. It features music from Lady Gaga, The Weeknd and Taylor Swift, among others
AJ is a choreographer and fitness coach, originally from Dublin. His website offers a monthly subscription service for on-demand videos of seated dance classes.
Lisa Ericson's Seated Aerobics Workout
Last but not least, there is my favourite seated workout, this vintage 80s aerobics session is instructed by the very athletic Lisa Ericson. Lisa is sadly no longer with us, but her video legacy can be enjoyed by wheelchair users or people in regular chairs. Lisa does the high impact version, and another instructor in the corner of the frame demonstrates a low impact version.
I feel you, dude!
Do not make the mistake of thinking that because you're sitting down, the workout will be easy. You might be more athletic than I am, but I found it tough to get through the first one. However, it's totally worth it. If you like, you can even add to the fun by dressing the part in legwarmers and a neon sweatband.