Physical activity has been proven to be one of the most beneficial ways to help improve health and wellbeing. Being physically active can help reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and control our blood pressure. It can also help boost our self esteem, reduce the risk of depression, stress and anxiety alongside reducing the risk of falls and maintaining our quality of life and independence for day to day activitiefor the less mobile or older population  

So what about if you can’t get out and about to exercise anywhere other than in your house? Fear not. Our Senior Exercise Therapist Kelly Brown is on hand with a set of exercises you can do using nothing more than a chair for equipment.

These exercises will help you to keep active. They don’t all have to be done in one go, and the best thing about them is you can do them all while watching your favourite Netflix boxset or pick a couple to do during the advert breaks of your regular TV shows.

A solid wooden chair works best for these, and if you have issues with balance, go for one with arms for extra support. Definitely don’t try and do this on a desk chair or anything else that is unstable. Make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothing and have supportive, flat-soled shoes on.

Before we start, some important safety advice

Any exercise program, even in healthy individuals, carries risk. Not all exercise programs are suitable for everyone, if unsure please consult your health care professional before beginning any fitness program. Please use your own personal judgement when using these exercise videos and guidance sheets and never exercise beyond the level at which you feel comfortable. If at any point you begin to feel faint, dizzy, experience significant shortness of breath or any physical discomfort you should stop immediately and consult your medical professional.

By performing any of the exercises demonstrated in our video or guidance sheets, you are doing so at your own risk. The Fire Fighters Charity cannot accept any liability for any injury or harm you may sustain as a result of performing these exercises. Thanks for your understanding.

Remember exercise should be fun and enjoyable!

For those of you who prefer to use pictures to video, here’s each exercise one step at a time. Remember, it is important to think about your posture throughout.  

Starting position: sit tall, shoulders broad and both feet placed flat on the floor.

Mobility Exercises 

Ankle circles: Lift one foot and draw x5 circles clockwise and x5 anticlockwise with your toes. Make sure you do both feet.


Toe Taps: Straighten one knee and tap your toe on the floor in front of you then return your foot back in front of the chair. Repeat x10 on each leg


Heel Digs: This time straighten your knee and tap your heel in to the floor then return your foot back to in front of the chair. Repeat x10 on each leg.


Seated Marching: Keeping your knees bent lift on foot, then the other off the floor. Repeat x10 marches on each leg.


Arm Criss Cross: Take both arms out to the side then bring across your body and then back out to the side. Repeat x10 times.


Seated trunk rotations: Cross your arms over your body, keeping your feet flat on the floor twist your trunk to the right and hold for 3-5 seconds, relax and then twist your trunk to the left again holding for 3-5 seconds. This should feel like a slight stretch through your trunk. Repeat x3 each side.

Strengthening Exercises 

Arm lifts: Lift your right arm straight up in front of you and above your head, return it back to your side and then do the same on your left. Repeat x5 on each arm. (To make these harder you can use bottles of water or tins of food to add some light resistance)


Sit to Stand: Move forwards to the front of your chair, distribute your weight evenly over both feet and stand up, slowly sit back down. Repeat x10


Punches: Punch your right arm directly out in front of you and then repeat with the left. Repeat x10 each arm. (To make these harder combine with toe taps/heel digs from the mobility exercises, then try to do opposite arm/leg to challenge your co-ordination)

These next few exercises are to be performed standing behind the chair, using the back of the chair for support 

Heel Raises: Lift your heels off the floor so you are standing on your tip toes and lower slowly back down. Repeat x10 (Try performing on a single leg to make harder.) 


Side Step: Take your right leg out to the side and tap your foot on to the floor, then return back to standing. Repeat on your left leg. Repeat x5 each leg.


Step Backs: Take your right leg out behind you and tap your toe on to the floor. Repeat the same movement on your left leg. Repeat x5 each leg in total.


Half squat: Have your feet hip width apart, bend your knees and hips as though you are going to sit down, lower half way and then stand back up tall. Repeat x10. 


Calf Stretch: Still standing behind your chair, using the back for support. Take one foot behind you, keeping both feet pointing forwards and flat on the floor. Gently transfer your weight on to your front leg and you should feel a gentle stretch in your calf on your back leg. Hold for 10-15seconds and repeat on both legs x2 or 3.


Hamstring stretch: Now sit back down on your chair, think about your posture whilst sitting. Sitting towards the front of your chair, take one leg out in front of you and gently stretch down towards it. Hold for 10-15 seconds and you should feel this stretch down the back of your leg in your hamstrings. Repeat x3 on each leg.


Chest Stretch: Take both arms out to the side and gently push your chest forwards, hold for 10-15seconds then relax. Repeat x3 of these.


Shoulder Stretch: Sitting tall with both feet flat on the floor, take one arm over your body and support with the other arm. Hold for 15-20seconds and you should feel this across the back of your shoulder. Repeat x3 on each arm.


Last one! Shoulder shrugs: Shrug both of your shoulders up towards your ears and then lower them down towards the floor. Repeat x3