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Chair Exercises Help Overall Fitness

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Staying active is a big part of good health. Exercise builds strength and endurance. It helps you feel better and sleep better, and that's not all.

Erica Perlmutter/ Physical Therapist: "It can decrease fatigue and allows you to have more energy in a day. So, so many times I think we forget about exercise when we get stressed, and that's when we need it most."

Erica Perlmutter, a physical therapist at California Pacific Medical Center, say's staying active is especially important for people limited by injuries or disabilities.

That's where 'armchair fitness' can help. Exercise videos for those who prefer to work-out in a chair.

Erica Perlmutter: "They are getting a lot of active movement through both arms and both legs and the trunk gives a lot of strengthening."

She says the videos can work well for people trying to recondition and build-up strength.

Erica Perlmutter: "Especially for the older population in which a lot of times just getting dressed and going through their day is so tiring."

Here's another option... a weight machine that accomodates a wheel chair. Designed for spine injuries, it lets you work out all the major muscle groups.

But find what you like, you're more likely to stick with it.

Erica Perlmutter: "If it was somebody who liked to swim, but now they are in a wheelchair, well, can we find a pool that has the ability to lift them into the pool, and they can continue to swim?"

Whether recovering from an injury or just making a commitment to good health, there's no time like the present and no reason not to.

"There are a lot of people who think, 'I can't get out of my chair now, I can't do anything.' But you can increase strength, and you can increase flexibility, and we have to move during the day. And if it's that you are sitting in a chair and moving your arms and legs while you're seated, that's better than not moving at all."

Before starting an exercise program, especially after an injury, be sure to check with your physician or physical therapist to make sure you're ready to do that activity. Doing a little homework ahead of time can help keep you from getting hurt.

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