Seated Aerobics with Arthritis Exercises

Wednesday, July 15 2020

Chair Dance’letics is a 45-minute workout that blends together arthritis exercises with seated aerobic choreography. Don’t teach chair classes?  Doesn’t matter. All fitness instructors have opportunities to make their land & water classes more purposeful by sneaking in AEA Arthritis Foundation Program Exercises. 

Taking a giant step out of my comfort zone, I taught a chair fitness session at the International Aquatic Fitness Conference (IAFC) 2019. This session, Chairfit Sports & Rec, was posted on Fitmotivation last July.  This year, I was supposed to lead another chair workout at IAFC 2020 in May.  Obviously, that didn’t happen. However, I am excited to post Fitmotivation’s second chair program, exactly one year after the first.  Chair Dance’letics will also be made available to the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) for them to share with IAFC conference attendees who have transferred their 2020 registration to 2021.     

Regardless of whether or not you teach chair classes, understanding how to blend Arthritis Foundation (AF) exercises into traditional class components is the same in both land and water exercise.  All fitness classes include a warm-up, a main conditioning component and a cool down/stretch.  Understanding how to sneak AF exercises into these class components can help transform your classes, making them more purposeful, functional and joint friendly.

Aquatic fitness instructors who don’t currently teach chair classes could consider using this workout as a substitute for days you can’t get in the pool, provided your facility has an area to set up chairs.  Instructors who already teach chair classes might be surprised to find out how creative you can get with AF exercises.  Similar to aquatic fitness base moves, AF exercises can be recreated over and over again with variations, providing AF leaders with an endless supply of purposeful choreography.   

Interested in learning more?   Consider completing the AEA Arthritis Foundation Program Leader Development Online Course.  Never in a million years would I have had the confidence to teach chair classes without first taking the AEA AF Program Leader Course online, which includes both the aquatic (AFAP) and exercise (AFEP) programs.  At the very least, get your copy of the AEA AF Program Leader Manual.  As mentioned in the above video, this manual is the primary resource I use to create my classes because it contains pictures and descriptions of all AFEP and AFAP exercises.  For $25.00, it is the most affordable resource you will ever obtain. Become an AEA Member and get 20% off all AKWA Shop products

Chair Dance’letics:  Video-At-A-Glance
This 45-minute workout features 8 segments and blends AF exercises with seated aerobic choreography.   The Chair Dance’letics choreography notes feature all of the AF exercises listed in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Segment 1:  Warm-up
The warm-up previews several of the AF exercises used in the aerobic combinations and also serves as a prep for joint mobility.

Segments 2 – 5:  Seated Aerobic Combinations
All four seated aerobic combinations include upper body, lower body and core exercises from the AF program.

Segment 6:  Standing Leg Work
Inspired by barre exercises, this leg segment provides an opportunity to stand up, stretch the legs and recruit lower body muscles in a manner that would be difficult seated in a chair.

Segment 7:  Seated Joint Mobility
All of the major articulations of the body are targeted in this joint tune-up with slower AF exercises designed to promote full range of motion. 

Segment 8:  Seated Stretch
The workout concludes with a seated stretch designed to provide flexibility and relaxation. 

Chair exercise has become an absolute favorite new format for me to sub at my local YMCA.  As an aging instructor, instructing chair exercise is an ideal way to maintain my passion for teaching without excess wear & tear on my body. I hope that more instructors are inspired to become an AEA Arthritis Foundation Program Leader and teach chair classes.   

Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.