Seated POTS Exercises: Chair Cardio Routine

seated POTS exercises

Hi, friends! It’s been a while since I’ve shared a workout. And the following routine is one I’ve been wanting to share for a long time, so I finally put it all together! It’s a workout full of seated POTS exercises, which means you can do this entire routine from the comfort and safety of a chair. Did I mention it’s a cardio routine? 

For a little background, I started doing a routine similar to this one during my recovery from my lower back nerve injury years ago. My feet were still super sensitive to putting weight on them, which meant that any impact exercise was out of the question. 

But I’d taken an aerobics class in undergrad, and I remembered one class where we performed a seated cardio routine. Granted, the routine was intended for seniors and/or pregnant women. However, any kind of seated exercise is a great alternative for POTSies, too!

So, that’s where the inspiration for this POTS-friendly chair cardio routine came from. You can check out the graphics below for the full routine, and I’ll offer explainer notes for a few moves. Plus, you’ll see my suggestions for how to complete the seated POTS exercises.

This blog post contains affiliate links, and I may earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Also, I am not a medical doctor or certified personal trainer. Please consult your doctor before beginning this or any new exercise. Full disclaimer here.

seated POTS exercise chair cardio routine
seated POTS exercise chair cardio routine

Wearing: Top: Lemedy Padded Sports Bra Tank Top; Bottoms: Lululemon Align High-Rise Leggings

How to Perform the Seated POTS Exercises

Let me start by saying that this workout should be individualized. Meaning, you can take my suggestions as a guide, but always, always, always, listen to your body. Modify the workout to your abilities. If you can only perform each move for 15 or 30 seconds, start there! If you can only get through one set of the exercises, great work! You can slowly build on your starting point. 

When I did this chair cardio routine, I followed these instructions:

  1. Perform each seated POTS exercise for one minute each. There are 7 exercises total. (Have a timer handy!)
  2. *Complete 2-4 sets of the exercises.
  3. Keep an eye on your heart rate throughout the routine. If it creeps higher than your target heart rate zone, take a short break until it comes back down within your exercise range. Do this at any point throughout the workout! (This is yet another reason why heart rate monitors are so important for daily life with POTS.)
  4. Optional, but highly encouraged: Play fast-tempo, high-energy pop music that will get you motivated and have this workout feeling like a dance party! 

*Please note: Depending on your fitness level, you may need to complete anywhere between 2-4 sets of the exercises. My goal with this chair cardio routine is to get between 20-30 minutes of aerobic activity. If you need to take several breaks during the routine, chances are, you will reach that time threshold sooner with fewer sets. If you are in awesome shape and take only two, one-minute breaks, you’ll complete four sets of the seven exercises and have completed a 30 minute workout. 

Exercise Notes

Arm Ergometer Circles: For this move, you will simply pretend you are using an arm ergometer. (See video example.) Rotate your arms in a circular motion in front of your body.

Alternating Front Punch: Perform quick punches in front of your body. The faster you can go, the harder you will work your cardiovascular system!

Seated Heel Jacks: For this chair cardio exercise, mimic the movement of a regular jumping jack. Just keep your butt on the chair, and let your arms and legs do all the moving.

The rest of the moves should be self-explanatory from the pictures. But if anyone needs clarification, let me know in the comments below.  

Optional moves to add or replace with any that you may not like:

  • Do seated core twists. While keeping your lower body still and facing forward, rotate your torso to the left and then to the right. Brace your abs to really work your core.
  • Place a heavy book on your lap (or a 5-10 lbs dumbbell). Perform a seated calf raise. Lift and press the book or weight overhead. Lower to lap and repeat. 
  • Add light dumbbells (2-5 lbs) to alternating front punches for an added challenge. 

Make sure to cool down and stretch once you finish the workout. Focus on stretching your upper body and quads. One stretch I love is laying with my butt up on the edge of a bed and letting one leg dangle off the side. Then, I hold the opposite leg tight into my stomach at the same time. This stretches the groin area and the upper quad — two areas that do a lot of work in this routine for the leg-lifting exercises. 

If you try out this chair cardio routine of seated POTS exercises, let me know what you think of it! You can also try my seated upper body workout for beginners next, or my total body floor workout that’s also a part of my POTS exercise series.

Like this workout? Be sure to share it on social and pin it for later reference!

Be well all!



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