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Cardiovascular Exercises

The following cardio exercises can be done in a seated or standing position. If standing you can use a chair or countertop for balance and support.  When performing these exercises, remember to not let your pain increase by more than two points from your starting pain level. Start with performing each exercise for 30 seconds per exercise and increase the time as it becomes easier for you to perform. Try to complete exercises in a quick repetitive manner to increase your heart rate.  You should strive to exercise at the 4-5 moderate level (feel like you can exercise for long periods of time, able to talk and hold short conversations) on the Borg Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale. As with any exercise, be sure to work at your own rate. 

Seated – Perform the following exercises in a seated position maintaining good posture and body position.

Upper Body Cardiovascular Exercises

  1. Arm bike – Bring arms up in front and move arms as if pedaling a bicycle. Bicycle arms forward and backward. 
  2. Half jacks – Arms straight at your sides. Bring arms up over your head and down repeatedly.
  3. Stir the pot – Clasp your hands straight out in front of your body. Circle your arms quickly in a clockwise motion, then switch to counter clockwise.
  4. Reaching 1 arm Up – Start with arms straight at your sides. Reach right arm up and over your head and down then reach left arm up and over your head and down. Continue exercise by quickly alternating right and left arms.
  5. Reaching Both Arms Up – Start with arms straight at your sides. Reach both arms up and down at the same time. Repeat by quickly reaching arms up and down.
  6. Cross Body Reach – Reach right arm across your body and then reach your left arm across your body in a cross body punching motion. Continue exercise by quickly alternating right and left arms.
  7. Reaching Both Arms Side – Start with arms resting on your lap.  Lift both arms straight out to the right side. Bring arms back to starting position. Reach both arms straight out to the left side. Bring arms back to the starting position. Continue to alternate quickly reaching arms right and left. 

Lower Body Cardiovascular Exercises

  1. Toe Tapping Single Leg – Start with feet together. Tap your right foot forward and back to the starting position. Tap right foot to the side and back to the starting position. Repeat with the left foot.
  2. Toe Tapping Both Legs – Start with feet together. Tap both feet forward and back to the starting position. Tap both feet out to the side by separating feet apart, and back to the starting position. Repeat sequence quickly. 
  3. Marching – Start with feet flat on the floor. Lift 1 foot up/down and alternate with the other foot as if marching.
  4. Kicks – Start with feet on the floor. Straighten right leg and lift leg up/down in front. Return right leg to starting position. Straighten left leg and lift up/down in front. Return left leg to starting position. Continue alternating kicks with each leg.     

Standing – Make sure you have an enough space to move.  A chair or countertop can be used to assist with balance during these exercises. 

Higher Level Standing Cardiovascular Exercises

  1. Marching/Walking – March in place by alternating lifting your legs up and down. You can also walk around your living area. 
  2. Tapping – Feet shoulder width apart. Tap your right foot to the front (12:00 on a clock) and bring it back to the starting position. Tap your right foot to the side (3:00 on a clock) and back to the starting position. Tap your right foot to the back (6:00 on a clock) and bring it back to the starting position. Repeat sequence with left leg tapping at Front (12:00 on a clock), Side (9:00 on a clock), and Back (6:00 on a clock). Continue alternating feet. 
  3. Side Step – Start with feet together. Step right foot to the right, bring left foot to right foot so feet are now together. Step left foot to the left, bring right foot to the left foot so feet are now back at the starting position. Continue alternating stepping feet apart and back together. 
  4. Half Jacks (arms only) – Start with feet shoulder width apart and arms at your sides. Bring arms up over your head and back down repeatedly. 
  5. Half Jacks (legs only) – Feet shoulder width apart. Jump with both legs apart to the sides and then jump feet back together. You may need to use a chair or countertop for balance for this exercise. 

Higher Level Whole Body Cardiovascular Exercises

  1. Step and Reach One Arm Up – Feet Shoulder Width Apart and arms long at sides. Step right foot next to your left foot as you reach your Right arm overhead. Step right foot back to starting position as you bring your right arm back down to your side.  Step left foot next to your right foot as you reach your left arm overhead. Step left foot back to the starting position as you bring your left arm back down to your side. Continue to repeat sequence.
  2. Step and Reach Both Arms Up – Feet shoulder width apart and arms long at your sides. Step right foot next to your left foot as you reach both arms up overhead. Step right foot back to starting position as you bring your arms back down to your sides. Step left foot next to your right foot as you reach both arms up overhead. Step left foot back to the starting position as you bring your arms back down to your sides. Continue to repeat sequence. 
  3. Step and Reach Side One Arm – Feet shoulder width apart and arms long at sides. Step right foot next to your left foot as you reach your right arm across your body as if doing a cross body punch. Step right foot back to the starting position as you bring your right arm back down to your side.  Step left foot next to your right foot as you reach your left arm across your body as if doing a cross body punch. Step left foot back to the starting position as you bring your left arm back down to your side. Continue to repeat sequence. 
  4. Step and Reach Side Both Arms – Feet shoulder width apart and arms long at sides. Step right foot next to your left foot as you reach both arms across your body to the left. Step right foot back to the starting position as you bring both arms back down to your sides. Step left foot next to your right foot as you reach both arms across your body to the right. Step left foot back to the starting position as you bring both arms back down to your sides. Continue to repeat sequence. 
  5. Mini skip – Skipping in place using both arms.
  6. Mountain climbing – Lift one arm and the opposite knee up towards the ceiling. Return to starting position. Switch sides and continue alternating arms and legs. 

For questions, please call 610-776-3167.