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The bicycle works both upper and lower abdominal muscles.
Being confined to bed or having to generally limit the time you spend upright does not mean you have to completely abandon your fitness schedule. There are many exercises you can do lying down, including those that will raise your heart rate and help you burn calories. If you are on any sort of medically ordered bed rest, be sure to clear all exercises with your health-care provider.
Arm and Shoulder Workouts
- Shoulder presses can be done lying on the floor, your bed or a weight bench. Hold a free weight in each hand just in front of your armpits. Breathe in, and press the weight straight up in the air, perpendicular to your body, as you breathe out. Bring your hands back down as you inhale, and repeat. Do two sets of 12 repetitions. As with all exercises using weights, if you are just starting out or are recovering from a long convalescence, you can use a full can of soup in each hand instead, or do the movement with no weights at all.
- Start with your arms straight out to each side. Breathe in and exhale as you bring your hands together in the air over your chest without bending them. Breathe in as you return your arms to their starting position. Repeat for two sets of 12 reps.
- Start with your arms straight out to the sides, but bent at the elbows. Breathe in and exhale as you bring your hands together over your chest with your elbows still bent as though you are hugging a large bear. This exercise is meant to work your chest muscles, so concentrate on tightening them as you bring your hands together instead of letting the movement be controlled entirely by your shoulders. Do two sets of 12 reps per workout.
Abdominal and Core Exercises
Crunches and all of their variations are excellent for strengthening your core.
- Lie on your back with your feet flat, your knees bent and your fingertips lightly touching the back of your neck. Breathe in and exhale as you use your abdominal muscles to raise your shoulders to your knees. Breathe out as you return almost to your starting position, without letting your shoulders touch the floor or bed. Repeat for two sets of 12 reps.
- Start in the same position as the previous exercise, but this time breathe in and bring one elbow and the opposite knee together. Return to your starting position and repeat with the other elbow and knee. This works your obliques, which will give you a sleeker waistline. Do two sets of 12 reps per elbow.
- Lie in the same position as you have been. Breathe in and use your lower abdominals to raise your hips and bring your knees to your nose as you exhale. Lower your hips and legs until your feet almost touch their starting position. Repeat for two sets of 12 reps.
Lying Down Leg Workouts
- To tighten up your outer thighs, lie on your side with your legs straight. Breathe in and raise the top leg until it is at a 90-degree angle to your body as you exhale. Keep your foot flexed rather than pointed. Bring the leg down until it almost touches your other one, and raise it again. Do 12 reps. Turn onto your other side and raise that leg for 12 reps. Do another set with each leg.
- Work your inner thighs by starting out the same way as your previous exercise. Bend your top leg at the knee so that your thigh is at a 90-degree angle to your torso. Breathe in and raise your lower leg as far as you can while you exhale. Keep your foot flexed. Lower your leg almost all the way, and repeat for 12 reps. Turn over and do the other leg. Repeat the whole set.
Classic Cardio While Reclining
According to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, aerobic exercise is the best way to help keep your metabolism revved up and functioning at its peak. The best reclining aerobic exercise is an old classic called the bicycle. Lie on your back with your hands palm up under your hips. Lift your legs straight up in the air. Lift your behind up and support it with your hands. Breathe in and out slowly as you move your legs in the same motion you would use to ride a bicycle. Start slowly; speed up, and then slow down again. Using the big muscles in your thighs helps burn calories as the vigorous motion gets your heart rate up. Do five sets of 5 minutes each.