Keep your muscles and joints in shape with these 7 low-impact exercises you can do from your sofa

Workouts don't have to be all-out effort; try these 7 exercises you can perform on your sofa using a pillow

Curly haired young woman in top and shorts turns on online yoga training and practices exercises on floor mat against green sofa by wall
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Exercise can help you in a variety of ways, from keeping your muscles engaged to helping joints stay healthy over time. And while most people associate the word 'workout' with high-intensity training, you can do low-impact drills on your sofa, using nothing but a pillow and your bodyweight.

Exercising from your sofa has many benefits, such as the flexibility of getting the routine done at any time. Better still, you can mix and match exercises to build your own at-home workout whilst watching TV, without extra equipment!

To help you with your new sofa workout plan, Emma Goodman Horne, fitness expert at Goodnick, has shared seven simple exercises you can try today, as explained below.

1. Seated pillow squeezes

Start by sitting with your back straight and arms by your sides. Place a pillow between your knees and start to squeeze the pillow by contracting your inner thigh muscles. Hold the squeeze for 3 seconds and then relax. Repeat this move 12 times.

2. Seated scissors

Move to the edge of the sofa and sit up straight. Extend your legs straight in front of you, keeping them straight, cross your legs back and forth, like scissors. Aim for 50 back and forth motions, or as many as you can, with a rest in between 10. This move can be extended to your arms by criss-crossing them at the same time.

3. Calf and toe raises

Sit on the sofa with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Move onto your tiptoes by lifting your heels off the floor. Slowly lower your heels back down and repeat this move as much as you can. For toe raises, keep the same position but lift your toes off the floor so only your heel is on the ground.

woman stretching on the sofa

Sofa workouts can help you stay in shape without overloading the joints

(Image credit: Getty Images)

4. Overhead stretch

Sit comfortably at the edge of the sofa, keep both feet flat and your spine straight. Keep your hips and lower body in this stable position, and place both hands on your hips. Slowly raise both hands from the hips over the head, interlocking both hands at the top. Arch your back inward, pushing out your stomach. This will cause a stretch in the abdomen, hold for 10-20 seconds then release to starting position, repeat 3-5 times.

5. Neck turns

Sit comfortably on the sofa with your hips as far back as possible. Secure your core by keeping the back upright and the spine straight. Keep both feet flat on the floor and stay in this position. Rotate the head to either the left or right until you feel a gentle stretch, keep here for 20-30 seconds. After the time passes, rotate in the opposite direction, and repeat 5 times.

6. Marching

Sit with your back straight and arms by your side. Start by marching with alternative legs, bring up your thigh as high as possible and return to the starting position then do the same with your other leg. If possible, pump your arms for added cardio, do a total of 20 marches, or continue at your own pace for 30 seconds.

7. Pillow rotations

Sitting on the edge, bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Hold a pillow in your hands with your arms straight out in front of you. If possible, lift your legs straight out in front of you, then rotate the pillow from hip to hip in a figure 8 move. If your lower back has pain, you can put your feet back on the ground and lean back at a 20-degree angle on the sofa and continue the movements.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.