Get Started
Get Started

Health & Exercise Forum

Help Maintain a Healthy Immune System with Exercise: 10 Best Exercises Using Resistance Bands (Part 2 of 2)

, ,
Mar 30, 2020
Paul J. Mackarey, PT, DHSc, OCS

A healthy immune system may be the difference between recovery from illness and dying. While you may not be able to improve an otherwise healthy immune system, you can take steps to maintain its health and integrity. Exercise is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy immune system.

With the closing of fitness centers, school gyms and exercise classes due to COVID-19, it may be a good time to begin a home exercise program that is quick and easy. For some, home exercises can be done before or after working from home to gain or maintain muscle tone. For others, home exercises may help maintain independence and safety performing daily activities around the house such as; climbing stairs, getting in and out of a shower, putting on shoes and socks, cooking, cleaning, and carrying groceries or laundry. 

I have comprised 10 simple exercises including upper and lower body and balance and core. The only equipment you will need is a chair and resistance bands; yellow has the least resistance, black the most, red, green, blue in between. They can be purchased at any sporting goods or department store.

Remember, for most people it is more harmful not to exercise, so contact your physician to discuss whether independent exercise is appropriate for you. If you have special needs, you may need to consult with a physical therapist to get started. Good luck…I hope this helps you survive the COVID-19 quarantine!

Sitting Exercises with Resistance Band

These exercises are performed while sitting in a chair with a backrest, slowly. Hold the position for 3 seconds. Perform 5 -10 repetitions. Do these exercises 3-5 times per week. Begin with a yellow light resistance band. 

Row the Boat (PHOTO 1)

  • Tie the resistance band to a doorknob. 
  • Pull both arms back at a 45-degree angle with bent elbows as if “rowing a boat.”

Saw Wood (Photo 2)

  • Tie the resistance band to a doorknob.
  • Pull both arms back with arms at side with bent elbows as if “sawing wood”

Elbow Extension (Photo 3)

  • Place band around your back or the back of the chair.
  • Extend your elbows in a punching motion.
  • Switch arms. 

Hip Spread (Photo 4)

  • Tie the band around your legs, above your hips.
  • Spread your legs apart and keep feet on the floor.

Hip Hike (Photo 5)

  • Tie the band in a circle.
  • Place the left THIGH under the loop while placing the right foot on the knot.
  • Hike the right hip up 4-6 inches while pushing the left heel down.
  • Switch legs. 

Leg Kicks (Photo 6)

  • Set up as in Hip Hike BUT place the band on the left SHIN. 
  • Extend the left knee as if kicking the foot forward to 45 degrees. 
  • Switch legs. 

Standing Exercises with Resistance Band:

Shoulder Shrug (Photo 7)

  • Stand on top of the band.
  • Shrug top of shoulders up toward the ears.

Elbow Bend (Photo 8)

  • Stand on top of the band.
  • Bend elbows. 

Standing Leg Curl (Photo 9)

  • Stand and face countertop, and hold on for balance.
  • Tie the band in a circle.
  • Place the left calf under the loop while placing the right foot on the knot.
  • Bend the left leg up to 90 degrees while pushing the right foot to hold the band. Then, switch legs. 

Standing Walk Aways  - Backward (Photo 10)

  • Tie a long band around a door knob or pole and then around your waist.
  • Facing the doorknob, pick up slack in the band and slowly walk away backwards 5-7 steps.
  • Hold for 3 seconds.
  • Slowly return to starting position by walking forwards. 

Standing Walk Aways  - Forward 

  • Using same set-up as backward walkways, but turn around so the doorknob is at your back.
  • Slowly walk away forward 5-7 steps.
  • Hold 3 seconds.
  • Slowly return to starting position by walking backwards. 

Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.      

Keep moving, eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and live long and well!

Read Dr. Mackarey’s "Health & Exercise Forum" every Monday in the Scranton Times-Tribune.

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email:

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.