What Is Sit and Be Fit™?

Jillian O Keeffe

The exercise program Sit and Be Fit™ is aimed at improving health in people who suffer from reduced mobility but who can perform exercises while sitting down. The program is broadcast in the United States and is available in audio, book or video format. The Sit and Be Fit™ group is a nonprofit organization.

Some exercise programs can be performed while seated.
Some exercise programs can be performed while seated.

The Sit and Be Fit™ television program was first broadcast in 1987. The program lasts half an hour and teaches movements to be performed while sitting in a chair. It was created by a nurse named Mary Ann Wilson, who specialized in rehabilitative care, care of the elderly and care of polio victims. She is also the host of the show. The program is available only on public television in North America, where it reaches more than 60 million households a year.

Chair exercises are a good option for those who are unsteady on their feet or have limited mobility.
Chair exercises are a good option for those who are unsteady on their feet or have limited mobility.

Some of the episodes focus specifically on certain medical conditions, such as Parkinson's disease or diabetes. A number of programs focus on exercises using props such as towels, canes or balls. Some Sit and Be Fit™ episodes are available in Spanish.

The techniques and movements demonstrated by the host of Sit and Be Fit™ have been created by Wilson and a team of medical professionals and exercise therapists. The exercise program is aimed primarily at elderly people, people who have limited mobility and those who suffer from chronic pain, although other people can also follow the program. The movements are gentle and slow to suit the target audience.

The Sit and Be Fit™ organization originally was a private company, but it gained nonprofit status in the United States in 2000. The organization is financed through personal donations, government grants and revenue from Sit and Be Fit™ products. These products include exercise videos or audio recordings of exercise instructions on compact discs or tapes. The charity also promotes health in its target audience by holding seminars and classes.

There has been little research into the efficacy of the Sit and Be Fit™ exercise program. Despite the lack of research, the organization has charitable status and has approval from some medical directors of centers for osteoporosis and geriatrics. The program might be beneficial in preventing falls and improving balance in older people. The exercise involved is gentle, so it might not be beneficial to those who need more vigorous exercise to improve their health and well-being.

Chair-based exercise programs can help seniors build strength and reduce pain during everyday activities.
Chair-based exercise programs can help seniors build strength and reduce pain during everyday activities.

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