Try This: ‘Busy bee’ exercise keeps impact low and safety high

Sara Haley demonstrates Busy Bee, a low-impact cardio move that tones the inner and outer thighs as it gives your heart rate a boost.

Sometimes, you just need a low-impact cardio workout. Maybe you’re recovering from an injury. Maybe you’re tired. Or maybe you’re pregnant and want to keep a cap on your heart rate.

Sara Haley, a Santa Monica-based pre- and postnatal exercise specialist and creator of the “Expecting More” workout series for pregnant women, says this move fits the bill. She calls it the “busy bee,” and you don’t need to be pregnant to do it. She says it’s a move you can also do in a hotel room while on the road. (Haley was five months pregnant at the time of this photo shoot. She has since given birth to a baby boy.)

What it does

This is a low-impact cardio move that tones the inner and outer thighs as it gives your heart rate a boost.


What to do

Stand beside a sturdy chair placed on a mat or carpet — someplace where the chair won’t slide away from you. Stand with feet a little wider than hip distance, toes slightly turned out. Reach first toward the seat of the chair with the outside hand. Then turn and reach away from the chair and toward the ceiling with your other hand. (You’re using the chair as a target, and for balance and support as needed, until you have the strength and flexibility to go all the way down to the floor, no chair needed.) Don’t twist at the waist: Reposition your feet as you turn and stretch. You’re going to work up a nice, gentle sweat in no time.

For an advanced move, you can step up the activity using the hand closest to the chair. Alternate reaching up to the ceiling and then down to the floor. So the pattern would be: chair seat, ceiling, chair seat, floor. Repeat.

How much


Haley suggests 30 seconds of movement, followed by 30 seconds of rest, and then move to the other side of the chair and repeat. You can do as many rounds as needed to get in your cardio workout. Pick up the pace as your condition allows.