9 Easy Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk

By Ashley Henshaw. May 7th 2016

Today’s working world is largely comprised of employees who spent the majority of their workday sitting down in front of a computer. When we spend such a large chunk of our time being stationary, we put our health at risk. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to keep yourself active and moving at work.

In this article, we’ve rounded up some of the best and most unique exercises that you can do right at your desk. They’re easy, they’re quick and they won’t get you all sweaty like a workout at the gym.

Replace Your Chair

When it comes to revitalizing your motion at work, start with the thing you spend most of your day in: your chair. Office chairs make it easy for us to relax, slouch and hunker down over our desk all day. However, you can make sitting more of an “active” task just by replacing your office chair with an exercise ball. These balls can help encourage better posture since they don’t have arms or a back. Plus, an exercise ball forces your body to constantly balance and adjust to the ball’s movements, which engages the muscles in your midsection.

Stretch Out

Your back muscles can get tense when you sit in the same position all day. Make sure you take time to stretch out your body. Here’s a great way to stretch out your back:

  1. Sit up straight in your chair.
  2. Place your left hand on your desk and grab the back of your chair with your right hand.
  3. Twist your body to the right.
  4. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with your hands switched.

Your shoulders may also get tense too, especially if you hunch over your desk. The following is a simple stretch for your shoulders:

  1. Sit up straight in your chair.
  2. Place your left hand behind your back between your shoulder blades.
  3. Bring your right hand up over your shoulder and try to reach down and touch your left hand.
  4. Grab onto your hand and hold for 10 seconds. If you can’t reach your hand, grab your shirt as you hold the position. Repeat with your hands switched.

Your neck holds another set of muscles which can get tense as you look at a computer all day. Do each of these three stretches at regular intervals throughout the day (make sure you do them in a slow and controlled manner):

  1. Turn your head from left to right, gradually increasing your range of motion.
  2. Tilt your head from side to side, facing forward throughout.
  3. Tilt your head back then tuck your chin in.

Straighten Your Posture

Posture often suffers as a result of sitting all day at work. To help keep your spine straight and healthy, use your abdominal muscles in the following way:

  1. Suck your belly button in toward your spine. Don’t curl forward.
  2. Hold for 10 seconds, trying to make your torso as long as possible. Repeat periodically throughout the day.

Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Regular keyboard use can easily lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s important to provide relief to this area of your arms and wrist in order to avoid this condition. Here’s how:

  1. Stand facing your desk.
  2. Place your palms on the desk with your fingers pointed toward you. Your arms should be straight.
  3. Lower your body slightly until you feel a stretch.
  4. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat periodically throughout the day.

Use Your Hand Muscles

Your hands can get sore or tired from being in a curled typing position for much of the day. To help your hand’s extensor and flexor muscles stay in shape, use this exercise:

  1. Make fists with both hands.
  2. Fully extend your fingers out.
  3. Clench your fists again.
  4. Repeat 20 times. Try to do this movement as quickly as possible.

Use Your Feet Muscles

One thing you might forget about as you sit at your desk is your feet. Don’t ignore your feet when it comes to exercising at your desk – it’s important for keeping blood from pooling in your lower extremities. Here’s how to do this useful exercise:

  1. Sit in your chair with legs at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Alternate extending and clenching your toes.
  3. Repeat 20 times. Try to do this movement as quickly as possible.

Exercise Your Legs

When you’re sitting at your desk, it can be hard to exercise your legs while typing. Try this one during breaks or when you’re talking on the phone to keep your leg muscles in shape:

  1. Sit in your chair and extend your left leg out in front of you, keeping the leg as straight as possible.
  2. Hold this position for 2 seconds.
  3. Raise your leg up as high as you can and hold for two seconds.
  4. Place your leg back on the ground. Repeat 15 times with each leg.

Though these exercises shouldn’t replace a regular workout, they can have a significant impact on your health. Make the effort to stay active at work and keep your body moving by utilizing these exercises throughout your workday.


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