We live in an age when technology gives us plenty of benefits and conveniences, but there is one huge drawback: We sit at a desk for eight (or more) hours every day, five days a week, most weeks of the year, but sitting all day long can harm your health. Maybe even permanently.
Some studies show that sitting all day can cause obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other symptoms. Some studies suggest that people who sit all day for more than a week are at risk of dying.
Even though we don’t think your job will kill you, it’s a good idea to take some steps to stay healthy at work. Start moving around more at work by walking around your desks. If your job involves remote work, trying to find ways to get active while your team is at work is helpful. Try organizing an online fitness class.
Move around a bit more when you’re at work if you want to feel better — it’s easy to get started if you move around a bit more when you’re at work. We’ve put on this page a list of 10 desk-oriented exercises that will help get you moving during the day without the pain that comes with sitting all day. These easy, desk-friendly exercises aren’t complicated and help you stay fit and maintain energy during the rest of the workday. If you move more, you’ll feel better — it’s as easy as that.
Try a few of these next moves when you feel stuck in your desk chair. It’ll help you get some fresh air and have more energy. It will help you get some air flowing, and you’ll be able to fight off stiffness and injuries. You’ll also be able to build up some strength.
Desk Exercises: Core
1. Seated Bicycle Crunches
Just do 15 twists. Then switch sides. Sit down on a chair and position your feet, so they are equally level with the floor. Position two hands on each side of your body, and as you reach up toward the elbow, twist your body down toward that elbow. Then, slowly and progressively, turn your body toward the elbow. Repeat on the other side.
Finish twisting 15 times, then do the same on the other side.
2. Lower-Abs Leg Lifts
It is a subtle move you can make at any time. Stand tall, with your feet flat on the ground. Keep your core tight. Lift only one leg at a time while you tighten your body. Just lift one leg at a time, using your heart to keep it tight. To complicate the exercise, try lifting both legs at the same time.
Do 20 reps.
Desk Exercises: Lower Body
3. Standing Rear Pulses
This move may be similar to what you did when taking a barre class. But if that was the case, your desk might be standing in as a barre. Holding your desk edge, bend one leg behind you. Bend your foot in front of you. Then slowly lift your heel. Raise one heel a few inches and then slowly release it. Press your foot back straight behind you. Repeat this for 20 to 30 reps. Now you’ll gradually start to press your heel back down, and then you’ll switch to lifting your heel and pushing it back down. For each rep, do 20 to 30 reps.
Do between 20 and 30 reps, then alternate sides.
4. Chair Squats
Try this in meetings, on a call, or anytime you want to work your hamstrings. All you need to do is get up from your chair and slowly lower your body, slowing down right before you sit down. Keep your weight in your heels to piece those glutes. And then stand up again. Keep putting your weight on your heels to work your glutes. So, get up, get up, and go to work on those glutes.
Repeat 10 times.
5. Calf Raises
Get up from your chair and lean back into it. Raise the heels as high as possible until you can stand on your toes. Repeat this workout for three sets of 10. Gradually lower your body back to the floor. Repeat five reps of each exercise.
Do 3 sets of 10.
Desk Exercises: Upper Body
6. Arm Circles
It is as though the phrase “circle back” has a new meaning. Repeat 20 times and in the opposite direction. Do it 20 times, then switch directions, and repeat. Move all your arms forward slowly and steadily until you have completed 20 movements. Repeat 20 times in each order.
Do this move 20 times in each direction, then switch and do it again.
7. Triceps Dips
You’ll need an entirely still chair with no moving parts to perform this move, like a rocking chair. Scoot straight down to a seat and squat down on it. You’ll be in front of a big, strong chair when you get to that point! Place your palm on the front of the chair, and bend your elbows slightly back to rest against the armrest. Slowly, continue moving toward the front of the chair. Lower yourself as low as you can, with your arms straight up to the back of the chair (or even further), and lower your head back.
Complete 20 dips.
8. Desk Push-Ups
First, ensure your desk is strong enough to hold your weight. If your desk is wide enough, take ten steps back toward it. You can do this by lowering down toward your desk and staying in your core. Push up until arms are fully extended but not locked.
Try to do 20 reps.
9. Arm Pulses
You will work your triceps and help open your shoulders. Stand at your desk with your arms at your sides and palms facing up.
Pulse each arm backward for 20 seconds, keeping your arms as long and straight as possible.
10. Wall Push-Ups
Here’s re-creating the routine on your computer: 1. Lower yourself toward the wall. 2. Keep your arms straight. Stand ten feet away from a wall and lean toward it, spreading your hands wider than your shoulders. Lower your body toward a low spot on a wall, keeping your abs tight so everything goes smoothly (from your head to your toes). Push up and stay there for a few minutes (this will cause your arms to stay up) before moving up to your shoulder height.
Complete 20 reps.