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You can do these exercises at your desk

These moves help counteract that sedentary job

Kim Farmer //April 29, 2016//

You can do these exercises at your desk

These moves help counteract that sedentary job

Kim Farmer //April 29, 2016//

You know you should be moving more, but there is so much work to get done! We've all heard how bad it is to sit at your desk all day, but what's a person to do when the workload never ends? For those days that fitting in an exercise class or a trip to gym is not an option, there are some things you can do that will help get your blood flowing and your muscles moving. 

Stretching, muscle-strengthening and even short stints of aerobic exercises can be done right at your desk. Doctors say even a little bit of movement helps, and the benefits are cumulative. Regardless of how ergonomic your chair is, sitting can lead to back pain, headaches and listlessness, which can all lead to a decrease in productivity. Try these desk exercises to incorporate some exercise into those busy work days, and improve your productivity.


Strength moves: Add in a few of these sporadically throughout your workday:

  •     Dips off your chair (no wheeled chairs, please!)
  •     Push-ups against your desk
  •     Squats in front of your desk, using the desk for support, if needed
  •     One-legged leg lifts while sitting on your chair
  •     Sitting on your chair, put your hands down and push, lifting your butt off of the chair.  

For each of these moves, aim for 10-15 repetitions at a time.


Cardio: Even short bursts of cardio exercises that lead to an increased heart rate will do your body good.

  •    Jumping jacks
  •     High knees
  •     Shadow boxing
  •     Running in place

Aim for one minute intervals. Add an interval in every hour to break up the time you are sitting still. 

You can be creative: walk a few flights of stairs or lunge across a conference room if you have that option. And be sure to get a co-worker to join you.


Stretching: These stretches are great for easing stress and preventing your muscles from stiffening or locking up.

  •     To stretch your arms and upper back, place hands on desk in front of you and roll your chair back, looking down to the ground through your arms
  •     Reach hands over head and reach high, leaning first right and then left
  •     Sitting up tall, pinch shoulder blades together and hold
  •     Roll your head slowly from left to right and then back again
  •     While seated, place hands on your desk and keeping upper body facing forward, twist lower body to one side, and then the other
  •     Place one heel on your desk and keeping leg straight, lower upper body to give your hamstrings and lower back a good stretch

Try to hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds, gradually working up to more time as your body loosens up.


Although these desk activities are a great way to ensure your body gets some of the attention it needs, finding time for an exercise class, a hike or a run, or whatever your exercise of choice might be, is still important. You are a better employee when you take care of yourself.