It’s easy to have a preconceived notion that fitness requires a trip to the gym and a bunch of fancy equipment. But if you’ve ever done yoga, pilates, or simply gone for a run, you’re well aware that all you need to work out is some space, gravity, and a little bit of time. But with your job, commute, kids, and other responsibilities, you may be asking “how am I supposed to find the time?”
Fortunately, if you’re pressed for spare minutes, there are plenty of desk stretches and desk exercises that are not only effective, but can integrate seamlessly into your work day. So if you’re looking for creative ways to exercise at your desk, read on:
Top 5 Desk Exercises
1. Calf Raises
Stand up straight and (if necessary) use your chair or desk for support. Slowly raise up onto your tip toes, hold, then slowly lower back down. Aim for three sets of 10 lifts.
2. Tricep Dips
Face away from the front of your desk or a chair (use a chair without wheels so it doesn’t roll away from you). With your arms straight, grab the front edge with your hands, then extend your legs out so your butt is just ahead of the front edge. Slowly lower down until your butt is completely below the front edge, then slowly raise back up. For less intensity, bring your feet closer to you (by bending you knees). For more intensity, extend your feet outward (by straightening your legs).
3. Invisible Chair
Stand a few inches in front of your chair, facing the direction you would if you were about to sit down. Extend your arms out in front of you for a counter balance. Keeping a straight back, slowly lower down until your butt just touches the front end of your chair (but don’t rest your weight on the chair). Hold for a few seconds, then slowly raise back up to a standing position. Do 10 sets.
4. Desk Pushups
Facing either the front or side of your desk, grab the edge with your hands about shoulder width apart. Walk your feet away from the desk until you reach a distance that allows you to have a straight back (a “plank” position) while standing on your toes. Slowly lower down (maintaining a straight back) until your chest almost touches the edge of the desk. Pause for a moment, then slowly raise back up. If you have an adjustable height desk, you can lower the desk for more resistance, or raise it for less. Do three to five sets of 10.
5. Chair Leg Lifts
This one is a little more challenging, but will really work your abdominals and hip flexors. While sitting in your chair, grab a firm hold of the sides of the chair with your hands. With control, slowly bring your knees to your chest, then slowly kick them out straight in front of you and hold for a moment. See if you can do 10 to 20 sets.
Top 5 Desk Stretches
1. Spinal Twist
Sit sideways in your chair, turn, and grab the chair back with both hands. Use your arms to gently twist your body for about 15 seconds. Then do the other side.
2. Chest Opener
Reach both arms back, then interlace your fingers if you can. If you can’t join your hands together, you can hold onto the back of your chair. Extend your arms out for about 25 seconds, giving your shoulders, chest, and neck a nice stretch.
3. Neck Roll
Just like the name implies, drop your chin to your chest, then slowly roll your head in a circle around your shoulders for 10 seconds. Stop and then go the other direction.
4. Calf Stretch
Stand up and then grab onto the front of your desk. Bring one leg forward with bent knee. Extend the other leg back with a straight knee, pushing your heel toward the floor. If you’re doing it right, you’ll feel a nice stretch in your calf. Hold for about 20 seconds and switch legs.
5. Seated Hamstring Stretch
Sit on the edge of your seat, extend one leg out with straight knee. Keeping your back straight, slowly lean forward until you feel a nice stretch in your hamstring. Hold for about 30 seconds and then switch legs.
Standing Desks: An Integral Part of Your Workplace Wellness Plan
Many agree that standing desks can help improve cardiovascular health and boost calorie burn, both of which potentially increase productivity, collaboration, and engagement. Plus standing desks in essence allow you to exercise at your desk without even thinking about it. For these and other reasons, a standing desk converter or an adjustable height desk should be seriously considered as an effective and important part of your personal health and wellness program. You can also add ergonomic desk accessories such as a floor mat, active sitting chair, and footrest to increase healthy movement, maximize comfort, and reduce fatigue throughout your workday.
We hope you found these office exercises and office stretches helpful!