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29 Exercises You Can Do At (Or Near) Your Desk

29 Exercises You Can Do At (Or Near) Your Desk

Putting in a full day at the office can make it hard to find the time to exercise. But most of us have a bit of a lag between tasks as we sit in front of our computers, and we can take advantage of a few minutes here and a few minutes there to get some physical activity in. You won’t get an extensive workout this way, but you can get enough exercise that missing a day or two of a more strenuous activity won’t make a difference. You can also avoid some of the ills that come from sitting at a desk for too long: sore wrists, stiffness, even repetitive motion injuries.

No one wants to do a mile run or anything else that will get their work clothes sweaty, but these simple exercises can keep your clothes neat and still get your heart rate up.

Feet and Legs

  1. Hip flexions. While sitting in your chair, lift your right foot a few inches off of the floor. Keep your knee bent at a 90 degree angle and hold the position as long as you are comfortable.
    • Leg extensions. While sitting in your chair, extend your right leg until it is level with your hip. Hold as long as you are comfortable and then relax it. Alternate sides.
    • Plié squats. Point your toes outwards and take a wide stance. Slowly bend your knees in the direction of your toes. Once you can no longer see your toes, slowly stand up. While plié squats are more graceful than regular squats, give them a pass if your work attire includes a skirt.
      • Toe raises. Lift your toes while keeping your heels firmly on the ground. While you can do this exercise standing, it works very well while seated.
      • Football foot drill. At practice, football players practice rapidly tapping their feet in place, simulating a run. Do the same thing while seated, for 30 seconds at a go.
        • Lunge. While walking, take the widest step you can and lunge forward.
        • Calf raises. Stand in front of a desk or other piece of furniture you can hold on to for balance. Raise your heels of the floor and slowly lower them.
          • Take the stairs. If you need a harder workout, try taking them two at a time — you’ll get a chance to stretch your legs more than you would otherwise.
          • Walk the hallway. Walk down the hallway as fast as you can without actually running.

          Hands and Arms

          1. Tricep dips. Put your arms behind your back, resting on your chair and slowly raise and lower your self.
            • Shoulder raises. Raise your shoulder to your ear, hold and then relax. Repeat, alternating shoulders.
            • Wrist stretch. Stretch your arm out in front of you with the palm up. With your other hand, grab your fingers and lightly pull them down to stretch your forearm.
            • Hand stretches. Tense and relax the muscles in your hands. Make fists, spread your fingers and bend your fingers.
            • Flapping wings. Stretch both of your arms up and back, as far as you can. Bring them forward until they meet and stretch your arms out in front of you. Repeat.
              • Water bottle weights. Use a full water bottle as weight to increase the difficulty of your work out. You can do front raises, overhead presses and bicep curls with a water bottle.
              • Shadow box. Stand up and take a couple of jabs at the air.
                • Arm pump. Pump both of your arms over your head for 30 seconds.
                • Elevated pushups. Lean on a sturdy piece of furniture and slowly push your body off of it in a sort of standing push up.

                Torso

                • Abdominal stretch. Sit on the edge of your chair and stretch your arms out. While keeping your back straight, contract your abdominal muscles. Relax and repeat.
                  • Neck rotations. Drop your chin and roll your neck. Raise your chin up and bend your neck to each side.
                  • Back twist. Sit up straight in your chair and place your right arm behind your right hip. Twist to the right and hold. Alternate sides.
                  • Wall sits. Rest your back against a wall and move your feet away from the wall. The wall should be supporting the weight of your back and your knees should be bent. Hold the position as long as possible.
                    • Glute squeeze. Tense up the muscles of your rear end and hold for a count of 10.
                    • Curls. Cross your arms over your chest and sit up straight. Tense your abdominal muscles and curl your shoulders towards your hips. Hold for a few seconds.

                    Full Body

                    • Chair dips. Place the palms of your hands on your chair and your feet on the floor. Move your rear end off of the edge of your seat. Bend your elbows and lower your body. Straighten your arms to return to the starting position.
                    • Chair squats. Lift your rear end off of your seat and hold for a few seconds.
                      • Low-impact jumping jacks. Raise your right arm and tap your left toe to the side at the same time. Keep your right foot on the floor. Alternate sides for a full minute.
                        • Pretend jump rope. Hop either on both feet at once or alternating feet.
                        • Pretend jump rope, version 2. Move your arms as if you are turning a jump rope while tapping one foot in front of you. Alternate feet.

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                          Samantha Aloysius

                          Samantha is an everyday health expert with a background in International Public Health and Psychology and has experience in diabetes care counselling.

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                          Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                          5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

                          5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

                          In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

                          Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut only to get back into another one.

                          How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

                          • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
                          • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
                          • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
                          • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
                          • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
                          • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

                          When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnancy in life, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help.

                          Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

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                          1. Realize You’re Not Alone

                          Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths.

                          Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

                          2. Find What Inspires You

                          Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation.

                          What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

                          On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem.

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                          If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

                          3. Give Yourself a Break

                          When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

                          Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave.

                          Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future.

                          These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

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                          4. Shake up Your Routines

                          Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

                          Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’re 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

                          When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

                          5. Start with a Small Step

                          Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

                          Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward.

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                          Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years.

                          On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

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                          Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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