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Last Updated on October 18, 2022

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

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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, loss of focus, 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

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.

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

    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.

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

      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.

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

        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.

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

          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

          Tricep dips

          Put your arms behind your back, resting on your chair and slowly raise and lower your self.

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

            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.

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            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.

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

              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.

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

                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.

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

                  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.

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

                    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.

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

                      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.

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

                        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.

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

                          Botton Line

                          Being too busy is only an excuse of not exercising. With these desk exercises that you can do at work, you can now move your body to get fitter and healthier in order to prevent the negative impact that a sedentary lifestyle can bring you.

                          Featured photo credit: TheStandingDesk via unsplash.com

                          More by this author

                          Samantha Aloysius

                          Samantha is an everyday health expert with a background in International Public Health and Psychology.

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