With extended hours spent sitting at a desk, it's challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, incorporating some desk workouts into your day can help you stay active and boost your overall health. Even small amounts of movement can make a big difference, and you can do plenty of exercises right at your desk without any special equipment.
Let's look at simple yet effective desk exercises to stay fit and energized throughout the day. These exercises aim to increase movement and take a break from the screen, essential for your overall well-being. Additionally, it's worth considering any unused time during your workday, such as when waiting for the kettle to boil, which can be used to fit in a few tricep dips or wall sits.
Exercises for your desk are:
Tricep dips target your triceps which can become weak and flabby from prolonged sitting. These improve your strength and tone, which helps you perform daily tasks with greater ease and prevent injuries. Because tricep dips require no equipment, they are a convenient and practical desk exercise to incorporate into your workday.
- Using your office chair, place both palms on the chair.
- Bend your elbows straight back and lower yourself down.
- Straighten your arms to come back up.
Arm pulses work your shoulder and arm muscles, which can become stiff and sore from prolonged typing or mouse use. Doing arm pulses improves the flexibility and range of motion in these muscles, reducing the risk of developing shoulder or neck pain. This low-impact exercise can be done quickly and easily at your desk without any equipment, making them an excellent option for a quick break from sitting and typing.
- Stand up, arms by your side and palms facing backward.
- Pulse for 20 seconds.
Leg raises target your leg muscles, which can become weak and inactive from prolonged sitting. This desk exercise strengthens and tones your leg muscles, improving overall lower body strength and flexibility. Leg raises also improve your circulation and reduce your risk of blood clots (which can be a concern for those who spend long periods sitting at their desk).
- Sit in your chair.
- Extend one leg and hold for a few seconds.
- Repeat 15 times on each leg.
Calf raises work your calf muscles, which can become tight and uncomfortable from prolonged sitting or standing. By doing calf raises, you improve the strength and flexibility of these muscles, reducing the risk of discomfort and pain. Calf raises improve blood flow to your lower legs, reducing the risk of blood clots and varicose veins.
- Standing behind your chair, raise yourself up on your toes.
- Lower yourself back down.
- Aim for three sets of ten.
Marching is a beneficial desk exercise because it can help improve circulation and increase your heart rate, boosting your energy levels and productivity. You'll also engage your leg muscles and core, helping to enhance overall lower body strength and balance. By incorporating marching into your routine, you can break up prolonged sitting and improve your overall health and well-being.
- Stand up and march as you type.
- Challenge yourself to raise your knees higher each time and change tempo.
Wall sits target your quads which can become weak from prolonged sitting. These wall sits improve your strength and tone, allowing you to perform daily tasks with greater ease and prevent injuries. This desk exercise also helps to engage the core and promote good posture, which can help reduce the risk of back pain.
- Slide your back down a wall until your hips and knees are level.
- Stay in the position for up to 60 seconds.
Chair squats target your glutes and quads, which can become weak and inactive from prolonged sitting. By doing chair squats, you improve the strength and tone of these muscles while engaging your core and improving your posture. This reduces the risk of back pain. Adding chair squats into your routine can break up prolonged sitting and improve your overall lower body strength and flexibility.
- Lower your chair and squat above the seat, slowly lowering yourself.
Pro-tip: To work a little harder, try balancing on one leg simultaneously.
Neck, shoulder, and ankle rotations
Neck, shoulder, and ankle rotations improve your joint mobility and reduce the risk of stiffness and discomfort caused by prolonged sitting. These also improve the range of motion in your neck, shoulders, and ankles, which reduces the risk of developing pain or injuries. By taking a few minutes to perform these rotations, you can break up prolonged sitting, improve your posture, and reduce the risk of developing aches and pains caused by prolonged sitting.
Neck rotations: drop your chin and roll your neck in clockwise and anti-clockwise circles.
Shoulders rotations: roll them forward and backward.
Ankle rotations: rotate one way and then the other.
Incorporating desk exercises into your workday is a simple yet effective way to improve your overall health and well-being. Not only can it help you avoid the adverse effects of prolonged sitting, but it can also boost your energy levels and productivity. So the next time you're at your desk, take a few minutes to try out some of these exercises and see how they make you feel.