Home » Diet and Nutrition News & Advice » 10 Exercises to do at Your Desk

10 Exercises to do at Your Desk

It’s an unfortunate reality that many of us are chained to our desks for eight hours or longer each and every day. That’s not to mention the overtime or the work we take home with us on the weekends. It’s a sad fact that most of us spend more time sitting than we do standing, walking, running, or being active, which leaves us open to all sorts of physical issues—like weight gain, back issues, poor circulation, and more.

There are effective ways that you can combat the damage you do by sitting hunched over a computer for long periods of time. Take these for example. You can do them right at your desk to improve circulation, bad posture; rounded shoulders; tight wrists, neck, and back muscles; and to boost your overall core strength so sitting all day long is much easier on your body.

Here are 10 exercises that you can do without even getting up from your desk…

1. Carpal Tunnel Stretch

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common affliction that sets into the median nerve in the wrists from repetitive stress—like typing. It often leads to loss of feeling and movement in the wrist, forearm, and parts of the hand and can cause numbness, tingling, weakness, or muscle damage in the hands. However, you can prevent carpal tunnel by placing your palms on your desk with your fingers pointed toward you. Put pressure down on your hands gradually until you feel the stretch. Hold for 15 seconds each time and repeat 4 times on each side.


2. Shoulder stretch

This exercise will create flexibility in tight necks and shoulders. Just sit up straight in your chair and reach your left hand over your head , bending it palm down facing your mid back and between your shoulder blades. Reach your right hand up and over grasping your left shoulder. Gently apply pressure and push the elbow down. Hold for 10 seconds on each side for two rounds.

3. Overhead Side Stretch

Sit upright in your chair and raise your right wrist over your head. Reach over head with your left hand and pull your right wrist towards your left side to give the right side of your body a good stretch (especially the oblique muscles otherwise known as the side abdominals). Ensure as you pull, you keep your shoulders from cramping up to your ears. Repeat twice on each side and hold for 10 seconds.

4. Spinal Twists

To give your back a good stretch and squeeze out all the tension from the day, sit up tall facing forward, cross your left hand over your right knee and twist your upper body to the right. Be aware to keep both hips planted in your chair. Hold for 10 seconds, release and repeat twice on each side.

5. Desk Push Ups

A great exercise to increase your upper-body strength, stand facing your desk (approximately 3 feet from your desk) with your feet hip distance apart. Place your palms on the edge of your desk so they remain in line with your shoulder and lower your chest down so that your face comes to meet the desk. Using your chest and biceps muscles, push your body back up to a plank. Do 15 to 20 repetitions.

6. Hamstring Stretch

A lot of stress can build up in the hamstring muscles with limited activity. To get some relief, push your chair away from your desk and put one leg up on the edge of the desk. Flex your foot so that toes point towards the ceiling and slowly hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back straight. If you can’t grasp your toes, grasp behind the knees or calves and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 4 times.

7. Invisible Chair Squats

A great core-strengthening exercise that mimics actually sitting down in your chair, to squat stand up straight with feet hip distance apart and arms comfortably at your sides. Lower your bum as you bend at the knees, keeping your back straight (as if you were sitting down in a chair). You can even stand in front of your chair and lower down with the seat behind you for balance. You can also extend your arms out in front for added balance. Do 210 to 15 repetitions.

8. Triceps Dips

This exercise targets the muscle on the back of the arms (you know, the one that can look like lose chicken skin). Stand a few inches away from the edge of your desk facing outwards. Place both palms on the edge of the desk on either side of you with fingers facing out, feet hip distance apart. Bend at the elbows, placing weight on your hands as you dip a few inches down, and then use your upper body strength to push your body back up. Do 10 to 15 repetitions.

9. Knee Extensions

Seated knee raises target the quadriceps (or upper leg) muscles. Sit in your chair with your feet flat and your back straight against the back of the chair. Using leg strength only, extend your right leg straight. Hold your leg straight for 5 seconds and then lower your foot back down so it’s flat on the floor. Alternate your legs for 10 to 15 repetitions on each side.

10. Ball Stabilization

Sitting on any unstable surface, such as swapping your desk chair for a stability ball, will encourage strength-building in the core muscles (the abdominals, mid and lower back, and hips) for better balance, posture, and stability. You’ll notice that after sitting on a stability ball for a few days that you’re sitting posture is straighter and that you’re back is suddenly in proper alignment. Encouraging “active sitting”, strengthens your abdominals and back muscles, improves your balance, and increases core stability so that daily tasks—such as walking, standing, and climbing stairs are easier on the body.


More on ActiveBeat
  • 8 Tips for Preventing Hearing Loss
    There are few things more frustrating than having to ask someone to repeat what they just said because you couldn’t quite make it out.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Fitting in Lunchtime Fitness
    It's worth setting aside an hour a day for your health!  Incorporating a workout into your lunch hour really doesn't take much time, but it does take planning. Luckily, Fix.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Facts for Women with Varicose Veins
    Varicose veins. You know the ones that appear in snakes of raised, swollen blood vessels under the skin, are unfairly more common in women than men.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 7 Facts on Mental Health Awareness for Mental Health Week
    This week, May 2 to 6, 2016, marks Mental Health Week in Canada. We use this week as a means to open the discussion surrounding mental health in our country and around the world.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • All the Rage: 8 Facts on What, Where, and Why Out of Control Anger Occurs
    Anger is a normal human emotion. It signals that something that is wrong or not working well. It’s how you process these feelings and what you do with them that counts.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 6 Healthy Reasons to Have More Plants in Your Home
    Most people agree that plants look nice, but there are more reasons than just aesthetics to have more of them in your home.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 6 Tips for Better Sports Eye Safety
    It's April again, which means another Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month is upon us. Whether you're a professional athlete, the most amateur of sportsmen, or somewhere in between,...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 7 Ways for Introverts to Shine in Life and Work
    Introverts. They're not always the loudest in the room, and that may be for good reason. It's not that introverts are all shy—that's a common misconception—it's that introverts...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 6 Ways Fidgeting Can Benefit Health
    Hi my name is Anna and I'm a fidgeter. I don't mean to be rude, but if you ever see me in an editorial meeting or even watching a movie with my hubby, I'm constantly typically...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 7 Health Benefits of Taking Transit to Work
    While it may not be realistic in all cases, many people are in a position to ditch their personal vehicle and hop on a bus or subway to get to their jobs (or anywhere, really).
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Earn While You Burn Doing These 8 Physically Demanding Jobs
    We all need to do something for a living, unless we've won the lottery or come across a briefcase full of money.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 6 Tips to Help Blast the Sunday "Back to Work" Blues
    Are Sundays days of leisure for you or days of dread? It turns out that many individuals experience the same back-to-work blues associated with dreading the arrival of Monday.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Plug Into These 14 Impacts Technology Has on Health
    Sure, technology has been an ally in many ways in the medical world – for example, more advanced imaging and diagnostics are saving lives by catching problems earlier, and...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Common Causes of Swollen Feet
    We've all been there before when our feet get a little puffy and swollen. It will most likely occur after sitting through a long flight, during pregnancy, or being on your feet all...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • The Best Anti-Aging Foundation For Mature Skin
    Aging is inevitable, but that doesn't stop us from trying to slow the whole process down or at least look good while we're doing it!
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice